New Poway speed limits approved

By Steve Dreyer

The City Council on Tuesday night approved a new city traffic study recommending that speed limits be decreased on five major Poway streets and increased on four others.

In each case, the adjustment will be for 5 mph.

Recent changes in state law affect the setting of speed limits, Senior Traffic Engineer Zoubir Ouadah wrote in his report. As a result, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, which contracts with the city for law enforcement services, requested that the city’s 2008 Engineering and Traffic Study be updated. New speed data was collected during August 2012, he said.

The speed limits on the following streets be decreased by 5 mph:

• Camino del Norte, from 55 to 50 mph

• Midland Road, between Aubrey and Edgemoor streets, from 30 to 25 mph;

• Oak Knoll Road, between Pomerado and Carriage roads, from 30 to 25 mph;

• Ted Williams Parkway, between the western city limits and Pomerado Road, from 55 to 50 mph.

Increases in the speed limit were approved for:

• High Valley Road, from 25 to 30 mph;

• Martincoit Road, from 30 to 35 mph;

• Old Coach Road, from 35 to 40 mph;

• Sycamore Canyon Road, from 35 to 40 mph.

Approval involved some interesting footwork on the part of the five council members, four of whom live within 500 feet of at least one of the affected streets. As a result, each of the four had to leave the council chambers and not vote on certain recommended speed changes. Only Councilman Dave Grosch voted on all recommendations.

Mayor Don Higginson guided the council through the process, reading from a script prepared by City Attorney Morgan Foley. At one point the script was turned over to Deputy Mayor John Mullin so that Higginson could leave the room.

In one case, where three of the impacted councilmembers lived nearby, they drew straws to see who could vote under what Foley termed the “rule of necessity.” Higginson drew the short straw and voted on the matter.

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Posted by Steve Dreyer on May 8 2013. Filed under Local News, Poway. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Comments for “New Poway speed limits approved”

  1. David Haessig

    This whole study ignored the safety issue along the Espola Narrows, even though the safety issue is part of the justification identified in the EIR to widen Espola Road in this area. And this is the third time this safety issue has been identified in these studies. A simple and obvious improvement to safety along the Espola narrows is to lower the speed limit to 35 MPH. This stretch meets all the criteria to do this. Yet it was not mentioned in the traffic study. And it appears our City Council didn't catch this glaring omission, either.

  2. Joe St. Lucas

    The study shows the accident “rate” on Espola from Titan Way to Poway Rd as being 0.36, the state ave is 1.84, with an 85% speed of 47mph. The “rate” is 1/5 of the state average. The council can only modify the speed limit so far from the current limit based on the 85% number. Now why they included the portion from twin peaks to poway rd in these numbers is unknown to me. It appears to me that that segment of Espola is way below the accident “rate” as it is now. However, next time a bicyclist or pedestrian gets hit, all heck will break loose if nothing is done to widen the bike lanes and provide sidewalks.

  3. Terry Daniels

    Why would a city INCREASE speeds? Isn't a speed limit based upon safety? Doesn't the safety risk always increase the higher the speed?

    CA law (Vehicle Code: Basic Speed Law) requires yearly surveys to make sure posted speed limits match the average speed that at least 85% of drivers are actually driving. Thus speed limits are determined by what drivers ‘feel’ is a safe speed. Posted speed limits are increased because at least 85% of drivers are breaking the posted speed limit. The thinking by government is that those who observe speed limit laws create a hazard on streets where most drivers are breaking the law and traveling faster.

    Theoretically then, if we can ban together at least 85% of Poway drivers to agree to drive 60 mph through Poway every time they hit the road, next year we can get all the posted speed limits re-set to 60 mph. This will virtually eliminate speeding tickets in Poway (unless you really want one), reduce traffic congestion because drivers who are afraid to drive that fast in town will not venture onto the road, and driving will be much safer. They’ll likely have to adjust the traffic lights to about 20 seconds for yellow, but there’ll be no further need of photo enforcement cameras.

    • Sparky

      No that is not how the 85% rule is interpreted.

    • Joe St. Lucas

      I think that the council can adjust the limit to the nearest plus or minus 5 mph from the 85% unless there are mitigating circumstances, so driving 60 down poway rd will eventually get the speed limit changed to 40 mph. BTW, a councilmember mentioned that they really don't set the speed limits, it's the people who drive it that do since the limit is based on the 85%. But I still wonder about camino del norte. Is the speed averaged going east and west? Going west up camino del norte from pomerado is all uphill, you're lucky to hit 55 by the time you hit the city limit, but driving east downhill it's really easy to get to the speed limit.

  4. David Haessig

    Please read the article. The City just reduced the speed on four segments. Was that because the prevailing speed was lower? Or was it because the recent change in state law referenced in the article allowed it

  5. Poway Watchdog

    Apparently driving 70+ on west bound Poway Road is not an issue… or perhaps the council members do not live near that area are apathetic to the lack of enforcement. Time to vote for council that will pay attention.

  6. Marijane Schafer

    Poway road, which is a 4 lane road with limited turn lanes, has a speed limit of 35. I think that a residential road, such as our Espola Road which has driveways from residences accessing the road should certainly be 35. This would also probably limit the through traffic that as a resident I do not feel we need to encourage.

  7. MuchAdo

    On Poway roads I mostly drive – Pomerado, Twin Peaks, Poway Rd – no one drives the speed limit. I venture it is the same on these other roads too. 5 miles faster, slower, what difference does it make. If you dare to drive the speed limit, that guy in back of you has a date with your rear bumper. Are speeding tickets ever an option in Poway?

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