The Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) and Fallbrook Circulation Committee have reviewed Fallbrook’s roads, and have prioritized road construction and maintenance for the county. The circulation committee meets every two to four years to let the county’s Department of Public Works (DPW) know what road reconstruction, community developments, intersection improvements, and asphalt overlays are most needed in the community.
Anne Burdick, circulation committee chair, stated that the county looks at the list, and allocates certain funds for various projects according to their placement on the DPW’s waiting list for capital improvement.
“There’s a very limited pot of money for major road projects,” she said. “There are 26 planning groups [with similar lists]. We are in line with everyone else.”
Burdick stated the committee was much more extensive than years past.
“We put down all projects that really needed to be on the county’s radar,” said Burdick. “The county categorizes each project, and we prioritized projects in each of those categories. We have 19 in all, not including the Live Oak Park and airport projects, which are funded outside the capital improvement program.”
The FCPG will finalize the list and present it to the county for review. Areas for reconstruction mentioned include Rocky Crest Road, Pepper Tree Lane, and Knottwood Way; community development suggestions included sidewalks for Ammunition Road, Elder Street, and Clemmens Lane; traffic signals were recommended for intersections at Mission Road and Santa Margarita, as well as South Mission Road and Pepper Tree Lane; intersection improvements were suggested for the Mission Road and Ranger Road intersection, the East Mission and Yucca intersection, the Old 395, East Mission and I-15 intersection, the Reche Road and Live Oak Elementary School intersection.
“Everyone in the impacted areas know the issues are pretty serious,” said Burdick. “Pendleton traffic issues at peak traffic hour are a really huge issue as well, and it’s on everyone’s radar. That takes so much coordination between the county and state. The county has worked extensively to make major improvements, but with the major changes that come with the McDonalds construction, it will influence the whole South Mission Road and Ammunition intersection. We may have to revisit this plan.”
Some of the areas that have been removed from the reconstruction list include the Fallbrook Street extension. Burdick stated that under that plan Fallbrook Street would have gone around St. Peters church and intersected Reche Road across from Potter Jr. High School.
“All of the residents in that area are very vocal,” she said. “We have met with them repeatedly, and after new traffic studies, the DPW representative stated the expansions don’t need to happen for at least 20 years. We would have to verify that the extension is going to solve what we think it will solve.”
Burdick stated that some areas will receive a concrete overlay, which will provide better access to the residents in Fallbrook.
“It will make the roads smoother, which will then help improve traffic, which normally slows down to dodge potholes.”
Other areas that are high on the priority for the FCPG include extensions on Knottwood Way, and throughways in the Sycamore Ranch development.
“Traffic in Sycamore Ranch will have multiple ways to get out besides Gird Road and State Route 76,” said Burdick. “One of our primary goals is to have more outlets to bring traffic east and west besides East Mission and SR76. Reche Road to Fallbrook Street is a partial east-west circuit, but it needs a lot of improvements before it can handle the overflow.”
It has been apparent to the FCPG that having one of the main east-west circuits down can cause severe traffic coming and going from downtown Fallbrook.
“When the 76 closes, as it did for the recent fires, it becomes a nightmare to get into Fallbrook. That means you have to go through East Mission, which impacted everyone trying to get in and out of Fallbrook,” she said. “We need a third circuit.”
However, the circulation committee doesn’t necessarily want to widen East Mission to four lanes until intersections have been improved first. Former chair of circulation, Harry Christiansen, had indicated that traffic can move more freely when intersections are improved.
“We saw that happen at intersections impacted by Camp Pendleton traffic,” said Burdick. “We also saw improvement when we widened the intersection on SR76 and Olive Hill. Traffic used to back up all the way to South Mission, but when the intersection was made into five lanes, there was a huge improvement.”
Burdick stated those minor improvements might lessen the need for additional lanes on major roads, as traffic will be more easily maintained. In addition, less property would be required from neighboring plots.
“Widening to four lanes would impact a lot of home owners along major routes,” she explained. “They might not all happen; it depends on how Fallbrook grows.”