McMillin Misleads Traffic Problems

Permit me to make the following comments regarding the proposed McMillin residential construction project, Rancho Encantada, located southeast of the intersection of Pomerado and Spring Canyon Roads. The McMillin Corporation in its fancy information brochure (vol. 1 no. 3) tries to tell residents that funding for improvements on access to I-15 and on an overpass will mitigate all the traffic problems of Rancho Encantada. The assumptions are false and need to be identified as such now before the project goes any further.

The multi-million-dollar traffic improvement package, as described via the drawing on the front page of the brochure will hardly address the problem. Adding a “free flow lane” independent of the existing traffic signal on the overpass for the south I-15 on-ramp so that it ends up as an HOV lane will not increase the free flow of traffic. Most cars have only the driver as an occupant and would draw heavy fines if using this added HOV access lane. For example,

1. In the morning commute, to southbound I-15 from Scripps Poway Parkway, both regular on-ramp lanes are packed from the underpass all the way to the metering lights on top of ramp while the HOV on-ramp lane is almost always empty. A recent two-day crack down on by police on such HOV violations was a source of great income for the City.

2. Widening the roadway to create a smooth traffic flow for vehicles exiting I-15 to travel east on Pomerado in the evening commute will not change the fact that all eastbound lanes from Miramar Road and the traffic from this exit ramp squeeze into the one lane of Pomerado Road. This is one reason why traffic backs up to Camino Ruiz and beyond in the pm commute hours.

I am certain many traffic experts have suggested other measures to be carried out first such as synchronizing all traffic signals from Camino Ruiz to Semillon. This works nicely on Grape and Hawthorne between I-5 and Harbor Blvd. in downtown San Diego. And it works great in major traffic routes in cities across the country.

Another possible solution is no left turns permitted on Pomerado Road during peak hours and restrictions on right turns. Installation of photo enforcement equipment is warranted at the intersections on the I-15 overpass, at the on-ramp to Miramar from south I-15, and at Kearny Villa Road and Black Mountain Road intersections. It is the total disregard for the existing traffic signals when drivers, including those with big rigs and overlength trailers, enter these intersections against yellow and red lights, thus blocking the lanes and causing the massive gridlock which occurs daily in both directions of this bottleneck.

Given CalTrans’ slow pace on all the other traffic improvement projects (Route 56 and others) it would take years to get these ramp changes through, causing even greater disruption of traffic than exists now.

Will Rancho Encantada wait for the completion of all the improvements before construction of the residential phase begins? Or will the daily car trips of 557 single-family homes and 106 multiple-family homes be funneled into the existing melee during peak hours? I am sad to suggest it, but perhaps we are getting closer to adding a third lane to Pomerado Road, with overhead signals indicating 2 lanes westbound in the am and 2 lanes eastbound in the pm. Many cities across the country implement this procedure.

Connect Pomerado Road to State Route 52

As a resident of Scripps Ranch Villages, I feel that, apart from our school issues, there is nothing more important to our quality of life than the current traffic congestion that worsens by the day.

As we watch our local newsletters announcing plans for hundreds and hundreds of homes planned to the east in the South Poway area and the potential of a huge Marine housing community to the east or south, we look ahead to adding thousands of cars a day to our already over-crowded roads and on-ramps to Interstate 15.

Already, many days it takes more than 20 minutes just to get on or off the freeway. While McMillin Development is proposing to expand the freeway interchange at Miramar Road with millions of their dollars, the proposal only works to stack a few more lanes of cars waiting to get onto an already over-crowded freeway.

Two additional options already put more cars directly onto Pomerado Road, including some of the options for the Marine housing. This is not the solution, as more cars will continue to be diverted to the already packed Carroll Canyon Road, Mira Mesa Blvd., and Scripps Poway Parkway on-ramps, each with a 20-minute wait.

Instead of having McMillin attempt to expand the freeway intersection at Miramar Road, the City should demand new access into the area from the Marine’s vast supply of land to the south, especially if the military wants more housing.

A direct connection of Pomerado Road down south to Santo Road and State Route 52 with a four-lane road straight south should be the only option. This access to State Route 52 for both Poway residents and the new proposed residents in Sycamore Canyon would actually relieve the problems we have in Scripps.

So much of our morning traffic is not from Scripps Ranch, but from Poway itself. These new developments should not be approved until SANDAG, the City Council, and local planning groups agree that a 20-minute wait to get on and off a freeway is already too long. Something needs to be done. Additional roads and interconnections are needed.

This is not the case of a resident not wanting to develop or having a NIMBY attitude, only one not willing to make our commutes even worse. Connect Pomerado Road to State Route 52, and it opens the door for Sycamore, Beeler, and the Navy housing projects without a heavy impact to our local roads and freeway access.

Thank you.

Speeding and Fatal Accident

I am sure you are all aware of the fatal hit-and-run accident involving the CEO of the Naval Credit Union who was struck by a vehicle near the intersection of Erma Road and Scripps Ranch Blvd. on Feb. 8, 2001.

A 1990-91 beige-colored Toyota, driven by a man described by a witness as Asian and with a small child seat in the rear, was the car that apparently caused the other vehicle to swerve and come on the sidewalk and kill the CEO. A vehicle matching this description has not been found yet by the San Diego Police Department. The traffic on this stretch of Scripps Ranch Blvd. has dramatically increased and will increase further with the completion of more homes in the Shea and Kaufman Broad developments.

We asked for a specific and directed traffic safety analysis to include flashing lights and signs for this specific stretch of the road. Sorry to say to date, this has not been accomplished. It is not officially listed as caused by speeding, but a hit and run at 10900 Scripps Ranch Blvd.

However, anyone traveling Scripps Ranch Blvd. past the Miro homes can attest to the high rate of speed coming down the hill and approaching the curve. The police request that if you have information concerning this accident, please call Detective Roger McNeil at 495-7809.

Road Side Shrines

At least four fatal accidents have occurred on Scripps Ranch streets and intersections caused by speeding, drunken driving, or pedestrian mistakes. In each case the tragic loss of life has left a family grieving and desirous of in some way commemorating the death of the individual. This has taken the form of crosses erected at the site, painting of city utility poles a bright color, planting flowers, posting signs, lighting candles, etc.

To the families these memorials are considered suitable and graphic, and serve as a reminder to drive safely. To others these same things constitute a visual distraction and could cause more accidents. To others they are litter and have no place here.

As a community, we need to address the thought of remembrance, safe driving, and the family feelings, and come up with a suitable and effective way to memorialize these family members and yet not create a situation in which more accidents could occur. The city can and will enforce their removal as they typically are placed in the City-owned right of way.

If you have ideas for consideration please send them to the SRCA for consideration and publication as needed. Keep in mind that any memorial of this type must be properly maintained or it can become a tattered eye sore and not a fitting memorial.