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Supervisors recertify West Lilac Road 45 mph speed limit

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors recertified the 45 mph speed limit on a 4.43-mile segment of West Lilac Road for radar enforcement.

A 4-0 vote May 24, with one vacancy, approved the first reading and introduction of the ordinance to retain the speed limit for West Lilac Road from Camino Del Rey to Old Highway 395 and recertify it for radar enforcement. A 4-0 vote Jun. 14 approved the second reading and adoption of the ordinance.

Prior to 2015, no speed limit had been posted on the striped two-lane road, which has two-way left turn pockets and varies in width from 26-40 feet, although the area around Sullivan Middle School (which now includes Bonsall High School) has an automatic school zone speed limit of 25 mph and some of the curves have posted advisory speeds of 35 mph.

The road also has a seven-ton weight limit for trucks or other vehicles not traveling to a destination along the road. West Lilac Road is classified as a Light Collector in the Mobility Element of the county's general plan.

A school zone speed limit can be enforced by radar without a supporting speed survey, but for a non-automatic speed limit to be certified for radar enforcement a speed survey must show that the speed limit is within an adjacent 5 mph increment to the 85th percentile speed. The speed surveys cannot be taken at curves where advisory speeds are posted. The speed limit may be rounded either up or down from the 85th percentile speed.

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. Periodic recertification, including a supporting speed survey, is required for continued radar enforcement and the county's Department of Public Works or a DPW contractor typically conducts speed surveys every seven years.

Formal speed limits are generally not posted on roads with traffic volumes under 2,000 vehicles per day, which was the case when an Apr. 2002 traffic survey indicated two-way average daily volumes of 1,890 vehicles east of Camino Del Cielo and 1,610 vehicles west of Old Highway 395.

A pair of Oct. 2014 traffic surveys revealed a two-way average daily volume of 2,330 vehicles east of Camino Del Cielo and a westbound average daily volume of 2,125 vehicles west of Old Highway 395, and the traffic volume exceeding 2,000 vehicles led to the decision to formalize a speed limit.

Two speed surveys were taken in Feb. 2015. The survey 300 feet west of Via Ararat Drive included 113 vehicles with an 85th percentile speed of 47.9 mph and 72 drivers, or 63.7%, traveling within a 39‑48 mph pace. The survey 200 feet west of Camino del Cielo also had 113 drivers whose 85th percentile was 46.7 mph with 78 drivers, or 69.0%, within the pace of 37-46 mph. In Mar. 2015 the county's Traffic Advisory Committee unanimously recommended that a 45 mph speed limit be posted and certified for radar enforcement, and after approval at two Board of Supervisors hearings that spring the speed limit took effect in Jul. 2015.

Two traffic surveys were taken on Nov. 15, 2022. The one 200 feet north of Camino Del Rey had a two-way average daily volume of 2,522 vehicles with 1,268 northbound and 1,254 southbound motorists and a one-hour peak volume of 394 drivers between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. The survey 1,600 feet west of Via Ararat Drive had 1,088 eastbound and 1,076 westbound motorists for a total of 2,164 and a one-hour peak volume of 377 vehicles between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Speed surveys were taken at four different locations for the recertification. The Nov. 30, 2022, speed survey 1,500 feet west of Via Ararat Drive measured 100 vehicles whose 85th percentile speed was 49.3 mph with 60.0% within a pace of 36‑46 mph. The 108 drivers in the Dec. 22 survey 1,400 feet east of Bobrit Lane had an 85th percentile of 49.5 mph with 63.0% within a 41-50 mph pace.

The Dec. 27 survey 5,000 feet east of Dos Ninas counted 111 drivers with an 85th percentile speed of 53.2 mph although only 44.1% of those were within a 45-54 mph pace. A Jan. 12, 2023, survey at Redondo Drive had 110 motorists with an 85th percentile of 49.5 mph and 61.8% within a 41‑50 mph pace. The 85th percentile for the speed zone was 49.5 mph with 58.8% of the drivers within a 40‑49 mph pace.

During the 36-month period from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2022, West Lilac Road from Camino Del Rey to Old Highway 395 had 24 reported collisions including 15 which involved at least one injury. That produced an accident rate of 2.12 collisions per million vehicle miles. The statewide average for similar rural two-lane roads with speed limits less than 55 mph is 0.91 collisions per million vehicle miles.

The Jan. 27 Traffic Advisory Committee meeting included a 13-0 vote to recommend retaining the 45 mph speed limit and recertifying the speed limit for radar enforcement.

 

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