A single roundabout to be installed on busy Carlsbad Boulevard at Cannon Road, in the coastal Terramar neighborhood, got the green light last week from the Carlsbad City Council.
The traffic-control device was approved along with some last-minute modifications to a plan in the works for more than three years to improve public safety, landscaping and beach access in the residential area, a popular surfing spot.
City planners had recommended two roundabouts, one at Cannon and another a block to the south at Cerezo Drive. Both sites are now three-way intersections with traffic lights at Carlsbad Boulevard, also known as Highway 101 and the Coast Highway.
Many of the more than 80 homeowners who live on Carlsbad Boulevard near the intersections had asked the council to keep the traffic lights, saying roundabouts would make it more difficult for them to get in and out of their driveways.
“The only safe way to exit our driveway is when the light turns red on Cerezo,” resident Brett Horan told the council Tuesday night. He asked the council to keep both the lights.
City staffers said the roundabouts would slow traffic and leave occasional spaces between vehicles so that residents can pull out onto the road.
A few people supported the devices, saying they would be the best way to improve safety and control speeders.
“I see accidents all the time,” said resident Jan Kendrick, adding that sometimes he sees racing motorcycles exceed 100 mph.
The city prepared four possible plans: one for two roundabouts, one for two traffic signals, one with a single roundabout at Cannon, and one with the roundabout at Cerezo.
Also, to help make it easier to access driveways, the council agreed to modify the single-roundabout plan to keep the existing center turn-lane between Cannon and Cerezo. The staff’s proposal called for the center lane to be eliminated to make room for parking on the east side of the highway in that area.
Adding parking on the east side of the road also would make it more difficult to get out of their driveways, some residents said.
A motion by Councilman Keith Blackburn to approve a plan with no roundabouts, keeping the two traffic lights, failed on a 2-3 vote, with council members Cori Schumacher, Michael Schumacher (no relation) and Mark Packard opposed. Then the motion for a single roundabout at Cannon passed with Blackburn and Mayor Matt Hall opposed.
“I don’t believe roundabouts are the bogeyman,” Packard said.
He’s had good experiences with them when driving in Europe and elsewhere, he said, and he’s found that most drivers like them once they get used to them.
“I totally acknowledge there is a learning curve, but roundabouts have been around a long time and have been successful,” Packard said.
Roundabouts slow traffic and make roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, numerous studies have shown. The chances of head-on and T-bone crashes are almost eliminated. Fuel consumption, air pollution and noise are all reduced because vehicles rarely come to a complete stop.
New crosswalks, more and wider sidewalks, additional parking and bluff-top landscaping across the highway from the Encina power plant also are planned as part of the Terramar improvements.
Terramar is among only a few areas along Carlsbad Boulevard where homes have driveways that directly access the highway. The planned makeover will include property within the city right-of-way from the power plant south to Marzano Drive, about one mile, and along Cannon Road east to the railroad tracks.
The effort is one in a series of coastal access improvements now underway in Carlsbad. The ideas originated nearly 10 years ago as part of Envision Carlsbad, a two-year planning effort that involved community workshops, surveys, advisory groups, consultants and city staffers.
Carlsbad installed its first Highway 101 roundabout a few years ago at State Street near the Oceanside border. That project won several regional planning awards and has been praised by residents and city officials.
Also in the pipeline for coastal access improvements is the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and Tamarack Avenue. A roundabout was studied as part of the proposed redesign there, but later eliminated because of insufficient space within the city right-of-way.
Original content: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/communities/north-county/sd-no-carlsbad-roundabouts-20181128-story.html