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UC San Diego plans adaptive ‘smart’ traffic signals at 26 area intersections

UC San Diego has plans for adaptive traffic signals at 26 intersections, to be installed in three phases.
UC San Diego has plans for adaptive traffic signals at 26 intersections on Regents Road, North Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Village Drive, to be installed in three phases.
(Courtesy)

Eight La Jolla Town Council trustees are sworn in following the latest election.

UC San Diego has proposed a system of adaptive “smart” traffic signals intended to aid traffic flow, a university representative told the La Jolla Town Council at its March 11 meeting.

UCSD “has been collaborating closely with the city of San Diego to implement these adaptive traffic control systems,” said assistant director of communications and community planning Anu Delouri.

Smart signals adjust traffic signal timing in real time, based on actual traffic demand. They are built to “either expedite or they might slightly prolong a green signal to allow for enhanced traffic flow,” Delouri said. “They speak to each other.”

The signals would be installed in three phases beginning later this year, Delouri said, with testing “and everything else anticipated to be completed by summer 2022.”

Phase 1, she said, “includes installation of smart signals at four intersections on Regents Road, extending from Health Sciences Drive to … Miramar Street.”

The second phase involves installation of smart signals at “eight intersections [along North Torrey Pines Road] and extends from Genesee Avenue at the north, where it meets with Torrey Pines Road, to Expedition Way and Revelle College Drive,” Delouri said.

Phase 3 includes installation of smart signals at 14 intersections along La Jolla Village Drive extending from Interstate 805 west to North Torrey Pines Road, “completing the loop and synchronizing back with the traffic signals along North Torrey Pines Road.”

The smart signals “improve travel time reliability by maintaining better progression,” Delouri said, and “reduce congestion through providing better traffic flow. They extend the effectiveness of traffic signals and help minimize agency maintenance.”

Additionally, smart signals “can respond to unexpected events such as special events or road incidents and are beneficial where rapid and frequent fluctuations happen in traffic and volumes,” she said.

The signals also can be integrated with public transit systems to allow “priority … for them to keep their schedules.”

Speed limits will remain the same, Delouri said.

UCSD has “secured the funding to cover the cost of three phases,” she said. “The university is investing over $4 million in this solution to reduce the traffic congestion. We’ve met with the city a few times and we’ve finalized the contract.”

“We’re using the SynchroGreen software, which has been successfully used in other locations within the county and is also supported by the city,” she added.

The city will have to maintain the smart signals, Delouri said. “We’re paying for the maintenance and everything else, but the city will have to spearhead that effort, because once it goes in, it becomes part of the city’s infrastructure.”

Town Council election results

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava (far right) swears in eight La Jolla Town Council trustees (two attended virtually).
From left, Brook Baginski, Charles Merriman, Cody Decker, Ernie Casco, Christy Littlemore and Ron Jones are sworn in as La Jolla Town Council trustees by San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava. Carolyn Marsden and Michael Dershowitz attended via Zoom.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

After voting via electronic balloting, eight Town Council candidates took seats on the board: incumbents Michael Dershowitz and Ron Jones and newcomers Brook Baginski, Ernie Casco, Cody Decker, Christy Littlemore, Carolyn Marsden and Charles “Chuck” Merriman.

The candidates ran for six seats originally available, as announced at the council’s February meeting. However, two trustees — Steve Haskins and Elizabeth King — dropped out of the board through non-attendance of three consecutive meetings, allowing all eight candidates to be sworn in.

The March 11 online meeting included the swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected trustees in person at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, though two attended via Zoom. They were sworn in by San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla.

The Town Council has become “the place for information and forums to help build consensus … and advocacy,” LaCava said before swearing in the trustees.

The Town Council then voted for board officers via private chat message on Zoom.

James Rudolph will now serve as president; Jerri Hunt as vice president. Rick Dagon is chief technology officer, a title change replacing second vice president. Baginski is secretary and Merriman is treasurer.

Ann Kerr Bache, the president since 2016, becomes president emeritus.

The La Jolla Town Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8, online. Learn more at lajollatowncouncil.org.