City’s Decision to Install “No Turn on Red” Signs at Voltaire and Catalina Is Flawed – Signs Should Come Down

by on March 31, 2014 · 29 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

OB Voltaire at FamosaEditor: In January our Judi Curry warned readers that the City was no longer allowing right turns on red at the intersection of Voltaire Street and Catalina Boulevard. Her post attracted a lot of attention and many comments.  Geoff Page – a former member of the Peninsula Community Planning Board – vowed to get to the bottom of it.  So, here is his the result of his research and analysis.

‘No Right Turn On Red’ Signs at Busy Intersection Should Be Removed

 By Geoff Page / Special to the OB Rag

It has taken longer than I hoped but I do have the story about the No Right Turn On Red sign installed at Catalina/Famosa and Voltaire last September.

The road to this information was much longer than it should have been, considering the subject matter, and it required patience and aggressive persistence. The shame of it is that this isn’t a scandalous expose; this is information about placement of traffic signs. The signs are on southbound Famosa at Voltaire. Famosa becomes Catalina once you cross Voltaire. The turn restriction is from southbound Famosa to westbound Voltaire.

I made contact with the city – then had to fill out a form and eventually I was sent some documents. It appears this began with an August 2, 2013, email request from an organization called the District 2 Bike/Ped Advisory Committee. I later learned this is a community cycling advocacy group, not actually a part of city government as the name indicated to me. The request was for No Right Turn signs on all four corners, the motivation for the request being enhanced safety for cyclists. The copy of the email was redacted, the name and email of the sign requester and a large block of cc: addresses was blocked out.

No turn on red signThe next document was an August 19 email back to the sign requester from a city assistant traffic engineer reporting what had been done since the August 2 request. I can say what had been done in just two weeks was kind of odd to me for this City because quite a bit had been done. The engineer had already made a site visit, evaluated the intersection for sight distance, checked the accident history, and issued a work order to place the signs, the ones that are there now. The email from the city explained that the other three corners did not warrant signs. The work order to place the signs went out on September 4 and they were placed on September 10. This was record time for the city.

This is where I began asking questions and things got a little sticky.

My first question was about the redacted documents they sent me. The response was that the city did not reveal the names of private individuals in these kinds of matters. I disagreed – and we had some back and forth as I pressed them for written authority to withhold the information. One person finally said they were checking with the City Attorney when another person gave me the unredacted information. I have no interest in mentioning the name of the person who requested the signs; I just wanted to make sure the city gave me everything a private citizen is entitled to have. Never take no for an answer when dealing with the city. I believe the sign request was made with good intentions so whoever requested the signs does not need to be named here.

I then began to question what the city had done and wound up in another series of emails with the city traffic engineers.

One of the documents the city sent me titled “Traffic Request” was the document the traffic engineer filled out the two days she visited the intersection, August 13 and 14. The engineer noted checking sight distances, reviewing accident reports for the intersection and finding none involving right hand turn violations for the last three years, ordering signs to be placed, and emailing the sign requester.

So two things caught my eye, the first was the lack of accidents for at least the last three years involving right turns at this spot.

The second thing that caught my attention was the speed with which a decision was made to place a sign at an intersection that has operated quite well without a No Turn On Red sign for at least the 27 years I’ve lived in the area. And, the decision to place a sign that definitely affects traffic flow seemed to be made with no serious study.

I asked the city engineer if they had conducted a traffic flow analysis to see what effect such a sign would have on traffic. We went back and forth on this because they did not seem to want to admit that they did nothing more than those two site visits and some accident research.

For some background, several years ago, I spent a considerable amount of time at this intersection taking photographs during the morning rush, at noon, when school let out, and during the evening rush. I was on the Peninsula Community Planning Board and we were attempting to stop a proposed development project where Coconut Pete’s and the old Domino’s Pizza building sits.

I also read what was called a “traffic report” by the applicant but the authors stated, “This letter report has been prepared, in lieu of a forma traffic impact study.” The letter report used the City’s traffic records current at the time instead of taking new counts. But, the existing information was very interesting. According to the document Catalina Blvd from “Voltaire to Nimitz” carried 21,060 cars per day in 2002 but the road has a design capacity of only 10,000 cars per day. Catalina changes to Famosa either at the intersection or somewhere a bit north of the intersection; the report did not make this clear.

There is a street grading system for what is called “Level of Service” (LOS). In one traffic letter report table titled “Peak Intersection Conditions,” Whittier at Famosa in the morning received an “E,” Voltaire at Catalina in the evening received a “D,” and Wittier at Famosa in the evening received and “E & D.” The letter report predicted these three streets would all go to an “F” rating if the project we were opposing was built. A second table titled “Daily Roadway Segment Conditions,” “Catalina South of Voltaire” and “Catalina/Famosa” had “F” ratings before the project was built.

This was eight years ago with information that is now 12 years old. How could a professional traffic engineer decide to plop a sign that affects the flow of traffic on a street this badly rated, an intersection that has operated safely without this sign for a very long time, without performing any kind of study?

I pointed this information out to the city and asked them, several times, if they had done a traffic study and they finally said no. Here is the last message I received:

As we have previously stated this turn restriction was required due to a traffic safety issue. A request came to our office to evaluate for “No Turn on Red” restrictions for all directions, however our evaluation determined that only the southbound movement had a sight visibility issue.

Therefore, the NTOR restriction was placed for the s/b right turns only. Although we may also evaluate the traffic flow impact, in this case the restriction was due to a safety related issue, which in this case makes the analysis of traffic flow irrelevant.

No traffic counts were ordered for this investigation before or after our analysis.

We consider this matter closed pertaining to the NTOR issue.

I have to say that I do get a trifle irritated when people who are supposed to be working for me, a citizen of the City of San Diego, decide they are not going to cooperate any longer. But, it is not an unusual response when someone has been backed into a corner.

The city threw this sign up too quickly without an adequate investigation as to how it would impact traffic. The city is now saying that an email from a private citizen, who is not a traffic engineer, alerted the people in the city who are entrusted with maintaining and caring for our streets, that one of the oldest and busiest intersections in Pt. Loma has a safety problem? Words escape me.

The city’s decision that a traffic flow analysis is irrelevant defies understanding. There are two major flaws in what the city has done.

The first flaw is to assume the only solution to the sight line problem is to install a No Right Turn sign. If there truly is a sight line problem, it could be due to cars parked on the north side of westbound Voltaire.

The second flaw is that this sign does not allow traffic to turn right on west bound Volatire from Famosa while cars are turning north on Famosa from eastbound Voltaire. This makes no sense.

So what to do?

I did write back and demand that they remove the sign and carry out a proper traffic study. I also said that they certainly need to, at the very least, modify the signal so that when cars are turning north on Famosa from eastbound Voltaire, the cars wanting to turn west on Voltaire from northbound Famosa can turn. That the city made no provision for this is an illustration of how little thought went into placing the sign. I have had no response so I will be pursuing this more formally.

If you want to help out, send an e-mail or call one or both of these people and tell them they need to remove the signs, perform an adequate traffic study, then make a recommendation based on facts. And if the study warrants a sign, modify the signal to allow turns on westbound Voltaire when eastbound Voltaire is turning north:

Mariana Sadek – Assistant Engineer – Traffic – 619-533-3002 – msadek@sandiego.gov

 Fred Goossens – Sadek’s Supervisor – fgoossens@sandiego.gov

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar nostalgic March 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I recall there were also stop sign issues in the wooded area of Pt. Loma that were changed when a few people asked for them and everybody else hated them, although I don’t remember the details. There should be a better way – an information period to the Local Planning Boards for all street signage changes.

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avatar Geoff Page March 31, 2014 at 2:38 pm

That sign placement, at least, did have a public airing at the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB). The signs were controversial, I agree, but there was an open discussion. The No Right Turn On Red was not discussed publicly. I believe it is very possible that someone higher up in city government was responsible for the quick action on the No Right Turn On Red sign, probably someone sympathetic to the cyclers. The shame is that the cycling group really wanted a sign on the opposite side of Famosa to limit right turns north on Famosa from westbound Voltaire, where it is now does nothing for the bikers.

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avatar Jamie March 31, 2014 at 4:24 pm

I just perused your piece..as I am at work. I live there…Lots of motorcycle cops staking out the turn at 7/11. Revenue baby, revenue.

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avatar OB Dude March 31, 2014 at 4:49 pm

This must have taken alot of time and effort….thank you for this information.

Perfect one for Turko to take on and air on TV so other taxpayers are aware of what the city does or does not do. The city is suppose to be more transparent and withholding any information should result in disciplinary actions to employees that take it upon themselves to decide what to release and black out.

How did the requestor have so much pull with the city? Is this person on the PCPB or did the board endorse this action?

If the city wants to make Voltaire safer they need to slow the traffic down on this street. Maybe traffic circles like Bird Rock which would encourage people to use Nimitz as their speedway.

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avatar da john March 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Lets make it harder to drive around in a car, not easier.

Geoff we already all know you want them to build a nice gas station at that construction site so you can fill up your hummer.

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 8:32 am

da john,

It already is harder to drive around in a car, which is why I ride a motorcycle.

Why don’t you do everyone a favor and resist that urge to hit the keys until you actually have something to contribute to the discussion?

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avatar da john April 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Sorry Geoff, I didn’t know you were the comment police for this website.

I’m just really bummed that the rag, which claims to be “news and commentary from a distinctively progressive and grassroots perspective,” would be continuously publishing your suburban car culture op-eds.

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Da John, what made you think I was policing the whole website? My comments are only germane to this piece and the comments on it.

How about you giving us all a specific example of my “car culture op-eds?” I’d like to see one myself.

Grassroots is exactly what this is all about, I think you may have missed the point.

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avatar da john April 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Geoff, this, and “a reader’s rant on density” were both pro-car OPINION pieces. Not news.

Grassroots, maybe. Some people would probably be inclined to call the Tea Party grassroots as well.

Taking a pro bike group to task for having enough pull to get a NTOR sign put up is about as far from progressive as I can possibly imagine.

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm

da john

I can’t imagine what lens you view the world through by reading your comments. My thing on density was an argument for less density, which translates to fewer cars. How that was pro-car is a mystery to me. This piece is about the city’s too-rapid response to an issue without adequate investigation. There is nothing in here about being pro-car.

Finally, I have to say that it is really discouraging to read comments from people who have not paid close attention to what they are commenting on. Nowhere do I take a pro bike group to task in any of what I wrote. I said “I believe the sign request was made with good intentions…” If you can point out to the rest of us where I took the pro bike group to task, then do so. Read more carefully.

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avatar da john April 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Geoff, I view the world through the lens of someone that is going to live with the effects of global warming, brought on in no small part by our collective love of our cars. I thought that was a progressive view, maybe it’s not in California, my bad.

Take a visit to a real city, you know one with a real public transportation system, somewhere like NYC, Boston, or San Francisco. Those cities are all far denser than San Diego, but car ownership is far lower. Why? Because people take the train or trolley most places.

Pro low-density is pro-car, there really isn’t any argument. Think about it, if you lived down in OB, you could probably do a lot of your shopping on foot, it’s dense and there is a lot of varied services grouped close together. Try meeting a friend for a beer in Otay Ranch, probably going to require a trip in a car.

Finally, this whole piece is basically disagreeing with the “good intentions” of this bike group, and why you think the city’s implementation of said intentions is flawed. Maybe you failed at taking them to task, but it really looks like that’s what your goal was.

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Da john, your comment “maybe it’s not in California” and your references to older cities on the east coast make me think you may not understand how California, especially southern California, developed historically. There was a lot of land and the automobile was king, changing that will take many, many years. You can’t compare San Francisco to San Diego. San Francisco is 47 square miles and San Diego is 372. San Francisco’s density is second only to New York City at 17,620 people per square mile; San Diego is only 4,003 people per square mile. San Diego County is 4,000 square miles. San Francisco county is the same size as the city. That kind of density makes public transportation practical and necessary.

Shopping and having a beer on foot is one thing, but where are the jobs? Not within walking distance. Just making streets bike and pedestrian friendly won’t solve that, we have to co-exist.

You wrote: “Finally, this whole piece is basically disagreeing with the “good intentions” of this bike group.” I challenged you to point out where I said I am against this bike group and you didn’t do it. In fact, one of my goals in all this is to get the No Right Turn On Red placed on the correct corner because I understand their concern and it would have much less of an effect at that position. The bike group gained nothing with what was done.

You wrote: “Maybe you failed at taking them to task, but it really looks like that’s what your goal was.” If you meant the cyclists, your are entirely incorrect. If you meant the city, I haven’t failed yet, I’m not done.

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avatar da john April 1, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Geoff, I get how California was developed. The thing is that the status quo here is unsustainable. Period. Changing automobile is king era will never happen if even little matters like this get bogged down in debates like ours here.

As for Jobs, there are plenty downtown. the 923 bus will get you there in 40 mins, no changing buses. It’s definitely not as convenient as the instant gratification of driving your car down there in 10 mins, but without some shared sacrifices as a community, we are all doomed.

Leave the city alone already, you are burning through my tax money paying these people to stroke your ego over a non issue. Wait till the next green on your harley and let the rest of us try and make it a better society for everyone, not just those lucky enough to afford a car.

Oh P.S. I love your back and forth with “OB Rider” where you say “So, maybe cyclists become pedestrians at this particular bottleneck.” Talk about an entitled attitude.

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avatar Geoff Page April 2, 2014 at 8:29 am

Da John,
This piece had nothing to do with changing the automobile culture in California; it was about a problem with a traffic sign. Why you feel you need to turn this into a discussion about the evils of cars escapes me.

So there are jobs downtown? Would you care to provide the specifics on how to use public transportation to get to Miramar, El Cajon, Chula Vista, Encinitas…? We all should be pushing for more public transportation, believe it or not, I am for that but that is an entirely different discussion, it has nothing to do with this topic.

“Leave the city alone already?” You don’t know much about this city to have said such a thing. Had some other people we all know left the City of San Diego alone, our coastline would have been a wall of expensive condominiums. Ask Frank Gormlie to relate the battle of Ocean Beach and the marina and high rises they wanted to put there, the little jetty is all they managed because citizens did not leave the city alone.

And finally, what is wrong with cyclists having to stop at one intersection and walk across as pedestrians if they feel unsafe? How does that indicate any entitlement on my part, entitlement to what?

So far in your posts you have said I drive a hummer, that I write suburban car-culture op-eds, that I am entitled, not to mention similar comments when discussing the project on Catalina and Voltaire. Much like this subject, you pretend to know a lot about me and none of it is correct.

avatar Frank Gormlie April 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

This is a perfect example of citizen journalism. Thank you so much, Geoff.

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Thank you Frank, coming from you, that is a nice compliment.

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avatar Pete R April 1, 2014 at 10:30 am

“The city’s decision that a traffic flow analysis is irrelevant defies understanding.”

I’m not sure what’s so difficult to understand here. The city engineer explained it pretty clearly in the quoted email: The city has safety and engineering standards it must follow, and those standards take precedence over traffic flow. This is well accepted practice throughout the state and the nation.

In fact, most of these safety standards are imposed upon the city by either state (Caltrans) or national (AASHTO) regulatory bodies. We would need to consult the engineer to be sure, but I believe the specific standard that applies in this case (intersection sight distance) is actually a requirement of the Caltrans Highway Design Manual.

Therefore, even if a traffic analysis were performed, the fact that the intersection does not meet current safety standards would still take precedence. That’s all there is to it. Once a condition like this is brought to the city’s attention, the city has no choice but to comply – otherwise it faces liability (hence the quick turnaround).

“when people who are supposed to be working for me, a citizen of the City of San Diego, decide they are not going to cooperate any longer.”

Based on your account it sounds like they cooperated with you quite a bit, providing documentation and explaining exactly why they made their decision. You just didn’t like their decision. “Cooperate” doesn’t mean “do exactly what I want.”

This seems to me like a reasonable (and required) change that was made in the interest of street safety. Yes, it will impact traffic slightly during the peak periods. But it also brings the intersection up to current safety standards, protects the city from liability, and provides a safer and more hospitable environment for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Thank you,
Pete Ruscitti
Vice Chair, Ocean Beach Planning Board

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 11:12 am

Mr. Ruscitti,

Your make some good points. Perhaps if the city had offered a more detailed an explanation, I might have reacted differently. They offered no information along these lines at all. Safety may be the overriding factor but is simply placing these signs the only solution? I don’t think so. And, how does not allowing right turns when the traffic from eastbound Voltaire is turning north on Famosa enhance safety? There are other options.

As for the comment I made about the city employee deciding they had cooperated enough. I did not go into detail as to how long it took to get answers from them, how many repeated emails I had to send to get any answers, and how little information they offered, not to mention the completely wrong position they took that they had a legal right to redact public information. That was not a commentary on only one email message. I started working on this almost two months ago.

“This seems to me like a reasonable (and required) change that was made in the interest of street safety. Yes, it will impact traffic slightly during the peak periods. But it also brings the intersection up to current safety standards, protects the city from liability, and provides a safer and more hospitable environment for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

My first answer to this comment was that this does not bring this intersection up to current safety standards, the information I provided regarding the ratings of the streets and the intersection attests to that. Second, it will impact traffic more than slightly. Third, this will have no effect on bicyclists and pedestrians, it doesn’t address the cyclists concern about the intersection. Finally, how do you explain the lack of accidents involving right turns?

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avatar Pete R April 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Mr. Page,

Thank you for your reply. I will respond specifically to a few of your points below, but first I want to make it clear that there is really only ONE relevant issue here: The intersection did not comply with the safety standards that the city is required to follow in order to allow right turns on red. Period. Once made aware of a deficiency, the city simply cannot evade this requirement. Any other points you raise do not change this fact.

“is simply placing these signs the only solution? I don’t think so.”

I do think so. The requirements are pretty clear: If the sight distance at an intersection is below a certain threshold, no turns on red are allowed. (FYI, I believe the governing documents are the Caltrans Highway Design Manual and the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.)

“how does not allowing right turns when the traffic from eastbound Voltaire is turning north on Famosa enhance safety?”

I’m not an engineer, but I would think the concern is for the visibility of traffic heading westbound on Voltaire (as seen from southbound Famosa). But in a broader sense – are you really going to start questioning the validity of the safety standards that have been adopted by engineering bodies and governments across the state and nation? Are you an engineer, or otherwise qualified to make judgments on this? These standards are not arbitrary.

“this does not bring this intersection up to current safety standards, the information I provided regarding the ratings of the streets and the intersection attests to that.”

You are incorrect. Level of Service (LOS) is not a measure of safety, it is a measure of traffic flow. Safety standards are an entirely different matter. And, as has been said repeatedly, safety standards are required to take precedence over traffic flow.

“Finally, how do you explain the lack of accidents involving right turns?”

Again, this is irrelevant. We should consider ourselves lucky that no (reported) accidents have occurred here in the last three years. But a lack of accidents does not absolve the city from its responsibility to comply with state-mandated safety standards. You keep avoiding this essential fact – but it’s the only one that matters.

Thank you,
Pete Ruscitti
Vice Chair, Ocean Beach Planning Board

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Pete R,

You stated:

“The intersection did not comply with the safety standards that the city is required to follow in order to allow right turns on red.”

You seem more willing than I to accept whatever the city has to say with virtually no details. Having dealt with the city often enough, I know that they make mistakes and that they often do things for expediency. It is often up to the rest of us to force then to think a little more. I’m not suggesting the City evade anything but there may be other choices.

You think this was the only solution? Perhaps you should look at the intersection more. Some of what is obstructing the view to the east is cars parked on the north side of Voltaire.. Is it possible that prohibiting parking in a few spaces would accomplish the same thing? How far “unsafe” is the sight line? We have no idea because the information was not provided. I looked at the MUTCD and could not find specific requirements for this situation. Perhaps you could do that and enlighten us all.

I think you missed the point when you quoted this part of what I said previously:

“how does not allowing right turns when the traffic from eastbound Voltaire is turning north on Famosa enhance safety?”

The cars turning north on Famosa from eastbound Voltaire begin doing so with a controlled left turn only arrow. While that is in play, why couldn’t cars turn west on Voltaire as the westbound Voltaire traffic would be stopped at the light. This also makes me wonder how familiar you are with this intersection. And, no, I am not questioning safety standards and I am not an engineer. But, I do know that standards can be misinterpreted or misapplied, I’ve been in the construction industry a long time and specifications are misunderstood all the time. I learned long ago not to accept what a city inspector had to say immediately because they were proven wrong so many times.

Your comment about LOS is also not correct. When I stood on the corner, as I described, I witnessed frustrated drivers on all four approaches drive over the double yellow lines and drive down the wrong side of the street to reach the turn pockets because they could not wait for the light to turn to get there. Have you witnessed that? Over-taxed streets lead to driver frustration, which leads to unsafe driving.

The lack of accidents is not irrelevant. If the sight line is measured from behind the crosswalk, it is not good but moving forward a few feet opens up the sight line completely, that is why the accident record is as described. And what about the years prior. In my PowerPoint presentation, I have accident statistics from 2002 to 2004 and there are no recorded right turn accidents.

The essential fact, as you have characterized it, is that, if there is a real problem, an intersection this important deserved a more thorough study and investigation of all the possible solutions. This is not just any intersection. The matter did not get the scrutiny it should have. I’m not avoiding anything.

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avatar Pete R April 1, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Mr. Page,

It looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. But I did want to address two of your points before I depart:

1. “Is it possible that prohibiting parking in a few spaces would accomplish the same thing?”

I don’t believe so. I’m not an engineer and I didn’t perform any measurements, but to my eye it seems pretty clear that the building on the northeast corner of the intersection actually provides the visual obstruction. This is primarily because this northeast corner is not a right angle, but acute (smaller than 90 degrees), which hinders visibility down Voltaire. From the perspective of a driver stopped on Famosa, I believe the building actually appears in front of the parked cars. (The parked cars are farther back due to a red curb.)

You even admitted yourself that “if the sight line is measured from behind the crosswalk, it is not good.” Well, that’s where cars are legally required to stop, so that’s most likely where the sightline is measured from. Again, I’m not an engineer but I do know that there are well established standards for measuring all of these things. The city can’t just take the measurement from a different location than prescribed in order to get a more favorable result.

2. “Your comment about LOS is also not correct…. Over-taxed streets lead to driver frustration, which leads to unsafe driving.”

My comment about LOS is correct. As you have advised others on this same webpage, please educate yourself a little before you spout off. LOS is not a measure of safety, it is a measure of traffic flow. You are completely misusing LOS here to draw a third-order conclusion about safety that is tenuous at best. There are established standards for measuring all of these things (traffic, safety, etc.) but you are mixing them up and cherry-picking whatever suits your own purposes.

Now, I do agree that the city engineers could have been a little better at explaining all this to you. An inquiring citizen deserves a rational explanation for all public decisions, and based on our exchange today it appears that you were only given part of the information. On this issue we do agree.

Thank you,
Pete Ruscitti
Vice Chair, Ocean Beach Planning Board

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm

That’s fine, I never expect to sway everyone to my point of view.

Yes, cars are required to stop behind the crosswalk but there is nothing illegal about moving out across the markings before making a turn and that dramatically improves the sight line. I don’t know where they measure from either because the information was not forthcoming, although I intend to pursue it. Trying to figure it out using the MUTCD is very hard and I do have some experience in this area.

We will have to disagree on the LOS issue. When you have a street carrying a traffic load that is severely beyond its design capacity, there are consequences, as I described, safety consequences. This same issue causes people to run yellow and even red lights because they are tired of waiting in a long line of traffic and don’t want to wait through another light cycle. This also causes people to cut through adjacent parking lots in frustrations, which is also unsafe. I have no “purposes” in this, I investigated the situation and concluded that the city could have done a much better job.

You still have not acknowledged the stupidity of not allowing traffic to turn west on Voltaire from southbound Famosa when the traffic on eastbound Voltaire is turning north on Famosa under left turn arrow. This is a lost flow opportunity that makes no sense at all.

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avatar OB Rider April 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Thank you Peter for clarifying the facts. This signage is for the safety for all users of the road and that was the intention for the original request.
Safety on our local streets is extremely important for pedestrians, cyclists, and even vehicle traffic. As an advocate for active transportation this was a relatively small request to create a safer intersection for all the students and active commuters in the area. While I would support traffic circles along Voltaire, this is a much greater investment and will definitely take some time if ever pursued.
We must continue to create safer, more walkable and bikeable areas throughout the Peninsula, giving mobility choices for all users of the road. Walkable and Bikeable neighborhoods are also a great investment for our youth, our health, and our economy. I believe the majority of residents value “safety” over “level of service”. Be patient, the light will turn green and vehicles will proceed as usual. Or hop on a bike and reduce the number of vehicles along this corridor, which is the ultimate incentive for providing more bike and pedestrian infrastructure. Please help create and support safer streets for all.

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 3:13 pm

OB Rider

The request was not made for all users of the road, it was made specifically for cyclists. Perhaps you missed what I said previously. The person who requested the signs told me they really wanted the No Right Turn On Red on the other corner of Famosa to restrict turning northbound on Famosa from westbound Voltaire. This is where the cyclists have a problem. Where the signs are now does not solve the cyclist’s problem. Creating more “walkable and bikeable” areas in the Peninsula may be an admirable goal but it is difficult in an area as restricted as Pt. Loma. This is a key intersection, there is no other way for cyclists to go from east to west without a big detour. So, maybe cyclists become pedestrians at this particular bottleneck. Most of the people who use this intersection can’t just hop on a bike to get where they need to be.

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avatar OB Rider April 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I have offered and encouraged others to join me for a commute anywhere. Let me escort you to your destination, becoming multi-modal if distance is too far. Enjoy your commute! Enjoy the sunshine! And enjoy the ride!

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avatar Geoff Page April 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

It sounds very pleasant but it’s not always practical. I can’t walk into work all sweaty from a bike ride. For other people, it’s just too far.

Would you, by any chance, be the person who asked for the signs in the first place? This theme sounds very familiar.

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avatar Steve April 2, 2014 at 10:07 am

I’ve driven through this intersection multiple times with the new “No Right Turn” sign in place and honestly, I don’t see the big deal over it. A couple times I was the third or fourth car in line, a few times I was the first one lined up at the traffic light. And each and every time, the flow of traffic was not getting messed up because of the new sign. Why? I believe it’s because that lane that you can’t turn right on, also lets the traffic go straight onto Catalina. If you got multiple cars at the light going straight onto Catalina, you wouldn’t be able to turn right onto Voltaire even if that sign wasn’t there anyway.

So you can’t turn on a red light and you have to WAIT a couple minutes (like 1-3 minutes?) for the light to turn green. Big freakin deal!

After reading this rant of an article, it just seems to me that you are just a very impatient person and if the No Right Turn sign is really bothering you that much, why not just do better time management and planning to allow yourself a few extra minutes when passing through that intersection?

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avatar Geoff Page April 2, 2014 at 11:09 am

If you read the statistics I provided, you would see the road needs all the help it can get. Yes, if someone at the light is going straight, no one can turn right anyway. But, many times there are several cars lined up who all want to turn right. Anything that would alleviate the backup on Famosa in any way would help.

I’m getting more than a little tired of how quickly some posters here think they can judge me personally because of this article and of how little attention is paid to what was written before jumping in with commentary. My home is two blocks from this intersection but I don’t use this intersection coming to and from work; I come in off West Pt. Loma and take back streets to my house to avoid Catalina and Voltaire. Just because I wrote something about what I see as a poor job by the city doesn’t mean it is all about me. This affects lots of people. And this wasn’t a “rant.” If you pay attention, the Rag labels a rant a rant when it is a rant.

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avatar Debra April 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I personally think that some CROSS WALKS on Voltaire, would serve more people and provide more safety, more so, than any “traffic circles” or the new “no right turn on red” sign. Especially considering the amount of pedestrians and bus stops, on that street.

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