Point Loma Group Looks Into Mess at Nimitz and Rosecrans

by on September 23, 2021 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

Our friends at the Point Loma Association, urged on by complaints from local residents about two left-turn lanes from northbound Rosecrans into a single lane on westbound Nimitz, looked into the matter and wrote to the City of San Diego Traffic Department.

Here’s the gist of their letter:

Two years ago, over many months, the City modified the intersection of Nimitz and Rosecrans to accommodate double left-turn lanes NW and SE on Nimitz. Apparently it was mandated by the NTC-to-Liberty Station transformation many years earlier.

Once an additional turn lane was added to expedite traffic, we had two vehicle lanes and one bike lane NW on Nimitz to the freeway.

Then, a few months ago, new street markings narrowed Nimitz to one traffic lane immediately NW of Rosecrans.

Can you explain why? We’re guessing it has something to do with bicycles.

But a snapshot of frustrated motorists jockeying for pole position indicates the new narrowing puts drivers and pedalers in peril.

A day later, they received the following from the Deputy Director, City of San Diego, Transportation Department:

Good morning,

The recently-installed northbound striping on Nimitz Boulevard approaching the signalized intersection at Evergreen Street is for the purpose of traffic calming and reflects the southbound striping on Nimitz Boulevard approaching the same intersection.

Striping in both directions reduces the number of through lanes from two to one for the purpose of slowing and calming traffic. There has been a history of speed-related collisions in both directions at this location, and these changes are expected to improve safety in this area.”

PLA editors conceded: “So we guessed wrong about bicycles.”

Writers for the PLA newsletter then commented:

The trigger for the restriping has nothing to do with the Rosecrans-to-Nimitz turn lanes. It’s all about Nimitz at Evergreen, the intersection two blocks up.

No question it is a dangerous one – especially southbound!

Vehicles have crashed into this house multiple times in recent years. A lookie-loo echoed that to a TV crew.

“Neighbors from across the street and down there, they came and they were like, ‘Yeah, this house gets ran into a lot.’”

We could find no reports of accidents northbound at Evergreen. Maybe the Traffic Division likes the symmetry of narrowing both approaches to an intersection.

Of course we responded to the City’s response:

Thanks for the explanation. We understand the theory. But we’re afraid it frustrates drivers who cut through striping to pass on the right rather than politely merging. It also seems to be at odds with the idea of a double turn lane from Rosecrans. We thought that was to improve traffic flow and eliminate congestion.
Drivers recently observed turning onto Nimitz toward Evergreen now either join a long line in the far left lane, knowing that there’s a merge ahead, or – the aggressive ones – line up in the other lane and race around the corner to beat the merge.
Will the City do follow-up on “calming” effectiveness, accidents, etc.?

That’s it for now.

You can contact the Pt Loma Association right here, go ahead and sign up for their newsletter.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete R September 24, 2021 at 2:17 pm

I’ve noticed it has effectively calmed (slowed) traffic and made the sharp curve from Nimitz/Evergreen much less dangerous. Thanks to the City of SD for doing this. Safer, slower streets are worth it.


Geoff Page September 24, 2021 at 2:56 pm

The only problem at this intersection was the house that had been hit several times, it was not the traffic. This was used as an excuse to make modifications for cyclists.

Having done a lot of road work in my time, all I see is the city creating a huge maintenance nightmare with all the cycling green pavement and sharrows everywhere. Now that it is all down, it must be kept up. An attorney can, and will, make a case about a messed up pavement marking one day if it is all let go to seed.


Greg September 24, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Who’s to say the house doesn’t share some of the fault for these accidents?


Will September 25, 2021 at 3:32 pm

I rode a bike from discount tire to chipotle to my house near West Point Loma and Nimitz recently. I generally only ride around OB occassionally, but was up for execise and down a vehicle for a few hours.

Midway was truly terrifying. No shoulders exist on that road. Riding back from chipotle on sports arena had me feeling very out of place in a sea of cars. Past midway on West Point Loma the marked bike lane was a welcome change even if it was short lived. A bus was also blocking it which would have been extremely dangerous to pass so I vame to a complete stop and waited as traffic cropped up and jammed around me.

My bike ride really highlighted the tremendous focus our community has on automobiles in a place that perhaps the most pleasant climate on earth. The whole ride was mostly flat too.

The city will have to maintain the bike infrastructure in the same way it maintains infrastructure for auto traffic, water, and sanitation. I bet that left turn onto Nimitz became dramtically safer for bicyclists. San Diego came of age in an era of civil planning based around autos. The way roads were overbuilt is an opportunity to make them better for healthier methods of transit that are less polluting.


Debbie September 30, 2021 at 9:00 pm

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