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Radar to be kept for S. Mission Road segment with 35 mph limit

San Diego County’s Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) had decisions to make at its October 23 meeting about roads in Bonsall and Fallbrook whose prevailing speeds no longer justified radar enforcement of their current 35 mph speed limits.

The TAC recommended that a 1.5-mile segment of Osborne Street in Bonsall be decertified for radar enforcement while retaining the 35 mph speed limit and made special findings so that a 1.73-mile portion of South Mission Road in Fallbrook could continue both its 35 mph speed limit and radar enforcement. The TAC recommendations are scheduled to be ratified by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on December 9; the county supervisors can adopt, overturn, or modify the TAC recommendations.

In order for a speed limit to be enforceable by radar, the speed limit must be set at the nearest 5 mph increment to the 85th percentile speed, although if special findings of conditions not apparent to the motorist are made the speed limit can be set at 5 mph lower than the prevailing flow of traffic speed.

Periodic recertification for radar enforcement is required, and that process necessitates a new speed survey.

The segment of Osborne Street subject to recertification covers that road between East Vista Way and the Vista city limit. That portion of Osborne Street is classified as a light collector road on the county’s Circulation Element map and is a four-lane through highway ranging in width between 27 feet and 49 feet. A recent county Department of Public Works project lowered the vertical crest on the east leg of Osborne Street at the intersection of Hutchison Street, which increased visibility when approaching or entering the intersection. Osborne Street also serves as a collector road between Bonsall and the cities of Vista and Oceanside.

An August 2007 traffic survey indicated a two-way average daily volume of 5,160 vehicles west of East Vista Way.

The Bonsall Community Sponsor Group indicated support for the 35 mph speed limit, and the TAC felt that a posted 35 mph speed limit was preferable to radar enforcement on Osborne Street. The 35 mph speed limit will now be enforced by visual estimation and pacing rather than by radar.

The portion of South Mission Road which required recertification for radar enforcement is from 860 feet south of Pepper Tree Lane to Hill Street. That part of South Mission Road is a four-lane through highway varying in width from 75 to 82 feet and is classified as a major road on the Circulation Element map. The widening of part of that road to four lanes, plus a two-way left turn lane, occurred subsequent to the previous speed survey in 1998.

The most recent traffic survey of South Mission Road south of Fallbrook Street was taken in October 2009 and indicated a two-way average daily traffic volume of 23,540 vehicles. A July 2003 traffic survey covered South Mission Road traffic traveling through the intersection of Alvarado Street and indicated a two-way average daily volume of 17,100 vehicles. The February 1998 traffic survey for South Mission Road south of Fallbrook Street indicated a two-way average daily volume of 18,400 vehicles while the November 1992 survey at that location produced an average daily volume of 19,400 vehicles.

The 1998 speed survey indicated an 85th percentile speed of 41.9 mph with 75.4 percent of 204 vehicles traveling within the 32-41 mph pace. The 2008 speed survey covered 400 vehicles and produced an 85th percentile speed of 42 mph with 75 percent of

the drivers staying within a 34-43 mph pace. The 2008 speed survey made a 35 mph speed limit enforced by radar contingent upon special findings.

The segment of roadway had 233 reported collisions between March 31, 2004, and March 31, 2009, which is higher than the statewide average for similar roads. The types of collisions indicated that motorists are continuing to experience difficulties when entering or exiting the high-volume roadway.

The TAC also noted that South Mission Road has a high pedestrian presence throughout the day which increases during school arrival and dismissal times and also involves a significant number of school-age pedestrians. The TAC did not believe that any benefit would occur by raising the speed limit to 40 mph, and the Fallbrook Community Planning Group expressed support for continued radar enforcement.

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