Traffic problems plague Carmel Valley neighborhood

Commuters using streets in Pacific Highlands Ranch

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Commuters trying to avoid traffic along the 56 in Carmel Valley are using side streets, worrying people who live in the Pacific Highlands Ranch neighborhood.

"It's the worst between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning," says longtime resident Randy M. She lives in the Portico West part of the development and says she sees cars going 50-60 miles an hour down her block every day.

"Sometimes, if I'm walking my dog, they'll almost run me over," she says. "So I have to be really careful."

The traffic is coming from State Route 56. When that backs up, people will use Carmel Valley Road as an alternative. But that gets jammed as well, leading some drivers to turn into the neighborhood and use side streets and alleys.

Making traffic worse, a half dozen schools are in the area (see map above) and all of them start between 8 and 8:40 am.

"It's a nightmare," says Naz Nahani, who drives her daughter to Pacific Trails Middle School every morning.

"When you reach this area, you're pretty much at a stand still," she says.

The Carmel Valley Planning Board has held a pair of meetings about the issue. Chairman Frisco White says they're trying to find a solution.

"If the streets are private, we may look into blocking them from traffic during the morning," he says. They've also looked into placing no turn signs on Carmel Valley Road to discourage drivers from entering the neighborhood.

Another option that White has heard would be to ask the school districts to further stagger the start times, so the traffic will be spread out over a longer period of the morning.

White says the problem may get worse before it gets better, as hundreds of new apartments and homes are being built in the area.

Nahani thinks the city should add more lanes to SR-56 and to Carmel Valley Road.

"We're planning to move closer to the school because of this," she says.

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