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Traffic Backup

Dear Scripps Ranch Residents and Neighbors,

The city needs to hear from Scripps Ranch residents regarding the morning traffic problem that is occurring at the intersection of Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch boulevards. I believe a number of Scripps Ranch residents are experiencing this traffic problem.

I have lived in Scripps Ranch for more than 14 years and since my arrival, I have contacted the city regarding traffic problems at this intersection. For several years the city’s response to me focused on a “lack of funding,” which I understood. When some developers were required to mitigate traffic issues within this portion of the community, the funding piece of the solution was solved.

During the design phase engineers from the city and developers attended community group meetings to explain their solution, and the community groups recommended the improvement with conditions. However, the city’s implementation has made the traffic problem worse, which I never could have imagined. There are multiple reasons for the current traffic problem. But the response I receive from the city now is that “they have reviewed the intersections and everything is working according to design.” Wow!

Recently, my experience at this intersection was the tipping point. I was going southbound on Scripps Ranch Boulevard at Mira Mesa Boulevard. No vehicles could proceed south through the intersection or turn west for two green light cycles because the intersection was blocked with other vehicles. Cars heading north on Scripps Ranch Boulevard and turning west to Mira Mesa Boulevard were constantly blocking the intersection.

The cause of the backup was the new traffic signal at Hibert Street and Mira Mesa Boulevard. Hibert Street is a private drive. The Hibert Street traffic signal has priority over Mira Mesa Boulevard traffic, and the Hibert signal is not interconnected to the Mira Mesa/Scripps Ranch boulevards stoplight. If Mira Mesa Boulevard traffic signals were interconnected, the traffic wouldn’t back up.

When the community planning groups recommended the intersection improvements, they included a condition that all traffic signals along Mira Mesa Boulevard, including the Interstate 15 ramps, be interconnected to prevent a traffic problem. The city proceeded with the improvements after accepting this condition.

Scripps Ranch residents must request that the city stop ignoring this traffic problem. The city is ignoring my voice. The city needs to hear from every Scripps Ranch resident who is affected by this traffic problem. At times when I have contacted the city, their response has been we haven’t heard from anyone else.

Please contact our City Council member, Mark Kersey, at 619-236-6655 or [[email protected]] and the Streets Division at 619-527-7500 or [[email protected]] and let them hear from you.

Tracy Reed, Frustrated SR Resident

[The Scripps Ranch Planning Group has formed a subcommittee to look into this issue. The SRPG and SRCA will work with city and state agencies to address the concern. In addition, it is the policy of the SRCA Newsletter to offer those mentioned in letters an opportunity to respond.]

In response to concerns regarding traffic backups along Scripps Ranch Boulevard, the city implemented coordination timing at Mira Mesa Boulevard and Scripps Ranch Boulevard, and at Mira Mesa Boulevard and Hibert Street. This timing was implemented in July and is in operation between 7 and 8 am. We will revisit this and see if further adjustments can be made to the timing or the hours of operation to improve traffic flow in the area.

We also will talk to Caltrans and determine if there would be benefits to including the northbound Interstate 15/Mira Mesa Boulevard signal as part of the coordination timing referenced above.

With regard to “No U-turn” signs at Mira Mesa Boulevard going east, when this restriction was in place we received complaints from adjacent businesses that they were losing customers. The No U-turn signs were removed to alleviate this concern. We believe this has only a small impact on the capacity of the intersection. With or without U-turns, southbound drivers on Scripps Ranch Boulevard approaching Mira Mesa Boulevard must by law stop on a red light before turning right.

All the signals in the area are interconnected and communicating to our downtown master control system. Note that interconnection and coordination are two separate things. Interconnect is the physical communication link from signal to signal or from signal to control system. Coordination is the linking of signals through timing, generally with a common cycle length that optimizes traffic movement at peak times during the day.

Duncan Hughes, PE, Sr. Traffic Engineer, City of San Diego Transportation and Storm Water Dept.