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Radar enforcement continued on South Mission; Osborne Street decertified

The December 9 meeting of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors saw the ratification of several county Traffic Advisory Committee recommendations, including the decertification of radar enforcement for a portion of Osborne Street in Bonsall and findings to justify recertification of radar enforcement for a portion of South Mission Road in Fallbrook.

Both the 35 mph speed limit and radar enforcement will remain for the 1.73-mile portion of South Mission Road from 860 feet south of Pepper Tree Lane to Hill Street. The 35 mph speed limit will remain on the 1.5-mile segment of Osborne Street between East Vista Way and the Vista city limit, although radar will no longer be used to enforce that speed limit.

The Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) made recommendations October 23 about the roads whose prevailing speeds no longer justified radar enforcement of their current 35 mph speed limits.

The TAC recommended that Osborne Street be decertified for radar enforcement while retaining the 35 mph speed limit and made special findings so that South Mission Road could continue both its 35 mph speed limit and radar enforcement. The county supervisors had the option of adopting, overturning or modifying the TAC recommendations.

In order for a speed limit to be enforceable by radar, the speed limit must be set at the nearest five 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 which was subject to recertification 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.

One of the conditions which allows for a speed limit to be set five mph below the prevailing speed and still be eligible for radar enforcement is a minimum number of homes fronting the roadway. When Osborne Street was last reviewed in June 2001,

this situation was used to allow for a 35 mph speed limit. The 2001 speed survey 650 feet west of Amstel Lane produced an 85th percentile of 43 mph with 78.4 percent of the 102 vehicles traveling within a 10 mph pace of 33-42 mph while the 2001 speed survey 360 feet west of Hutchison Street indicated an 85th percentile speed of 41 mph with 86 percent of 100 vehicles traveling within a 33-42 mph pace.

Between March 31, 2004, and March 31, 2009, a total of 28 reported collisions occurred along the roadway. Approximately one-third of those collisions were at the intersection of Osborne Street and Hutchison Street, and a significant concentration also occurred at the curve near Bautista Avenue. Most of the other collisions involved only one vehicle.

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 was recertified for radar enforcement 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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