‘Turning Vehicles Yield to Pedestrians’: Signs added to Fay Avenue at Nautilus to protect students

New signage and an emergency vehicle detector on Nautilus Street at Fay Avenue
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

In response to parent concerns over the safety of a crossing at Nautilus Street at Fay Avenue, the City of San Diego has installed signage on the overhang.

When the light turns green at the T-intersection, it is for both student pedestrians leaving Muirlands Middle School and La Jolla High School and cars that only have the option to turn left or right, across the crosswalks on either side. And with the flow of student pedestrians, there are not a lot of legal opportunities for several drivers to proceed in one light cycle. As such, some drivers jump ahead and try to get ahead of the pedestrians, while others wait until the area is free of students at the very end of the cycle.

One parent told La Jolla Light earlier this year she sees near misses “three times a week.”

As Muirlands Middle School seventh-grader Skye Buffington observed: “I’m concerned about the safety and how the kids and drivers don’t follow directions. When the light turns green for cars, they can’t really go because there are a lot of kids crossing, but they try to anyway. Plus, sometimes kids cross when (the hand is flashing or solid and) they are not supposed to, and without looking to see if it is safe and they hold up an entire line of cars.” Further, some students proceed outside the lines of the crosswalk.

Skye said she has also seen parents texting while driving, which causes some concern.

One Muirlands Middle School teacher, who asked not to be named, said he observed “how poorly parents (and others) drive when they are dropping off and picking up here at our stoplight; running red lights, making U-turns, double parking, speeding, etc.”

The La Jolla Light ran a story about the issue in January, and the City recently installed the signs indicating drivers should yield to pedestrians.

Just as the City installed signs along Fay Avenue at Nautilus Street, these recently installed signs bookending Pearl Street at Girard Avenue also indicate drivers must yield to pedestrians.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Further, as part of a larger roll-out on City streets, devices known as emergency vehicle detectors have been installed on traffic light overhangs along Nautilus Street.

These detectors encourage “traffic signal preemption” — a system used to manipulate traffic signals in the path of an emergency vehicle, halting conflicting traffic and allowing the emergency vehicle right-of-way — to help reduce response times and enhance traffic safety.

Hoisted via small camera-like devices on traffic light overhangs along Nautilus Street between La Jolla Scenic Drive North and La Jolla Boulevard, emergency vehicle detectors are current standard on all traffic signals: “Meaning they are either installed or going to be installed on all signals in San Diego” said City spokesperson Anthony Santacroce.