PB planners discuss approved Foothill and Loring roundabout
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 05/29/20 - 08:10 AM | 977 views | 3 3 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pacific Beach Planning Group got an update in May from City engineers on the recently approved roundabout at Foothill Boulevard and Loring Street.

The City advisory group also vetted diagrams of the oval-shaped roundabout and raised splitter islands there, along with discussing drainage improvements at that intersection.

Project manager Ronak Rekani, and senior engineer Daniel Nutter, unveiled the City’s design phase for the project, now about 60% complete. They also discussed its construction schedule, including significant drainage improvements. Roundabout construction is expected to begin this fall and to be completed by the end of fall 2022 at an estimated cost of $1.8 million. The project is currently only funded through the design phase.

“We’re reviewing free-flowing, fast-moving traffic through Foothills Boulevard along Loring Steet now controlled by stop signs and made worse by the incline of the street,” said Rekani noting, “Also, there are no crosswalks there making it a little difficult for pedestrians to navigate.”

Besides crosswalks, Rekani said important elements of the new roundabout include raised islands, pedestrian passageways and curb extensions, ramps, and crosswalks.

“The raised islands with passageways will guide traffic and enhance the channelization of vehicles through the intersection,” said Rekani. “Improvements will include street resurfacing, concrete replacement, and installation of pedestrian crosswalks. Storm drainage improvements include 640 feet of storm drain pipeline, along with cobble within the curb extension to allow runoff to avoid flooding. That includes a biofiltration unit upstream on Loring Street.”

Tom Coat, a Foothill resident who’s lobbied for years to get the Foothill/Loring roundabout approved, wrote to PBPG that he’s “extremely appreciative” that planner and other civic groups “all have recognized that making Foothill Boulevard safer is a critical project.” He added what they’re doing “can make improvements that likely will save lives.”

Added Coat, “The overall design of the roundabout will be an important step in significantly slowing traffic speeds on Foothill Boulevard. The curbing extensions, along with the raised splitter islands, will signal to drivers that they must slow down and these improvements will slow traffic. Additionally, we critically need lighted crosswalks at several locations along Foothill Boulevard. If one of these cannot be located at the Foothill/Loring roundabout, then at least a couple should be located nearby to help pedestrians.” 

But not everyone was pleased by the concept and design of the new roundabout.

Judith Wesling, who lives in the 4900 block of Foothill south of Foothill/Loring, was unconvinced the oval-shaped roundabout will slow traffic as intended.

“At Loring Street, I see cars just whipping into Foothill Boulevard,” Wesling said. “This is not a standard roundabout design. I don’t see any slowing of traffic from Loring Street at all.”

Adding Wesling, “We (neighbors) cannot back out of our driveways because of the continuous and fast stream of cars. You have to wait for 20 cars at least for a break. We don’t want to see more-efficient feeding of traffic onto Loring from Foothill.”

Wesling asked if there were another oval roundabout in the city that she could see like the one envisioned, and was told there was an existing oval roundabout at Lynn and Streamview.

PBPG chair Karl Rand asked if the public would be allowed further input into the new roundabout’s design and implementation, and was assured that they would.

Community planners were also told by City officials that they will have a better idea in September, once the City’s new FY 2020-21 budget is in place, as to what funding will be available for Foothill/Loring roundabout construction.

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