Planners push for turn lanes at San Vicente and Gem Lane

Planning group member Torry Brean, center, talks about the need for a left turn lane at San Vicente Road and Gem Lane. Listening, from left, are: Eb Hogervorst, Carl Hickman, Barbara Jensen, Secretary Kristi Mansolf, and Chair Jim Piva. Sentinel photos/Karen Brainard
Planning group member Torry Brean, center, talks about the need for a left turn lane at San Vicente Road and Gem Lane. Listening, from left, are: Eb Hogervorst, Carl Hickman, Barbara Jensen, Secretary Kristi Mansolf, and Chair Jim Piva. Sentinel photos/Karen Brainard

By Karen Brainard

Ramona Community Planning Group members are not giving up on adding left turn lanes at San Vicente Road and Gem Lane, despite the county’s traffic study that says such turn lanes are not warranted.

At the planning group’s June 6 meeting, staff from the county’s Department of Public Works (DPW) presented its findings regarding two requests from RCPG for the San Vicente Road Improvement Project: left turn lanes at the Gem Lane intersection and increasing the separation between eastbound and westbound lanes on San Vicente Road to help avoid head-on collisions.

DPW Project Manager Steve Ron said he looked at the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) traffic study, and other than Warnock and Wildcat Canyon Roads none of the other  streets off San Vicente Road had a traffic volume of over 380 average daily trips (ADT) per day to warrant a turn lane. Plans do call for adding a left turn lane at Deviney Lane into Barnett Ranch Preserve because of vehicles pulling horse trailers in and out, he said.

RCPG member Matt Deskovick still pushed for turn lanes at Gem, noting that the county asks the group to represent the community and what it wants. Chair Jim Piva said the planning group has been proactive from the beginning about a need for left turn lanes at Gem.

The planning group passed a motion that “two-way left turn lanes be pursued in order to provide refuge for vehicles traveling left off Gem Lane onto San Vicente and to provide safe haven for vehicles turning left from San Vicente onto Gem Lane.”  The motion passed 11-1 with planner Carl Hickman opposing. Richard Tomlinson abstained, and Chad Anderson and Dennis Sprong were absent.

photo
erry Rayback explains how rumble strips and reflectors will be added to the center lines. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Hickman, who had pressed for more than two yellow lines between eastbound and westbound lanes, said he was satisfied with DPW’s plans to add rumble strips and reflectors.

Ron said rumble strips, which create a bumpy surface to alert drivers they need to change direction, will be added perpendicular to the two yellow lines, and will be installed between reflectors that will be placed approximately every 24 feet outside the lines.

Construction of the road realignment project is scheduled to begin this fall, but Rayback said it could be delayed  due to difficulties acquiring all the necessary right-of-ways.

Calling two of the properties at issue “very minor acquisitions,” Rayback said the county Board of Supervisors may consider the next step -— eminent domain — at its June 26 meeting. If that happens, Rayback said the supervisors would probably set up the first hearing for eminent domain on July 17, and construction could be delayed until the beginning of 2014.

In other business, Jim  Cooper, who serves as the planning group’s representative on the Ramona Design Review Board, reported that the board approved Chris Anderson to fill its vacant seat.

Cooper, who expressed an interest in serving on the Ramona Village Design Group, was approved as an alternate member by the RCPG. Planners Torry Brean and Paul Stykel are the RCPG’s representatives to the village design group.

Next month’s planning group meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on July 11, instead of the first Thursday of the month, as that is the Fourth of July. The meeting will be in Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane.

   
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