MMTC Logo ArtworkHillery Drive Direct Access Ramp

Hillery Drive Direct Access Ramp - Mira Mesa Community Planning Group

Caltrans plans to build a Direct Access Ramp along Hillery Drive near Westview Pkwy/Miramar Community College, connecting Hillery Drive to the Managed Lanes under construction along I-15.  This ramp will allow busses, motorcycles, carpools, vehicles with FasTrack tags, and clean air vehicles with special decals, to directly enter the I-15 Managed Lanes and avoid the traffic congestion along Mira Mesa Blvd.  The ramp will pass through the Legacy Apartments, and reach ground level near Westview Parkway in the vicinity of the future Transit Center and Park-and-Ride facilities currently under construction on the Miramar Community College campus.

The Mira Mesa Community Planning Group's Hillery DAR Subcommittee has been meeting monthly to identify areas of concern and work in partnership with Caltrans and the City of San Diego to develop mitigation plans for each.  The DAR subcommittee has made its final recommendations which will be presented at the next MMCPG meeting. The recommendations are listed below:

Hillery DAR Mitigation Strategy Recommendations:

 1) Traffic Study of Mira Mesa, with synchronization of traffic signals

It is recommended that Traffic Engineering, in conjunction with the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group, study the existing traffic flow in Mira Mesa to identify areas where changes to existing traffic control strategies may improve traffic flow.  It is of great importance that this traffic study be undertaken as soon as possible, and the results incorporated in the recently-announced SANDAG traffic signal synchronization project; Black Mountain Road is specifically listed as one of the roadways included in the SANDAG project.

 2) Changes to student drop-off/pick-up at Walker Elementary 

It has been noted frequently in this process that traffic congestion along Hillery Dr at Black Mountain Road is exacerbated by parent drop-off and pick-up at Walker Elementary.  The current design of the parking area and traffic flow through the campus encourage parents to park along Hillery Dr and surrounding streets to walk students to school.  Additionally, a school bus stop is located directly across from Walker School, less than half a block from Black Mountain Road.  It is possible for a school bus to stop at this location to pick up students, while being invisible to cars turning onto Hillery Drive from southbound Black Mountain Road.  It is the recommendation of the subcommittee that SDUSD, Traffic Engineering, Caltrans, parents and nearby residents, form a task force to explore options to improve traffic flow at the school.

 3) Lane adjustments on eastbound Hillery at Black Mountain Road

Traffic engineering is already studying changes to the signalization on Hillery Drive at Black Mountain Road, in an attempt to reduce the traffic backup that forms every weekday evening.  The backup seems to stem from a change in traffic flow since the intersection was designed: originally, more traffic flowed straight through the intersection or turned north (left); now, the majority of the traffic turns south (right).  In addition to the signalization changes already being investigated, the subcommittee recommends that Traffic Engineering explore possible changes to the lane design at this intersection to improve traffic flow.

 4) "Do Not Block" striping

The subcommittee recommends that "Do Not Block" striping be placed on Hillery Drive west of Black Mountain Road, in front of each of the cross streets between Black Mountain Road and Greenford Dr.  This would include Rickert, Marbury, Caminito Derecho, Caminito Duro, and Caminito Chueco.  While not foolproof, this could assist residents attempting to enter Hillery Drive from one of these streets.  Additionally, we recommend that the "Do Not Block" striping on Black Mountain Road at the entrance to the Woods and Village Green mobile home parks be repainted due to wear.

 5) Raised crosswalk on Hillery Dr for Walker School

This subcommittee recommends that a raised crosswalk with illumination be installed adjacent to Walker School, crossing Hillery Drive.  Currently, there exists only a painted crosswalk that is staffed by the student "safety patrol" in the morning; we have seen numerous instances where cars speed past these students, creating a safety hazard.

 6) Traffic Circles

This subcommittee recommends that traffic circles be installed on Hillery Drive at the following intersections: Westonhill, Greenford, and Marbury.  It is recommended that these traffic circles include landscaping of a sufficient height as to be easily seen by drivers, as lower profile traffic circles can become a traffic hazard if struck by inattentive drivers.  There is a question as to which entity (City, MMMAD, etc.) would accept the responsibility of maintaining the landscaping; however, this is an issue that can be worked out and should not prevent the landscaping from being included in the mitigation plan.

 7) Chicanes

It is recommended that chicanes be installed on Rickert and Marbury streets, to discourage speeding by drivers using these streets to access or exit Hillery Drive.  It is possible that a crosswalk designation (striping) could be included in the chicane design on Rickert to assist parents parking along the street to walk students to school at Walker.

 8) Extend right-turn lane on eastbound Mira Mesa Blvd at Black Mountain Road 

While the existing turn lane is quite short, drivers create a de facto turn lane by stacking up along the curb.  Drivers who attempt to access the turn lane at the legally designated entrance often cannot do so due to the traffic that artificially extends the lane.  We recommend re-striping the turn lane so that it extends to Rickert Road.  It is anticipated that this reconfiguration will assist in improving the flow of traffic turning right at this intersection.

 9) Dual left-turn lanes on Black Mountain Road at Hillery Dr.

The current traffic level at this intersection is sufficient to support only one left-turn lane at Hillery Drive traveling southbound on Black Mountain Road.  The proposed mitigation strategy is designed discourage traffic from using Hillery Drive west of Black Mountain Road as a shortcut to the DAR.  If this strategy succeeds, then the traffic level at this intersection will increase dramatically once the DAR is open; the anticipated increase should be sufficient to meet the requirements for a dual turn lane at this intersection.

 10) Adjust lane configuration on Hillery Dr east of Black Mountain Road, to accommodate dual turn lanes.

 11) Post-DAR traffic study and "Fail Safe" plan

At a time interval agreed upon between the City and the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group (tentatively one year after DAR opening), a traffic study will be conducted by Traffic Engineering on the effects of the DAR on traffic in the nearby neighborhood.  This study will be presented to the MMCPG, and input from nearby residents will be accepted.  The MMCPG will then make a determination as to whether the strategies implemented have sufficiently mitigated the additional traffic produced by the Hillery DAR.  If the mitigation strategies have been unsuccessful, then a "Fail Safe" plan will be implemented.  The fail safe would include the installation of turn restrictions that would eliminate the flow of traffic across Black Mountain Road at Hillery Drive.


PUBLIC COMMENT: At the August 11 Hillery DAR Subcommittee Meeting, it was requested that we develop a blog or other online repository for questions, comments, and suggestions related to the Hillery DAR.  After reviewing the Brown Act, which governs the MMCPG public meetings, it was determined that all input should be directed to the Hillery DAR Chairman, who could then post the contents on the Hillery DAR web page.  Please direct all e-mails for publication to: BariVaz@sbcglobal.net.  Please include the phrase "Hillery DAR" on the Subject line if you wish to have your question/comment/suggestion posted to the Hillery DAR web page.

Documents relating to the Hillery DAR Subcommittee:

Hillery DAR Final Environmental Impact Report
City of San Diego Traffic Calming Handbook
Traffic Calming Suggested Measures
Transit Map showing DAR location.

Comments/Questions/Suggestions regarding the Hillery Direct Access Ramp:

3)

Forrest and Alberta Simmons – 8/31/09

  PROBLEM

 Traffic congestion and gridlock on Hillery Drive between Black Mountain Rd and Rickert.

  PROPOSED SOLUTION

 Three way stop at Hillery and Rickert and Hillery and Marbury (already proposed) 
 Designate the block on Hillery Dr. between Black Mountain Rd and Rickert a NO PARKING AT ANY TIME  block.

 BENEFITS

 Would greatly reduce traffic congestion on this stretch of Hillery Drive.

 Would reduce illegal u-turns on this stretch of Hillery Drive.

 Would reduce individuals walking in front of traffic (jay walking) to get to their vehicles parked on Hillery. 
 This illegal  activity causes traffic congestion.

 Would eliminate car doors being opened into traffic on Hillery.

2)

Jack Eiermann – 08/31

From what I could decipher  the DAR is a done deal but  just how to get the traffic back to the arterial streets is the "bone of contention".  I'm guessing that routing the traffic to Westview Parkway is also frowned upon.   Hmm, don't understand that concept since it is a 4 to 5 lane road.  Given that I don't agree with diminishing the traffic on Mira Mesa Blvd I feel I have to voice this next one.    One glaring solution comes to me almost immediately. That is by directing the traffic that is between Westview Parkway and the I-15 to the north on Westview Parkway from Hillery.  Westview Parkway is a commercial street with enough room to handle the traffic. 

 One of the suggestions I heard Tuesday night was to control the traffic at peak hours by restricting turns at peak hours.  Seems to me that would cause the traffic to use Mira Mesa Blvd anyhow.  I don't know if that option is still viable but I like that one.  I also like idea of making Hillery west of Black Mountain Road a one way street eastbound along with restricting turns off of Mira Mesa Blvd at peak hours as far back as at least half way to Camino Ruiz thereby reducing the temptation to use Hillery as an access to the DAR and also to eliminate that part of Hillery for egress from the area by getting the traffic on to larger streets quickly.  Or what about a round about at that intersection? That would slow traffic down and probably cause a lot of  people to turn right anyhow.  If they were to put in a round about there I for one would access the shopping areas from Mira Mesa Blvd instead.

 Another brain spasm!!!.    Why not use the extreme right hand lanes on I-15 to access the DAR?  One of the selling points Tuesday night is that we would have transit station right in the neighborhood within walking distance.   So there is no need for the use of Hillery  in this case.  By the way we already have multiple bus stops on Black Mountain Road and Mira Mesa Blvd.  within a similar walking distance.  I take the bus to work every morning because they are so convenient.

1)

Erik Basil – 8/31

  The location of the DAR on Hillery at the I-15 is resolved and set in stone.  As part of the approval of the project, it was acknowledged that the DAR (when constructed and open) will have traffic impacts upon local streets -- beyond the already predicted increases in traffic for these same streets over the next ten years.  The Mira Mesa Community Planning Board's sub-committee is working to identify methods to address or minimize the *additional traffic* on residential streets that is above and beyond what was predicted to occur if there had been no DAR project.  If we do not suggest mitigation measures, there will likely be none installed and the traffic impacts will be severe at several locations.

It's important to note that the residential street most impacted by the DAR, according to Caltrans' studies, will be Hillery itself.  Since Hillery is already heavily impacted with traffic at morning and evening "rush hours" and includes Walker Elementary school there, the traffic situation is already bad for locals and will only get worse if Hillery becomes a shortcut/alternative to Mira Mesa Blvd for Mira Mesans looking to use the DAR.  The issues are not that Hillery is empty and therefore "very fast", but that Hillery is too full and therefore a "traffic jam" during the weekday rush hours.   Therefore, the needs of the community are not for "calming" (ie slowing) but for "mitigation" (ie diversion of non-residential traffic). 

There will also be significant impacts and new traffic on Westview Parkway (on both sides of Mira Mesa Blvd.) and Black Mtn Road.  So far, however, the Subcommittee has focused upon the Hillery Ave issues.

Several suggestions have been made for changes to traffic signeage and rules in the area, with the intent to control drivers that are leaving I-15 and heading west acrossMira Mesa AND drivers leaving Mira Mesa and heading east to I-15.  Since there is already a perception that such drivers use streets like Hillery as an alternative to Mira Mesa Blvd, many people support the data in Caltrans' traffic study, which projects many more such drivers in the event the Subcommittee and CPB do not propose some methods to encourage such drivers to useMira Mesa Blvd rather than residential streets.

One idea designed to encourage drivers to use Mira Mesa Blvd rather than Hillery calls for a "conversion" of the intersection of Hillery at Black Mountain such that drivers heading east or west cannot drive straight across Black Mtn Rd, but must turn either right or left.  Therefore, the intersection would stay open, but drivers coming off the freeway DAR wouldn't shoot straight down the ramp and into the residential part of Hillery in the morning and evening, because they'd have to turn either right or left onto Black Mtn.  Likewise, drivers moving east in the morning or evening wouldn't be able to "shortcut" on Hillery, because they'll have to wind their way back to Mira Mesa Blvd in order to reach the DAR.    Of course, such a restriction also means that residents on Hillery will "lose" their shortcut to the back entrance for Albertsons, Home Depot and the theatre, but in exchange for a few thousand less cars on Hillery every rush hour that also "lose the shortcut".    In fact, this change may reduce traffic that impacts Walker Elementary in the mornings.   I think this is the best mitigation measure available at this time