By Kristina Pritchett

City Council is scheduled to review bids for a traffic calming project along Camino Capistrano in December.

Business owners went to the city with their concerns about cars speeding through the area, and the fact that there are preschools and a swim school in the area, where parents often cross the street with their children.

“It tends to be a place where people speed,” said Larry Robinson, a business owner in the area. “There are parents who come to pick up their kids; they have to sprint across with their child across the street. Traffic can be unpredictable.”

The plan is to create an uncertainty for drivers, said Matt Sinacori, deputy director of public works.

“If drivers have to navigate through, they tend to slow down,” Sinacori said.

From Victoria Boulevard to Sepulveda Avenue, the city plans to have painted stripes that will create narrower lanes for traffic, as well as islands that will draw the driver’s attention. The islands will have cobble rocks and trees.

“There will also be parked cars out there, which is good for traffic calming because it causes friction. If the cars weren’t there, then people would drive a lot faster,” Sinacori said.

Another aspect of the project includes work on Sepulveda and Via Santa Rosa will have more of a 90-degree angle.

“One thing you have to think about is the fire department and the trucks, they turn in there,” Sinacori said.

Sinacori said the city already had plans to do work along that stretch of road, so this project fits right into the plans.

If the plan doesn’t work, or amenable bids are not received, Sinacori said the city will look at other options. For now, some short-term options include a blinking light beacon, moving a speed radar truck in and out of the area and more patrolling.

Construction is not scheduled to begin until the spring and could take three to four months to complete, Sinacori said. The City Council will need to award a bid contract for the work to begin.

Courtesy: City of Dana Point
Courtesy: City of Dana Point

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comments (4)

  • We could save the taxpayers of Dana Point some money if we would do the simplest and most obvious thing first: just lower the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph. On most of Camino Capistrano in the Palisades district the speed limit is 25 mph. When Camino Cap crosses California the limit is posted as 30 mph. Then after crossing under the SR 1 bridge and reaching Victoria, the posted limit is 35 mph all the way until Doheny Park Road. Since the speed limit is higher on this stretch of Camino Cap, it’s not surprising that people will drive faster. If you want them to slow down, why not just lower the limit to 25 mph? Has this obvious approach to the problem been considered? It’s sure a lot cheaper than the options mentioned in the article.

  • Although I spoke to Grant on the phone to respond to his questions posted above, the City wanted to provide some information for other online readers. In response to complaints, the City evaluated the feasibility of reducing the speed limit on Camino Capistrano in the early stages of our review on this issue. The City must follow State Law (California Vehicle Code) when setting speed limits to avoid establishing unenforceable limits (speed traps). The law requires us to prepare a Traffic Speed Survey of prevailing speeds, accident history, and road conditions for each street segment. This was done for Camino Capistrano in 2015 and resulted in a limit of 35 mph. The street was surveyed again in 2016 and the results were the same. Therefore, reducing the speed limit was not an option. In designing Camino Capistrano improvements for a planned Repaving Project, the City seized the opportunity to add traffic calming improvements. The City’s Traffic Improvement Subcommittee and property owners in this area supported narrower vehicle lanes, realigning two side street intersections, constructing several raised bulb outs at intersections, and adjusting the roadway striping.

    The Project will be brought to the City Council for consideration of an award of contract in January. Please contact me with any questions. Matthew Sinacori, City Engineer/Deputy Director Public Works (949 248-3574)

  • Thank you for explaining this Matt. I don’t think most people are aware that the City can’t just arbitrarily lower speed limits. Can you also explain why it isn’t possible to impose school zone speeds of 25 mph in that area with two preschools in the vicinity? Not sure I understand the rules. Do they only pertain to accredited public schools?

  • Good question Toni. The California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CAMUTCD) is published by the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and is issued to adopt uniform standards and specifications for all official traffic control devices, in accordance with Section 21400 of the California Vehicle Code. Therefore, as Toni noted, in order to establish a school zone, an agency must follow some rules (CAMUTCD and the California Vehicle Code). The CAMUTCD defines a School as “a public or private educational institution recognized by the State Education Authority for one or more grades K through 12 or as otherwise defined by the State”. The schools in this area do not meet the definition of a school as defined by the CAMUTCD. Lastly, once the definition of a school is met, the CAMUTCD and the California Vehicle Code also provide very specific guidance on when a school zone can be installed. I hope this is helpful. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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