Bogus Stop Signs in Point Loma Get Support From City and Many Residents

by on April 18, 2013 · 7 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Not Every Resident Is Happy, However

Two bogus stop signs have been discovered in the tony neighborhood of southern Point Loma, near the Point Loma campus of Nazarene University. In July, 2012, a stop sign appeared on Jennings Street.  The counterfeit signs have many supporters among local residents, and even the City signed off (no pun intended) on one of them – but, not everyone is happy.

Residents  along Jennings at Albion Street and Silvergate Avenue are divided on the issue. Some say the bogus signs have made their neighborhood more safer for pedestrians, children, and walkers.

And some of them have been complaining to the City about traffic speeding through their ritzy neighborhood for over a decade.   In fact, residents in 2000 asked the City to do something and allow stop signs, but the City declined, and installed a “Yield” sign.   Residents also asked the City again later in 2000, and also in early 2001, and city staff deemed stop signs unnecessary.

Local resident Van Thaxton has been visible in this issue.  He stated to the press:

“… when the stop signs were put in, we’ve noticed a reduction of speed on the street, there have been fewer cars, it really has felt a lot safer.”

Thaxton has lived on Silvergate since 1996,  and told the press that he believes  the types of people and families who live in the immediate area of the community have changed over the years –  from  older retired folks  to one of younger families with children.  He stated to the press:

“They don’t know that a yield sign means slow down almost to a stop and make sure no one else is coming, they almost don’t see a yield sign and blow right through it.”

Thaxton believes that drivers ignore the yield signs and end up speeding through intersections and along the streets, bringing potential harm to the neighborhood. He said that a number of fender benders have resulted at Jennings and Silver Gate, including one where the vehicle hit a home.  He said:

“Bottom line, it’s a safety issue. You have to change with the changing neighborhood.”

A stop sign then appeared in July. And then another. The U-T reported:

One of the rogue signs has been up since July, untouched by city crews. Another was taken down and later replaced by an official City of San Diego sign.

Both were blessed by a city process that allowed the local community planning group and Councilman Kevin Faulconer to overrule the determination of civil engineers.

A resurfacing crew even accommodated the unauthorized “stop” signs by painting “STOP” in big white letters on the pavement, thinking the previous “YIELD” letters were a mistake.

Following the rogue action, the city’s traffic engineering staff again evaluated the situation to see if stop signs were warranted. The city grades the intersections on a point scale, with 20 points being the minimum for an all-way stop sign. Both intersections scored 11 points, short of the requirement.

 At the time that the bogus signs were discovered, the City took one out and replaced it with the prior yield sign.  Residents jumped into action and contacted Councilmember Faulconer’s office, asking that he assist them in getting the City to return the stop sign.

One l ocal resident Simon Borger wrote to Faulconer in January:

“The issue is the danger of that corner and… a serious safety issue that could potentially affect the entire neighborhood, certainly be catastrophic for homes in the immediate area.”

But others are not happy.  A group feels that the City, by okaying the counterfeit signs after-the-fact, has approved of the removal of its yellow yield sign and its replacement – all based on wrong facts.  Don Farnsworth, a resident of Silvergate since the 1970s opposed the action:

“The city by its actions is saying that it is OK to take down a sign, because there is a process to legitimize it.”

He wants the signs removed.  He told the press:

“I think it’s interesting that someone had the audacity to put up signs to suit their own needs.  It’s a nuisance to stop at all these stop signs, there’s five signs here, you could throw a rock and hit five different stop signs here.”

The issue of the stop signs went to the local Point Loma planning group, called the Peninsula Planning Committee.  Removing stop signs is illegal, but City policy allows for such signs if the local planning group approves them and they also get the okay from a council member.

And in January, the Peninsula Community Planning Group voted in favor of the stop sign.  Faulconer also gave his approval.

Yet those local residents who oppose the stop signs claim that the Councilman and the Point Loma planners were ignorant of important points.  They claim that a petition that was circulated around and then presented to authorities with a hundred signatures actually included less than 50 locals – with most not living in the area.   They also allege that Faulconer’s office and the planners didn’t have the correct info on who actually installed the signs.

The signers, according to Farnsworth, “… were from Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Chula Vista, and that got my interest,” he said.

Faulconer responded this week and stated that his office has asked the Peninsula Planning Committee to look at the issue again in May. His office made this statement:

“The District 2 office only recently became aware of deficiencies in the stop sign petition that could cause some to question whether enough neighbors had been included in the decision making process. That is one of the reasons our office is calling for the Peninsula Community Planning Board to hold a new hearing to ensure all neighbors can have a voice on this quality of life issue.”

Sources of story: U-T San Diego and 7San Diego

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Thatwood B. Telling April 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

“More safer”? Really?

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avatar Robert Burns April 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Ingenious!

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avatar Janet Sanford April 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Um Van Thaxton is a woman.

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avatar Wireless Mike April 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm

For years, employees of the navy base have used these streets to go to and from work and avoid the traffic on Catalina. During rush hour, the traffic can be fast and furious through this peaceful, rustic neighborhood.

As a child, I had a lot of friends that lived in that neighborhood. Those narrow streets were dangerous for pedestrians and children back then.

I was passed in my car once on Silver Gate near Warner Street by a woman in a gold Chevy sedan with NOSC stickers. She was driving like a maniac on this narrow neighborhood street with blind driveways and no sidewalks.

Speed bumps were placed on Albion Street between Ullman and Talbot Streets. If the stop signs don’t work, perhaps speed bumps at Albion and Jennings Streets and at Jennings and Silver Gate would slow down some of the more aggressive commuters.

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avatar gailpowell April 18, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Re: Wireless Mike: Point Lomans have been complaining about the unsafe driving of these military employees for years. You would think that the commanding officers at these bases on the peninsula would try to get through to the scofflaws the importance of being good neighbors. I understand the frustration of these residents who have to endure this Monday thru Friday.

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avatar John April 24, 2013 at 5:11 pm

“Scofflaws” not being “good neighbors”? You mean like putting up unauthorized stop signs likely stolen from someone elses’ dangerous intersection?

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avatar John April 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I’m sure everyone on planet earth would like the streets in front of their homes to be safe for their children to run around and play on and not be run over should they carelessly dart out to chase an errant ball or want to play with the neighbor across the street.
I remember a time when you didn’t let the rugrats out the door until they learned streets are not a playground and you look both ways TWICE before crossing one.
To be blunt how many children live in the area is a very poor argument in a traffic safety issue. Streets are not playgrounds, and it’s pretty selfish to think they should be allowed to subvert well established city guidelines with rational and tangible parameters used to calculate needs for signage.
As this blog has also been discussing the problem of traffic on Sunset Cliffs, I can’t help but wonder how many people trying to make their block a serene isolated destination, blast through other people’s streets to get there every day.
Maybe a stop sign at every block of SSC, Ebers, Bacon and Cable to the end of the Point would be an appropriate reminder that “you ain’t special”.
Never mind that I sincerely doubt the chances that those two unauthorized signs were legitimately purchased before being installed. Gut feeling is that they’d be “borrowed” from an intersection in another part of town, creating an enormous hazard if it weren’t promptly replaced.
If I’m wrong the proponents of said “special safety zone” can pony up a receipt from their purchase.

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