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Pepper Tree/Calavo speed limit to be lowered

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The speed limit on Pepper Tree Lane and Calavo Road between McDonald Road and Stage Coach Lane will be lowered.

A 4-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Wednesday, Dec. 6, with Terra Lawson-Remer absent, approved the first reading and introduction of an ordinance to reduce the speed limit from 40 mph to 35 mph and certify the new speed limit for radar enforcement. The second reading and adoption of the ordinance is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 10. If the second reading and adoption is approved the new speed limit for the 0.55-mile segment will be effective Friday, Feb. 9, although the county’s Department of Public Works may erect signage earlier.

For a speed limit to be enforced 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. DPW or a contractor typically conducts speed surveys for a specific road segment 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.

Pepper Tree Lane and Calavo Road are both striped two-lane undivided highways with a double yellow centerline which prohibits passing. Pepper Tree Lane ranges in width from 20 to 28 feet and is posted with an arrow advisory sign for a turn in the road and 15 mph turn intersection advisory signs. Pepper Tree Lane is currently classified as a light collector in the mobility element of the county’s general plan. Calavo Road ranges in width from 24 to 40 feet wide and includes stop ahead signs, an arrow advisory sign and curve advisory signs. Calavo Road is not classified in the mobility element.

A June 15 traffic survey indicated a two-way average daily volume of 2,020 vehicles, consisting of 1,034 westbound and 986 eastbound motorists, on Pepper Tree Lane 160 feet east of McDonald Road. The volume of 2,020 drivers matches that of the previous traffic survey taken in July 2015. No collisions were reported on Pepper Tree Lane and Calavo Road between McDonald Road and Stage Coach Lane during the 36-month period from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2023.

The speed survey was taken on Calavo Road 460 feet south of Pepper Tree Lane. A June 2015 speed survey indicated an 85th percentile speed of 37.0 mph with 69% of the 199 drivers traveling within a 10 mph pace of 28-37 mph. In July 2015, the county’s Traffic Advisory Committee recommended retaining the 40 mph speed limit rather than lowering it to the nearer 5 mph increment of 35 mph due to the sentiment not to change the speed limit based on a one-time survey, although if a subsequent speed survey supported a lower speed limit the TAC would solicit community input for a potential change. The board of supervisors ratified that 40 mph speed limit in September 2015.

The 2023 speed survey was taken June 27 between noon and 1:06 p.m. The 105 vehicles had an 85th percentile speed of 36.7 mph with 80% of the drivers within a 29-38 mph pace. No driver exceeded 40 mph and only three motorists were clocked at 40 mph. The most common speeds were 32 mph with 15 drivers, 31 mph with 13 drivers, 33 mph with 12 drivers and 29 mph with 10 drivers. The slowest motorist crossed the survey point at 24 mph.

The Fallbrook Community Planning Group was notified of the data and chose not to express a preference for the speed limit. The July 28 TAC meeting included a unanimous vote to recommend lowering the speed limit to 35 mph and certifying the new speed limit for radar enforcement.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].


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