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.
As a public safety message reminder from yesterday’s OC Register regarding road closures in the south county:
The following roads and trails will be closed to the public between the hours of 06:00 thru 13:00:
- San Juan Creek Bike Trail – closed between Doheny State Beach and Calle Arroyo
- La Novia Avenue – closed between San Juan Creek Road and Calle Arroyo
Also being closed from 06:30 to 09:30 is: Northbound La Pata Avenue
Ortega Highway, traffic will be reduced to one lane between Avenida Siega and Antonio Parkway from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The Eastbound Ortega Highway from Antonio Parkway to El Cariso Village will be closed from 06:30 to 12:30.
Not mentioned from the Register is that there was/is signage through Doheny Beach and Campground as well as the protected bike lane from Beach to Capistrano indicating that that they also will be closed until 16:00.
If you’re trying to get some miles in for the OC Gran Fondo, ride elsewhere, or take PCH straight through Dana Point and into San Clemente. Marguerite to Avery to Camino Capistrano to Del Obispo will get you there from the inland county, or you could take Marguerite all the way to Ortega to work your way through traffic to Del Obispo.
If you go out on PCH the problem will be on the return if the protected area is still closed because your access to Harbor is cutoff unless you take the sidewalk from Palisades / Beach, or ride the on ramp (watch for traffic coming from the right at the gore point) back onto PCH. Or, you could have a real workout and take a left at the dreaded Stonehill and take it through the rollies to Niguel, or take the easy way by turning left on Del Obispo (which turns into Harbor after crossing PCH) so you have the option of climbing PCH, Golden Lantern, or for extra bonus points, Cove.
We earlier looked at both websites for the City of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano for guidance regarding closures and found nothing posted at the time. We are concerned because the current closures differ materially from the “strongly discourage” language used previously as can be seen in our original post about the event here. Each City referred our inquiry to the promoter, who assures us that:
“We have worked diligently with all agencies & cities to obtain permits for the use of trails, streets and a highway and to provide comprehensive advanced notification to the residents of Dana Point & San Juan Capistrano (and beyond).”
..so maybe we’re getting worked up over nothing because we didn’t get the memo.
Plan your routes carefully – it looks like a warm weekend and all the popular and safe southern routes are out of play this Sunday.
Saturday be aware of car parking and extra traffic at Trestles for the Surfing Championship.
Finally, the injured rider from last Thursday the 13th was registered to be in Sunday’s Tri, We’ve asked that her entrance fee be refunded from the promoter. We’ll let you know his response when we receive it.
Or perhaps that should be “Changing Signs”!
In San Clemente, Westbound Pico has a dedicated Northbound freeway lane with a free right turn onto the ramp. Bicyclists cannot afford to be trapped by motorists who, in their heads, are already on the freeway as they approach the ramp. Cyclists must either 1.) claim that whole freeway lane to prevent in-lane passing, or better, 2.) move left into the through lane. In either case, controlling the lane should be easier– and more cyclists will be encouraged to do so— with the support of these signs.
Gone is the yellow cautionary “STR” and in is the informative black and white sign letting users of the roadway know that cyclists may take the lane. Black on white signs are more than “informative”; their messages refer to specific CVC sections, which in this case, is CVC 21202 (a) subsection 3.
Full text (with our emphasis):
Operation on Roadway
CVC 21202. (a) “Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. ”
This popular route with local cyclists will gain more popularity when La Pata is completed allowing cyclists a direct route to the soon to be created Rancho Mission Viejo developments and the challenge of Antonio into Ladera Ranch and Rancho Santa Margarita.
While the end result looks like a “no-brainer weekend project”, it took 4 years of dedicated advocating for the resulting signage change to take place.
The Orange County Bicycle Coalition recognizes and wishes to thank the volunteers who took their time to do traffic counts, Barry and Brenda of PEDal for organizing the volunteers, taking and tabulating the counts, and providing lobbying support, and everyone who lobbied to get this done. Special thanks to San Clemente’s new Traffic Engineer, Tom Frank, and the City of San Clemente for their forward looking vision that roads are for people.
Next up; the review, comment, and engagement of the City’s (draft) Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan which we told you about here.
Time is running out, so be sure to get your comments in, and if possible, attend review meetings to let your voice be heard.