(Update posted Sept. 1)
As many of our Poway parents experienced, the City’s traffic control plan for this segment of the Espola Road Project did not work as planned and there were significant traffic delays the first week of school and at the beginning of this past week.
The City tried several approaches to address the issue and ultimately determined that having a deputy direct traffic 6:45 to 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and preventing left turns on Del Poniente during this time period was the most effective solution. Based on field observations and responses from residents on the road during this time, traffic has been flowing better since this decision was made.
We are aware that in addition to families driving to school and utilizing PUSD bus service, we have many students who rely on Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) bus service to get to school. Because these buses were impacted as well, MTS staff visited Poway at the beginning of this past week to observe arrival times. MTS also told us that they can analyze arrival times remotely through GPS technology on their buses.
On Friday, Aug. 31, staff from the City Manager’s Office spoke to the director of planning at MTS. The director was unaware that since their onsite observations the City had assigned a deputy to direct traffic during the peak morning school commute.
Prior to scheduling an onsite meeting with MTS and city staff to discuss possible route changes, he wanted the opportunity to review their GPS data beginning Wednesday, when the deputy was put in place for traffic control. If there are ongoing issues with the arrival times, options for changes to routes and/or times will be discussed with city staff and MTS staff.
MTS has a regional board of directors and annually Poway’s Mayor designates a City Councilmember to represent the City’s interests on the MTS Board. Deputy Mayor John Mullin is the City’s current representative to the MTS Board. As such, if citizens have concerns with MTS service in Poway, it is appropriate for them to reach out to Deputy Mayor Mullin. He may be reached at email@example.com or (858) 668-4523.
(Update posted Aug. 29)
To address ongoing issues with the flow of traffic on Espola, beginning Wed, Aug. 29 a Sheriff’s deputy will be assigned to direct traffic at the Espola Road/Del Poniente intersection on school days between 6:45 and 7:30 a.m. The deputy will not be monitoring traffic and step in as needed, he or she will be actively directing traffic each morning during this time period.
Left turns on to Del Poniente/High Valley will be prohibited while the deputy is directing traffic to help improve both the north and southbound flow of traffic. The deputy will be stationed there while the intersection is narrowed for ongoing work on the Espola Road Safety Improvements project. While the deputy is directing traffic, we suggest that motorists heading northbound turn right onto High Valley and make a U-turn. Motorists heading southbound should turn right on Del Poniente and make a U-turn. The deputy will stop north and southbound traffic on Espola Road when there are cars queued up.
As Poway is a small city, we do have limited personnel at our Sheriff’s station and there are times the deputy assigned may be working on an active investigation elsewhere and not able to be on site.
The City had previously hoped to be able to improve the flow of traffic through adjustments to signal timing and limited use of deputies to direct traffic. However, at this point, it’s been determined that having a deputy direct traffic daily during this peak time and limiting left turns during that same time period will be the most effective way to improve traffic flow.
We appreciate the patience parents and residents have shown as we've worked to find the best solution.
The Espola Road Safety Improvements project has been in the planning stages for many years and is a coordinated effort between the City of Poway (to create a safe path) and SDG&E (to underground the utilities along that stretch of road). Traffic in the area has long been an issue during peak school commute times. It is our hope that when the project is finished it will provide a safe path for students to bike or walk to/from school and provide a measure of traffic relief. In order to get to that point, this stretch of road will be an active construction zone for up to 18 months. Some phases of the project will have little impact on traffic and some phases will have a greater impact.
For more information about the Espola Road Safety Improvements project, visit www.poway.org/espolaroad.