The median was built in January, "designed to smooth traffic flow during weekday peak hours," according to the city.
The recent construction of a center divider at a busy intersection in the South Bay is causing a significant traffic problem, according to local residents.
The median on Coronado Avenue (a half block east of 19th Street/Saturn Boulevard) blocks access from the eastbound lane to the shopping center and limits the number of cars that can turn left at the traffic signal; it was installed sometime in January, according to people who live in the area.
"That island was a mistake. Total nightmare! It only allows about 4 cars to fit in the left turn lane before they start backing up blocking the lane to go straight and the light is too short, only 3 cars get thru before it turns yellow," Lisa Rose said via social media. "Didn't they realize how many cars turn left there?"
Mendoza Elementary School, located on 19th Street/Saturn Boulevard, also increases traffic congestion in the vicinity when parents drop off and pick up their children.
"Yep, just dumb," added Ryan Patrick. "The turn lane should have been longer. My son goes to Mendoza, which is a left 2 blocks down, now I can't be in the left lane until after the light. And now people make U-turns to get into the shopping center."
"Just wait for the traffic nightmare from the new housing development," said Ernie Galindo, referring to the construction on the former site of Marian High School.
City of San Diego spokesman Anthony Santacroce was initially unable to say when or why the median was built. As this story went to publication he found the answer.
"The median construction was part of a development project," Santacroce wrote. "The raised median was installed in early January, 2017. It was a mitigation measure for the development project approved for the previous Marian Catholic site.
"The left turn pocket from eastbound Coronado to northbound Saturn is supposed to be approximately 150 feet long, which should hold more than three vehicles. The restriction of left turns in and out of these driveways was looked at and discussed in the Environmental Impact Report for the project. The raised median was designed to smooth traffic flow during weekday peak hours."
"Without that stupid island there was actually a whole lane open for cars to be in while waiting to turn left."
While some locals speculate that the island might cut down on accidents, others disagreed.
"If anything, I think it will cause more," Rose said. "With all those cars now blocking the lane to go straight someone is going to get rear-ended. Without that stupid island there was actually a whole lane open for cars to be in while waiting to turn left, out of the way of traffic going straight."
Others questioned the need for the divider in the first place. "I've driven that way to work for 3 years," Emerald Pena commented, "and never have I ever seen an accident, honestly, and if so I wanna see the proof from the city because there is none."