Parents push for traffic light, crosswalk at busy North County intersection

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SAN DIEGO — Controversy surrounds how to make a busy North County roadway and intersection safer.

Parents are pushing for a traffic light and crosswalk along Del Mar Heights Road and Mercado Drive.

“In the mornings you can’t even pull out of your driveway to get in because the streets are lined with cars with parents driving their kids to school because they don’t want them to walk,” Jill Perez said.

Perez and her husband recently sent a letter to Councilwoman Barbara Bry asking for something to be done to make the intersection safer.

“I’ve seen children standing in the middle lane holding hands. I mean these are elementary school kids holding each others hands going OK, alright. You can tell they’re trying to make a mad dash and not get hit by cars,” Perez said.

Several years ago, parents said they tried to get a traffic light installed but it never happened. Parents told FOX 5 they will not walk in the area with their kids because it’s so dangerous with cars going well over the 40 miles per hour speed limit.

“It’s going to take a tragedy. God forbid there’s an accident and a child is hurt, or children are hurt. Is that what it’s going to take?” Perez said.

On the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board’s website, a letter from the Del Mar Union School District is posted. Just this month, school officials asked Bry to have the city study traffic issues on Del Mar Heights Road.

Bry sent FOX 5 the following statement:

“I am aware of the concerns the Del Mar Heights community has regarding safety for pedestrians and vehicular traffic on Del Mar Heights Road. I understand that these concerns are of utmost importance to this community. My office and I have been working with community members, the Torrey Pines Community Planning Board, Del Mar Unified School District, and City staff for the past year, to address these pressing issues.”

All residents with whom FOX 5 spoke said they agree something needs to be done to make the roadway safer, especially with the opening of One Paseo. 

However, there are neighbors who strongly disagree with a traffic light and crosswalk at the intersection.

“It’s a dangerous tact to take because of the sun, because of the false sense of being in a crosswalk where you feel safe to cross, but when you’re coming up over the hill you are totally blinded by the sun,” Janet Matula said.

Opponents said traffic is only really congested during the school year for drop off and pick up and they fear a light would also lead to clogged neighborhood streets where kids play.

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