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County supervisors to consider ordinance that would make speed limit consistent on VC road

Old Castle Road in Valley. Photos by David Zumaya.

Old Castle Road in Valley. Photos by David Zumaya.

Currently the speed limit on Old Castle Road is 50 mph for the 0.64- mile segment from Champagne Boule­vard to 3,400 feet east of Champagne Boulevard and 45 mph for the 0.6-mile portion from 3,400 feet east of Cham­pagne Boulevard to 550 feet east of Mile Post 6. If the San Diego Coun­ty Board of Supervisors ratifies the October 23 recommendations of the county’s Traffic Advisory Committee, the speed limit will be 45 mph for the entire portion of the road.

The county supervisors are sched­uled to consider a first reading and adoption of the ordinance for a con­sistent speed limit on January 6, 2016. If the Board of Supervisors approves the introduction and first reading that day the second reading and adoption would likely take place January 27 and the new speed limit would take effect February 26.

The 45 mph speed limit for both segments would be certified for radar enforcement; the 45 mph speed limit on the eastern segment is currently certified for radar while the 50 mph speed limit for the western segment does not have radar certification.

In order for a speed limit to be enforceable by radar, a speed sur­vey must show that the speed limit is within an adjacent 5 mph increment to the 85th percentile speed. Periodic recertification, including a supporting speed survey, is required for continued radar enforcement and the county’s Department of Public Works or a DPW contractor typically conducts speed surveys every seven years.

The speed limit may be rounded ei­ther up or down from the 85th percen­tile speed. The speed limit may also be rounded down an additional 5 mph if findings are made that the road has conditions which would not be appar­ent to a motorist unfamiliar with the road.

In the case of the October 23 unan­imous TAC recommendation, the findings invoked the advantage of a consistent speed limit throughout the entire 1.24-mile segment. When the speed limit is next considered for re­certification the two portions reviewed October 23 will be considered as a sin­gle segment, although speed surveys will likely be taken at both historical locations.

Old Castle Road is a two-lane road­way with both median striping and edge striping on both sides. It varies in width between 26 and 41 feet and is classified as a Light Collector in the mobility element of the county’s gen­eral plan. The portion from 3,400 feet east of Champagne Boulevard to 550 feet east of Mile Post 6 includes a traf­fic calming area identified by flashing yellow beacons and special identify­ing signs.

A July 2015 traffic survey taken 150 feet east of Costalota Road indi­cated a two-day average daily volume of 7,130 vehicles. The previous traffic survey on Old Castle Road was taken in May 2004 east of Old Castle Place and resulted in an average daily vol­ume of 8,100 vehicles.

In 2008, both the speed survey 300 feet east of Indian Hill Place and the speed survey 400 feet west of Costa­lota Road produced an 85th percentile speed of 44.0 mph with 66.0 percent of the drivers traveling within a 10 mph pace of 36-45 mph. On November 7, 2014, National Data and Surveying Services conducted a speed survey 400 feet west of Costalota Road be­tween 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The 424 vehicles in that survey had an 85th percentile speed of 53.0 mph with 72.0 percent of motorists travel­ing within a 44-53 mph pace. On Oc­tober 7, 2015, TAC staff member Tri­cia Horsman conducted a speed survey 300 feet east of Indian Hill Place be­tween 10:10 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.; that survey included 131 vehicles with an 85th percentile of 50.9 mph and 75.0 percent of drivers within a 42-51 mph pace. The 50th percentile in the 2014 speed survey 400 feet west of Costalo­ta Road was 47 mph while the median for the 2015 speed survey 300 feet east of Indian Hill Place was 46.6 mph.

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