Councilman wants to assure residents on highway
As a $2.4 million reconfiguration of El Camino Real approaches an expected mid-July completion, city officials are seeking to reassure skeptical residents that it is a sound design.
A landscaped, protected two-way bikeway on the coastal side of the road is expected to become an extension of San Clemente’s popular coastal trail. But the project has stirred some concerns, and Councilman Chris Hamm raised the topic at the June 20 City Council meeting after having met with several dozen residents four days earlier.
Some points he made:
• The city is not eliminating a right-turn lane onto Camino Capistrano, as some residents feared.
• There will be a traffic lane and a right-turn lane, with a bicycle lane between them.
• There will be substantial room for cars to approach in the right-turn lane, the equivalent of 21 car lengths.
• The right-turn lane works – Hamm said he’s already done it in a long firetruck.
• The temporary 35 mph speed limit during construction will likely return to 45 mph when work is done in July, but a speed survey will need to confirm an appropriate limit.
• The bicycle and pedestrian-friendly design is based on state law – California’s Complete Streets Act – which requires cities to design streets and street upgrades to move bicycles and pedestrians as safely and efficiently as cars.
• A reason for including striped bike lanes on the road, in addition to a protected two-way bikeway off to the side, is because cyclists legally can choose to ride on the road but must stay in a striped bike lane – if one exists – otherwise, they can use the full traffic lane.
• A curb extension into the road will shorten the pedestrian crossing distance and the pedestrian signal phase at Camino Capistrano, meaning a longer green-light phase for cars on the highway.
“Hopefully when it’s done we’ll have a much better product than we have now,” Hamm said, “and we’ll be able…