Village News Reporter
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a 30 mph speed limit for Fifth Street between Old Highway 395 and Rainbow Valley Boulevard.
A 4-0 vote June 28, with one vacant seat, approved the introduction and first reading of the ordinance. A 4-0 vote July 19 approved the second reading and adoption. The action also certifies the speed limit for radar enforcement. The speed limit will become effective Aug. 18, although the county’s Department of Public Works (DPW) may erect signage earlier.
Fifth Street did not have a posted speed limit other than a 25 mph school zone near Vallecitos Elementary School, so if roadway conditions were safe, drivers could travel up to 55 mph on the street. Fifth Street between Old Highway 395 and Rainbow Valley Boulevard measures 0.64 miles. Fifth Street is a two-lane road and has a pavement width of 26 feet. The road has a two-way left turn lane and white edge-line striping. The mobility element of the county’s general plan classifies Fifth Street as a Light Collector. Board of Supervisors actions April 5 and May 3 approved an all-way stop at Fifth Street and Huffstatler Street.
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. 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. The county’s Traffic Advisory Committee unanimously recommended a 30 mph speed limit for Fifth Street at the March 10 TAC meeting and made findings of a collision rate higher than the statewide average for similar roads and Fifth Street use by nursery vehicles to justify the additional 5 mph reduction.
An Oct. 11, 2022, traffic survey addressed both the all-way stop and the speed limit. The vehicular traffic approaching the intersection consisted of 2,174 eastbound and 645 westbound vehicles on Fifth Street, and 269 northbound and 136 southbound motorists on Huffstatler Street. The traffic survey 500 feet east of Huffstatler Street produced an average daily volume of 2,163 vehicles consisting of 1,600 eastbound and 563 westbound motorists. The largest afternoon hourly volumes were 482 drivers between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 398 motorists between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., while the largest morning hourly volumes were 135 vehicles between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 118 drivers between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
The traffic volume in conjunction with two reported collisions during the 36-month period from Nov. 1, 2019, to Oct. 31, 2022, produces a collision rate of 1.32 per million vehicle miles. The statewide average for similar flat rural two-lane roads with speed limits less than or equal to 55 mph is 1.09 collisions per million vehicle miles.
The speed survey was taken 400 feet west of Huffstatler Street on Jan. 19. DPW began counting traffic at 10:42 a.m. and concluded at 12:50 p.m. The 65 vehicles had an 85th percentile of 37.3 mph, and 69% of those drivers were within a 10 mph pace of 27-36 mph. The most common speeds were 36 mph with 14 drivers and 31 mph with six motorists. The fastest driver crossed the survey point at 42 mph while the slowest vehicle was traveling at 23 mph.