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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

TAC recommends reduced speed limits on Olive Hill, Reche roads

 

Last updated 9/27/2019 at 6:15pm



The county’s Traffic Advisory Committee has recommended that the speed limit be reduced on portions of Olive Hill Road and Reche Road.

The TAC’s Sept. 13 recommendations also included that the county’s Department of Public Works review the intersection of Olive Hill Road and Burma Road, which had five reported collisions in a three-year period including three during one year, for potential operational or regulatory solutions, and that the 40 mph speed limit on a section of Reche Road east of Gird Road be increased to 45 mph.

The entirety of Olive Hill Road and all of Reche Road were reviewed so that the speed limits could be recertified for radar enforcement. The San Diego County board of supervisors must approve the speed limit changes as well as the radar recertification for the segments where the retention of the existing speed limit was recommended, and DPW has targeted a Nov. 20 board of supervisors’ hearing date.

The review of the intersection of Olive Hill Road and Burma Road will not need board of supervisors’ approval, although if a regulatory solution is recommended that will require board of supervisors’ ratification.

The TAC voted to retain the 40 mph speed limit on Olive Hill Road between South Mission Road and White Horse Lane, to reduce the 50 mph speed limit on Olive Hill Road between White Horse Lane and Morro Hills Road to 45 mph, to retain the 45 mph speed limit on Olive Hill Road from Morro Hills Road to State Route 76, to reduce the speed limit on Reche Road between Stage Coach Lane and Live Oak Park Road from 45 mph to 40 mph, to retain the 40 mph speed limit on Reche Road between Live Oak Park Road and Gird Road, to raise the speed limit on Reche Road between Gird Road and Via Vista from 40 mph to 45 mph, and to retain the 45 mph speed limit on Reche Road between Via Vista and Old Highway 395.

In order for a speed limit to be enforceable by radar, a speed survey must show that the speed limit is within an adjacent 5 mph increment to the 85th percentile speed. Periodic recertification, including a supporting speed survey, is required for continued radar enforcement and DPW or a DPW contractor typically conducts speed surveys every seven years.

The speed limit may be rounded either up or down from the 85th percentile speed. The speed limit may also be rounded down an additional 5 mph if findings are made that the road has conditions which would not be apparent to a motorist unfamiliar with the road.

Olive Hill Road is classified as a light collector on the mobility element of the county’s general plan. It is a through highway, meaning that traffic controls for Olive Hill Road motorists currently exist only at the ends of the street although at its intersection with Burma Road a stop sign exists for northbound motorists.

The two-lane roadway has a travel width of 24 feet and the road bed ranges in width between 26 and 42 feet. Olive Hill Road is striped with a double yellow centerline which prohibits passing and with a white edge line, and the segment includes speed advisory curves and intersection advisory signs. The speed limits were first certified for radar in 2012.

Olive Hill Road between South Mission Road and White Horse Lane measures 1.38 miles. A traffic survey taken May 15, from 100 feet north of Mackey Drive indicated an average two-way volume of 4,265 vehicles along Olive Hill Road consisting of 2,211 northbound and 2,054 southbound motorists. The previous traffic volume was a July 2012 estimate of 7,440 vehicles.

During the 36-month period between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2019, Olive Hill Road between South Mission Road and White Horse Lane had 16 reported collisions including four which involved injury and one in which a fatality occurred. The collision rate of 1.80 per million vehicle miles compares favorably to the statewide average of 2.49 for similar suburban conventional two-lane roads with speed limits less than 45 mph.

The only speed survey taken in February 2012 for Olive Hill Road between South Mission Road and White Horse Lane was conducted 850 feet south of Mackey Drive and produced an 85th percentile speed of 43.0 mph for the 215 drivers with 64.2% of the drivers traveling within a 10 mph pace of 33-42 mph.

Three speed surveys were taken May 15, between Olive Hill Road and White Horse Lane. The survey 850 feet south of Mackey Drive was taken between 11:50 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. and had an 85th percentile of 45.9 mph with 71% of the 305 drivers within a 36-45 mph pace.

The survey 500 feet north of Harmony Hill between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. had an 85th percentile of 45.5 mph with 66% of 325 drivers within a 36-45 mph pace. The survey 650 feet north of Elm Tree Lane was conducted between 9:40 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. and had an 85th percentile of 36.2 mph with 85% of the 274 drivers within a pace of 28-37 mph.

If speed surveys are taken at more than one location along a reviewed segment a “speed zone” for the entirety of the speed surveys can be used. The speed zone for Olive Hill Road between Mission Road and White Horse Lane had an 85th percentile of 42.5 mph with 74% of the drivers within a 33-42 mph pace.

“We’re at 40, so this one’s looking OK,” TAC secretary Kenton Jones said.

The segment of Olive Hill Road between White Horse Lane and Morro Hills Road is 1.84 miles. A May 15 traffic survey taken at Burma Road counted 1,454 northbound and 1,319 southbound drivers for a two-way total of 2,773 vehicles. A February 2012 traffic survey at that intersection produced a two-way volume of 3,980 vehicles.

Olive Hill Road between White Horse Lane and Morro Hills Road had 17 reported collisions, including 10 which resulted in injury, between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2019. Ten collisions, including eight injury collisions, occurred during the day while the other seven collisions including two which involved injury were at night. Six of the collisions were caused by improper turning, including all three of the collisions at the intersection of Olive Hill Road and Ladera Vista Road.

Unsafe speed resulted in four collisions. Three collisions were caused by right of way violations, two collisions were the result of driving on the wrong side of the road and one collision apiece was caused by improper passing and by driving under the influence. That created a collision rate of 3.05 per million vehicle miles compared to a statewide average for similar roads of 1.19.

Four of the five collisions at the intersection of Olive Hill Road and Burma Road resulted in injury. Three injuries apiece resulted from a right of way violation in September 2017 and from driving under the influence in March 2018. One injury apiece was from a November 2016 right of way violation and from a November 2018 collision caused by driving on the wrong side of the road. The August 2018 accident caused by unsafe speed resulted in property damage only.

Of the six other injury collisions two apiece were caused by unsafe speed and improper turning while driving on the wrong side of the road and a right of way violation were the causes of one apiece. The February 2017 right of way violation at Olive Hill Road and Highland Oaks Street caused four injuries.

“There’s something fundamentally wrong with this roadway,” Jim Custeau, who is the TAC’s public member for the Second Supervisorial District, said.

“There is an extremely high accident rate among the road,” Bruce Pennings, who represents the Pacific Safety Center on the TAC, said. “This road is a dangerous road in my opinion.”

County traffic engineer Zoubir Ouadah said that the segment lacks shoulders and other standard road features.

“It really is a tight road, and there is no forgiveness,” he said.

The board of supervisors recertified the 45 mph speed limit, June 10, on the 0.63-mile segment of Burma Road between Olive Hill Road and Luneta Lane for radar enforcement.

The accident rate was used to reduce the speed limit on Olive Hill Road between White Horse Lane and Morro Hills Road an additional 5 mph. The only 2012 speed survey was taken 1,040 feet north of Del Valle Drive and had an 85th percentile of 50.0 mph with 54% of the 291 drivers within a 38-47 mph pace. The May 16 speed survey at that location was taken between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; the 85th percentile speed was 52.1 mph and 53% of the 277 drivers were within a 43-52 mph pace.

A survey that day conducted 200 feet south of Futurity Lane between 11:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. had an 85th percentile speed of 51.8 mph with 60% of the 311 drivers in a 41-50 mph pace.

A speed survey was conducted May 17, from 400 feet south of Highland Oaks Street between 9:40 a.m. and 11:40 a.m., and the 85th percentile speed was 50.4 mph with 64% of the 220 drivers in a 41-50 mph pace. The speed zone 85th percentile was 51.4 mph with 59% of the drivers within a pace of 42-51 mph.

The Olive Hill Road distance from Morro Hills Road to state Route 76 is 2.2 miles. The May 15 traffic survey 500 feet east of Puerta del Sol counted 4,192 vehicles consisting of 2,152 eastbound and 2,040 westbound motorists. The previous traffic survey was taken in February 2012 and had a daily volume of 3,030 vehicles.

Between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2019, Olive Hill Road between Morro Hills Road and state Route 76 had 18 reported collisions including eight which involved injury and one which was fatal. The collision rate for that segment is 1.89 per million vehicle miles. The statewide average for similar rural conventional two-lane roads with speed limits less than or equal to 55 mph is 0.87.

Six of those collisions were at the intersection of Olive Hill Road and Olive Hill Trail; five of those were caused by driving under the influence including the one fatal crash while improper turning was responsible for the other collision. Three of the collisions were at the intersection with Shamrock Road; one apiece was caused by driving under the influence, a right of way violation and driving on the wrong side of the road.

Driving under the influence was responsible for eight of the collisions, improper turning caused four collisions, two collisions apiece were caused by improper passing and by driving on the wrong side of the road and one collision apiece was the result of a right of way violation and of an unsafe lane change.

“When we have decreasing radius turns that’s part of the problem,” Custeau said.

The only 2012 speed survey was taken 1,730 feet north of state Route 76 and had an 85th percentile speed of 46.0 mph with 72.9% of the 516 drivers within a pace of 37-46 mph. The May 17 survey taken at that location between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. measured the speeds of 343 vehicles whose 85th percentile speed was 47.0 mph; the 10 mph pace was 38-47 mph with 69% of the drivers within that range.

The reduced percentage of drivers within the pace led the TAC not to recommend reducing the speed limit by an additional 5 mph since a 40 mph speed limit would likely cause greater differences in speeds of motorists approaching state Route 76.

“That can cause more accidents,” Ouadah said. “I would feel comfortable staying at 45.”

A second May 17 speed survey was taken 200 feet north of Puerta de Lomas between 11:50 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. The 85th percentile was 47 mph and 66% of the 250 drivers were within a pace of 36-45 mph. The speed zone 85th percentile of 47 mph was thus the same as that of both survey points, and for the speed zone 67.5% of the drivers were within a 37-46 mph pace.

The entirety of Reche Road is a two-lane roadway with 24 feet of travel width, a double yellow centerline to prohibit passing and a white edge line. The road bed width ranges from 26 to 40 feet. The mobility element of the countys general plan classifies Reche Road as a light collector.

Reche Road between Stage Coach Lane and Live Oak Park Road is 1.18 miles and includes a signal at Green Canyon Road, school zones with a 25 mph speed limit when children are present, and a two-way left turn lane. The May 15 traffic survey taken east of Los Conejos Road had 5,715 westbound and 4,888 eastbound vehicles for a total of 10,603. The previous traffic survey was taken at Los Conejos Road in January 2010 and the two-way volume was 10,380 vehicles.

Eleven reported collisions including eight with at least one injury were reported on the 1.18-mile segment between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2019, for a collision rate of 0.82 per million vehicle miles. The statewide average is 1.19 for similar suburban conventional two-lane roads with speed limits between 45 mph and 55 mph.

A speed survey for that segment was taken at one location both in February 2012 and May 9, 2019. The speed survey was conducted 180 feet east of Los Conejos Road. The 2012 speed survey had an 85th percentile of 45 mph with 64.6% of the 537 drivers within a 34-43 mph pace. The 2019 speed survey measured 398 vehicles between 9-11 a.m. and the 85th percentile was 43.8 mph with 70% of drivers in a 35-44 mph pace.

The average speed was 39.2 mph and the 50th percentile speed was 38.4 mph.

“Most people are driving at the low speed,” Ouadah said.

The TAC recommendation revised the boundaries of the other two segments of Reche Road. The review was for the 1.16-mile portion between Live Oak Park and Via Vista and for the 2-mile segment between Via Vista and Old Highway 395, but the TAC felt that Gird Road should be the dividing point. One reason involves the configuration of Reche Road.

“The road straightens itself out,” Pennings said. “The third section is almost a straight shot.”

The other advantage is that motorists entering Reche Road from Gird Road would have a consistent speed limit. The 21 collisions between Live Oak Park Road and Via Vista between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2019, include five at the intersection of Gird Road and nine between Carriage Lane and Gird Road. Only one of those 14 collisions was caused by driving under the influence.

The May 15 traffic survey reviewed from 1,180 feet east of Live Oak Park Road had 5,334 westbound and 5,066 eastbound vehicles for a total of 10,400. A June 2013 traffic survey had a two-way volume of 10,800 vehicles. The 21 collisions in the 1.16-mile segment create a collision rate of 0.82 per million vehicle miles; the statewide average for similar suburban conventional two-lane roads with speed limits under 45 mph is 1.80. Eight of the collisions involved injury.

The speed survey was also taken 1,180 feet east of Live Oak Park Road both in June 2013 and May 8, 2019. In 2013 the 85th percentile was 43.5 mph with 83.2% of the 530 drivers within a 36-45 mph pace. The 489 drivers in 2019 had an 85th percentile of 39.5 mph with 82% in a 32-41 mph pace, and the 50th percentile was 35.7 mph. Although the speed survey would have allowed for a 35 mph speed limit, the TAC felt that the 40 mph and 45 mph speed limits for the adjacent segments warranted retaining the 40 mph speed limit between Live Oak Park Road and Gird Road.

The traffic survey between Via Vista and Old Highway 395 was taken 175 feet east of Ranger Road. The May 15 volume was 7,546 vehicles consisting of 3,829 westbound and 3,717 eastbound motorists. The two-way volume in February 2013 was 8,080 vehicles. The 11 reported collisions, including three with injury and one with a death, create a segment accident rate of 0.67 per million vehicle miles while the statewide average for similar suburban conventional two-lane roads with speed limits between 45 mph and 55 mph is 1.19.

Speed surveys were taken at two locations along the segment both in December 2012 and May 8, 2019. The 2012 speed survey 250 feet east of Scooter Lane had an 85th percentile of 50.9 mph with 71.6% of the 250 drivers within a 43-52 mph pace while the survey 250 feet east of Ranger Road produced an 85th percentile of 47.0 mph with 67.1% of the 240 drivers in a 37-46 mph pace.

The 2019 survey 250 feet east of Ranger Road was conducted between 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.; the 85th percentile was 47.7 mph with 68% of the 451 drivers in a 39-48 mph pace. The 2019 survey 250 feet east of Ranger Road measured the speeds of 233 drivers between 1:25-3:25 p.m. whose 85th percentile speed was 49.6 mph with 70% within a 41-50 mph pace. The speed zone 85th percentile was 48.7 mph and 69% of the drivers were within a pace of 40-49 mph.

 

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