County responds to requests from ACPG
This letter is from the desk of: RICHARD E. CROMPTON
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
5510 OVERLAND AVE, SUITE 410
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA 92123- 1237
(858) 694·2212 FAX, (858) 694·3597
Web Site: www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dpwf
Dear Mr. Easterling:
REQUEST FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN THE ALPINE AREA
The Department of Public Works (DPW) Traffic staff was forwarded your letter dated
July 26, 2013 requesting improvements in the Alpine area to address road operation and safety concerns. Staff received your letter on September 12, 2013 and have evaluated your ten requests, and the recommendations are as follows:
1. Crosswalk along Alpine Boulevard near Alpine Elementary School (MRL)
Staff is very judicious when considering installation of mid-block crosswalks along
County roads, especially those located near schools. Staff met with Alpine Elementary School principal and two members of the Alpine Community Planning Group (Alpine CPG) September 10, 2013 to discuss installation of a crosswalk across Alpine Boulevard. Although the principal supports the school crosswalk he is unable to commit school safety patrols and/or adult cross guards at this location. Mid-block crosswalks can give pedestrians an unwarranted feeling of safety that can increase their risk and reduce road safety. It is for this reason that Staff does not recommend a mid-block crosswalk installation.
2. Evaluate crosswalks at Tavern Road/Alpine Boulevard and determine if additional traffic control signage is necessary to alert oncoming traffic.
Staff reviewed all four approaches of the intersection at Tavern Road and Alpine Boulevard. Although there is significant line of sight for three of four approaches, “signal ahead” warning signs are in place on these three approaches to inform motorists of the approaching signal. The sight distance for the fourth northbound approach on
5. Lower speed limit on Tavern Road from 50 mph to 35 mph
Staff refers to the California Vehicle Code (CVC) and California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD) when considering installation of speed limits on County roads. The CVC and CA MUTCD specify speed limits should be set at or near prevailing speed (85th percentile speed) of free-flowing traffic. On January 28, 2011 the Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) reviewed Tavern Road from South Grade Road to Arnold Way for radar recertification of the existing 50 mph limit. The speed surveys obtained during the review supported the 50 mph limit and the TAC recommended recertification to the Board of Supervisors. A speed limit set below the prevailing speed would not comply with State law and would not be enforceable by ihe California Highway Patrol (CHP). Since the existing 50 mph limit on Tavern Road is appropriately set, a reduction is not recommended at this time.
6. Evaluate crosswalk with flashing light on Tavern Road near DeWitt Estate Road for pedestrian safety.
Staff met with Joan McQueen Middle School principal and CHP on September 27 and September 30 to discuss operations along Tavern Road. Staff determined Tavern Road is appropriately posted with school signs, pavement legends, and a flashing beacon for both directions of travel to notify motorists of the school and presence of children. Staff also discussed a mid-block crosswalk along Tavern Road and all parties involved agreed installation would not be beneficial. However, due to continued concerns identified by the Alpine School District and parents adjacent to the school, staff will be scheduling a subsequent meeting to develop community based solutions in improving children safety. Staff will extend an invitation to the Alpine CPG members to attend the meeting as well.
7. Coordinate study with Caltrans for sidewalk over Tavern Road 1-8 bypass
Staff reviewed Tavern Road Bridge and determined installation of sidewalk would require a major improvement project as the existing bridge structure is not wide enough to accommodate pedestrian facilities. The County maintains the asphalt pavement on both sides of the bridge in addition to any surface treatment on the top of the bridge deck and Caltrans is responsible for the bridge structure. Maintenance of Tavern Road is a priority for DPW and the road has been identified for resurfacing in a future maintenance contract as funding becomes available. Any improvement to the structure, including widening for a pedestrian sidewalk would have to be initiated and funded through Caltrans. A copy of your request and this response will be provided to Michael Powers, Highway Operations Chief with Caltrans, for his review and consideration. We realize this would be a very expensive project for Caltrans, but we would be happy to meet with both Caltrans and the Alpine CPG to discuss this Caltrans matter further.
Tavern Road is limited due to the roadway geometrics. To address limited sight distance, a “signal ahead” sign is mounted overhead with a flashing beacon to further accentuate change in road conditions and approaching signalization. This device has been in place since February 22, 1990. The County of San Diego refers to the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD) for installing signage on our roadways, and the signage for these crosswalks meets safety standards and aligns with the CA MUTCD. However, in an effort to enhance pedestrian presence, staff will refresh the paint markings of these intersection crosswalks within eight weeks.
3. Evaluate safety conditions on West Willows to determine if additional signs are -needed for the curve or impact barrels for-lhe south side of the road.
Staff reviewed the curve along West Willows Road just east of the Interstate 8 (1 -8) Willows Road exit. We have confirmed the curve meets safety standards and is properly and adequately posted with oversized curve warning and advisory speed limit signs, chevrons (directional arrows), and an oversized head-on curve warning sign.
However, to further accentuate the curve, staff will install an additional chevron for the westbound direction of travel. The chevron directional arrow will delineate the curve on Willows Road versus traffic along 1-8 and will be installed within eight weeks. Staff is very judicious with the installation of crash attenuators, such as barrels. Barrels are used at locations where running off an embankment or striking a fixed object would be a more severe collisions. Since there is approximately 9-10 feet of shoulder adjacent to the 13 foot travel lane, installation of barrels would reduce this clear recovery area along the south side of Willows Road. Although there have been four minor collisions within the last five and half years in vicinity of the curve, none resulted in injury to motorists or passengers. Introducing fixed objects, such as crash attenuators, may actually increase the likelihood and severity of collisions along Willows Road.
4. Consider installation of warning signs to alert motorist of bicyclist on Japatul
Road Staff refers to the County of San Diego Bicycle Transportation Plan when evaluating roads for bicycle related signs. Japatul Road is listed as a “Share the Road” corridor from Tavern Road to Japatul Valley Road. Installation of enhanced signage is considered on these corridors to alert motorists of the presence of bicyclists. We agree the conditions on Japatul Road meet the criteria for additional signs and DPW will install bicycle symbol signs with “Share the Road” plates. A total of four signs for both direction of travel will be installed along Japatul Road within the next eight weeks.
8. Redesign left turn lane within median at Alpine BoulevardlWest Victoria
As you noted in your letter, modification to the left turn lane would require a capital
improvement project to reconfigure the intersection and existing concrete median.
Based on your request, DPW installed in-pavement vehicle detection loops for the
eastbound left-turn lane and the through lane on September 20, 2013. The inpavement loops detect vehicles and provide required clearance time for the left-turn traffic. Based on staff observation during peak hours, the detection system changes have improved intersection operations.
9. Reprogram traffic signals on Tavern Road to address school day backup
Two of the four signals along Tavern Road are operated and maintained by the County and two are under Caltrans control. Staff reviewed the County maintained signals and confirmed they are programed to accommodate morning and afternoon school-related traffic. Staff will coordinate with Caltrans to discuss these proposed changes for the traffic signals under their control and will provide an update to the Alpine CPG in three weeks.
10. Review three man-hole covers on Tavern Road
Staff reviewed the three man-hole covers along Tavern Road just south of Roble
Grande. Although the covers make an audible sound when driven over, they are well
within acceptable height tolerance. The man-hole covers have approximately 1/4”
differential or less versus the pavement; however, the transition is gradual and does not create a safety issue for vehicles or other road users
Thank you for your interest in traffic safety. If you have any further questions or would like to discuss these issues in further detail, please contact Mike Kenney, County Traffic Engineer, at (858) 694-3857.
Sincerely, DEREK R. GADE, PE., Deputy Director
Department of Public Works