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Traffic signal headaches in Peñasquitos, I.B., and Imperial Avenue

"We just run the light sometimes"

805-Imperial Avenue off-ramp
805-Imperial Avenue off-ramp

In 2022, there were 5417 traffic signal reports made on San Diego's GID (Get It Done) app; over a dozen of those reports were made on August 20-21 about a particular set of Peñasquitos traffic signal lights holding up school kids, parents, and folks heading to work.

"We believe the stop light timing/timer at Black Mountain Road and Adolphia Street could be the problem," reads one of the GID reports. "As it's only letting three to four cars get through per cycle. Please help by adjusting the timing on the light. It takes 10 minutes or more to get out of the parking lot at the school."

The free-of-charge GID app and website are connected to the city of San Diego.

Jackson: "The gouges in the road right there from that dip suggest it should be re-worked."

What usually happens is that the city changes the timing of the traffic lights based on seasonal traffic. For example, during school time, the traffic lights on the popular routes to schools are adjusted to stay on the green light indicator for more extended periods, so the parents' vehicles keep moving forward. Come summertime; the city adjusts the traffic lights as there's less flow. And if the signal lights are not coinciding with the seasonal and street variables: nearby construction sites, football games, concerts, and back-to-school traffic — San Diegans can log on to the GID app or site and, in real-time, file a complaint that'll reach City employees.

Sponsored
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When making the seconds- or minutes-long GID reports, depending on how detailed with elaborate photos, the complaint is labeled "Current Status:" as "New" or "In Process."

Other traffic signal reports are more severe, where traffic lights go out for whatever reason, and cross-traffic vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and skateboarders, are in danger of colliding with one another.

In best-case scenarios, after the traffic lights are fixed, the city updates the Current Status tab with Closed and a brief explanation. "City crews recently resolved the issue or conducted the necessary repairs as reported in your inquiry," reads a recently assessed Peñasquitos traffic light report.

13th and Palm Ave, Imperial Beach

But there are some traffic lights mixed with other street factors throughout the county that haven't been addressed "for years," say some observers.

Retired and lifelong IB local Mike Jackson is flustered by a traffic light between Imperial Beach and south San Diego. "I use the light at 13th and Palm Avenue," he told me on August 21. "Many cars try turning left, which often backs into the through lanes."

I've seen online posts about the intersection traffic light for the last two weeks. On August 14, Sunday, I visited the intersection and spoke with a man walking to the Ashur Liquor store by Carl's Jr. on Palm and 13th across the street from 7-Eleven. He agreed with Jackson's sentiments, saying the traffic on weekday mornings is worse. As I sat there monitoring traffic, I noticed, in the traffic heading northbound on 13th, that the cars' front bumpers were close to bottoming out as they reached Palm Avenue.

"One reason that compounds that light is the large dip as you enter 13th Street as you turn left on Palm," Jackson explained.

Consequently, many locals that know of the dip take the turn slowly, particularly owners of lowered cars or trucks. Jackson's neighbor noted, "The gouges in the road right there from that dip suggest it should be re-worked." Jackson continued, "At this light, you are lucky to get four or five cars through during the green turn light; if someone is making a U-turn, maybe only three get through. The issue has gone on for quite some time, years."

As school is back in session, IB citizens have found other ways to access Palm Avenue, which goes from the Silver Strand in the west to I-5.

"It's been a couple of weeks since I used that intersection," Carol Feldman said to me on August 22. She said it would take her "at least 10 minutes to get through the 13th/Palm intersection. "Four cars can turn at the most, maybe five if you're pushing the yellow [light]."

About 11 miles north by Imperial Avenue and 805, there's been an issue with the lights here "for years," said Gabby Velazquez from Encanto. "When you get off the freeway [heading southbound] and turn left onto Imperial, you cross the bridge approaching 47th Street. There's always traffic at this light. So we just run the light sometimes!"

Last week, I drove to the intersection and watched what happened. I followed Velazquez's route, headed southbound on the 805, and exited the Imperial Avenue off-ramp. The backup builds on the off-ramp as traffic turning left, eastbound, gets stuck crossing the overpass.

At the light on 47th, there's a short left-turn lane, so the people that need to get onto 47th (to go northbound) block the left lane on Imperial, stopping traffic flow.

Velazquez continued, "Since the lights there are so fast, people run the red, and they are stuck blocking the traffic coming in from the [805/Imperial northbound off-ramp. And because they are stuck on the off-ramp, they get impatient and run the red lights turning on Imperial and blocking the traffic from the other off-ramp. So it's like an endless loop of [motorists] blocking traffic in all directions. It's gotten worse, so I go through 94 and Federal, which seems faster."

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805-Imperial Avenue off-ramp
805-Imperial Avenue off-ramp

In 2022, there were 5417 traffic signal reports made on San Diego's GID (Get It Done) app; over a dozen of those reports were made on August 20-21 about a particular set of Peñasquitos traffic signal lights holding up school kids, parents, and folks heading to work.

"We believe the stop light timing/timer at Black Mountain Road and Adolphia Street could be the problem," reads one of the GID reports. "As it's only letting three to four cars get through per cycle. Please help by adjusting the timing on the light. It takes 10 minutes or more to get out of the parking lot at the school."

The free-of-charge GID app and website are connected to the city of San Diego.

Jackson: "The gouges in the road right there from that dip suggest it should be re-worked."

What usually happens is that the city changes the timing of the traffic lights based on seasonal traffic. For example, during school time, the traffic lights on the popular routes to schools are adjusted to stay on the green light indicator for more extended periods, so the parents' vehicles keep moving forward. Come summertime; the city adjusts the traffic lights as there's less flow. And if the signal lights are not coinciding with the seasonal and street variables: nearby construction sites, football games, concerts, and back-to-school traffic — San Diegans can log on to the GID app or site and, in real-time, file a complaint that'll reach City employees.

Sponsored
Sponsored

When making the seconds- or minutes-long GID reports, depending on how detailed with elaborate photos, the complaint is labeled "Current Status:" as "New" or "In Process."

Other traffic signal reports are more severe, where traffic lights go out for whatever reason, and cross-traffic vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and skateboarders, are in danger of colliding with one another.

In best-case scenarios, after the traffic lights are fixed, the city updates the Current Status tab with Closed and a brief explanation. "City crews recently resolved the issue or conducted the necessary repairs as reported in your inquiry," reads a recently assessed Peñasquitos traffic light report.

13th and Palm Ave, Imperial Beach

But there are some traffic lights mixed with other street factors throughout the county that haven't been addressed "for years," say some observers.

Retired and lifelong IB local Mike Jackson is flustered by a traffic light between Imperial Beach and south San Diego. "I use the light at 13th and Palm Avenue," he told me on August 21. "Many cars try turning left, which often backs into the through lanes."

I've seen online posts about the intersection traffic light for the last two weeks. On August 14, Sunday, I visited the intersection and spoke with a man walking to the Ashur Liquor store by Carl's Jr. on Palm and 13th across the street from 7-Eleven. He agreed with Jackson's sentiments, saying the traffic on weekday mornings is worse. As I sat there monitoring traffic, I noticed, in the traffic heading northbound on 13th, that the cars' front bumpers were close to bottoming out as they reached Palm Avenue.

"One reason that compounds that light is the large dip as you enter 13th Street as you turn left on Palm," Jackson explained.

Consequently, many locals that know of the dip take the turn slowly, particularly owners of lowered cars or trucks. Jackson's neighbor noted, "The gouges in the road right there from that dip suggest it should be re-worked." Jackson continued, "At this light, you are lucky to get four or five cars through during the green turn light; if someone is making a U-turn, maybe only three get through. The issue has gone on for quite some time, years."

As school is back in session, IB citizens have found other ways to access Palm Avenue, which goes from the Silver Strand in the west to I-5.

"It's been a couple of weeks since I used that intersection," Carol Feldman said to me on August 22. She said it would take her "at least 10 minutes to get through the 13th/Palm intersection. "Four cars can turn at the most, maybe five if you're pushing the yellow [light]."

About 11 miles north by Imperial Avenue and 805, there's been an issue with the lights here "for years," said Gabby Velazquez from Encanto. "When you get off the freeway [heading southbound] and turn left onto Imperial, you cross the bridge approaching 47th Street. There's always traffic at this light. So we just run the light sometimes!"

Last week, I drove to the intersection and watched what happened. I followed Velazquez's route, headed southbound on the 805, and exited the Imperial Avenue off-ramp. The backup builds on the off-ramp as traffic turning left, eastbound, gets stuck crossing the overpass.

At the light on 47th, there's a short left-turn lane, so the people that need to get onto 47th (to go northbound) block the left lane on Imperial, stopping traffic flow.

Velazquez continued, "Since the lights there are so fast, people run the red, and they are stuck blocking the traffic coming in from the [805/Imperial northbound off-ramp. And because they are stuck on the off-ramp, they get impatient and run the red lights turning on Imperial and blocking the traffic from the other off-ramp. So it's like an endless loop of [motorists] blocking traffic in all directions. It's gotten worse, so I go through 94 and Federal, which seems faster."

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