San Clemente pushed past another obstacle to Complete Streets implementation last night when City Council voted 3:2 to repave and restripe Vaquero, a 56′ wide connector currently featuring a 12′ painted median residents had insisted provided a necessary refuge from speeding traffic which plagues their neighborhood.
The median was installed at resident pleading by a previous traffic engineer; rather than slow down speeding traffic it pushed motorists toward the right hand edge where a substandard bike lane forced cyclists into the travel lane at every parked car.
The median was a “warm blanket” for residents who emotionally defended it at the meeting. Councilmen Chris Hamm and Jim Evert led the majority toward sanity with Mayor Tim Brown swinging the vote. We’ve more work to do convincing citizens and electeds that 99% motorist mode share does NOT mean 99% of the consideration must go to cars. That ain’t Complete Streets.
Elimination of the median– which served primarily as a convenient place for residents to turn left into their driveways– allows for buffered bike lanes, narrowed travel lanes, and still allows plenty of on-street parking neighbors wanted. Left turn pockets at critical intersections will remain in a final plan.