Newport Beach city staffers recently held a town hall attended by about 20 residents to discuss possible fixes for the community’s concerns about vehicles speeding through the Mariners and Dover Shores neighborhood.
The traffic study area is generally bound by Irvine Avenue, Dover Drive, Westcliff Drive, and Galaxy Drive. Among the proposed traffic calming items are speed cushions, which are humps laterally placed across the roadway with gaps for a fire engine’s wheels to pass unobstructed.
City staffers also proposed restriping certain streets to add traffic lane edge lines, which can slow drivers because it makes the roadway appear narrower. City staffers expect the improvements to cost Newport Beach taxpayers about $150,000.
“The proposed improvements (speed cushions) will lower traffic speeds on roadway segments in the community,” City Traffic Engineer Tony Brine wrote in a prepared statement. “Speed cushions are a feature that are used to reduce speeds for standard vehicles while not impacting emergency response time. This will improve bicycle safety, in addition to driveway access.”
The city is proposing eight speed cushions on Santiago Drive, three street cushions on 20th Street, two speed cushions on Polaris Drive, two street cushions on Commodore Road, one on Mariners Drive, and one on Dover Drive. Streets qualify for street cushions if they meet city policy thresholds for measured speeds and traffic volumes on streets throughout a neighborhood, Brine said.
The lane edge line striping is proposed on Highland Drive between Westcliffe Drive and Marian Lane, Dover Drive between Nottingham Road and Mariners Drive, Tradewinds Lane between Shipway Lane and Santiago Drive, and Mariners Drive between Highland Drive and Santiago Drive.
City staffers say these stripes can improve vehicle position in the roadway but also acknowledge that drivers don’t always comply with road striping and some people find the lines unattractive.
Per city policy, a petition will be circulated by designated Dover Shores and Mariners residents along with a list of home addresses that will need to be surveyed starting in early October. The petition must be supported with signatures from 70 percent of residents on the roads where speed cushions will be implemented before improvements can begin. Petitioners will have until mid-December to collect the necessary signatures.
One the petition and related traffic study is complete, city staffers will present the improvements to the City Council for approval. If the Council approves the traffic calming measures, city staffers will request bids from contractors. Council members could review a recommended construction in Spring 2020, according to city documents.
Some Dover Shores residents say that visitors to the Newport Aquatic Center and North Star Beach represent a significant amount of the daily traffic in their neighborhood. The city’s average trip count for both destinations ranges from 1,027 trips on weekdays to 947 trips on weekends.
Most of the complaints Brine hears are about speeding in-general, not cars specifically heading to and leaving the Aquatic Center, he said.
For questions or comments regarding the study, contact Brine at (949) 644-3329 or [email protected].