‘It’s gotten really bad’: Residents around Cardeno Drive worried about speeding cars

A flashing speed indicator sign on Cardeno Drive flashes "slow down" as a driver exceeds the speed limit.
A flashing speed indicator sign on Cardeno Drive flashes “slow down” as a driver coming down the street exceeds the posted speed limit.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

For the residents of and around Cardeno Drive in the La Jolla Alta area, a recent car crash in the area was not a surprise. After a few car-related incidences in recent years, some residents are hoping for traffic calming measures to be put in place.

On July 27, a car crashed into the front area of a house and caused power to be knocked out for about 2,700 customers, many for as long as 11 hours. According to San Diego Gas & Electric, a car hit an SDG&E utility box, damaging the equipment. Power was restored in waves.

Additional details about the crash were unavailable, and it was reportedly the second time a car had crashed into that particular house.

A car flipped on Cardeno Drive, knocking over a San Diego Gas & Electric utility box and causing a power outage in the area.
(Courtesy of Rachael Cardenas)

Cardeno Drive is just under two miles end to end, connecting the Soledad area to north Pacific Beach, and some residents report increased speeding in the area, and asking the city for help to no avail.

“In the last three to four years, people have started just flying down the mountain,” said nearby resident Veronica Shaw. “There is a four way stop sign at one intersection, and if you stand there long enough, you’ll see they don’t stop, they do the ‘California roll’ [where drivers slow down to approach a stop sign, but do not actually stop]. Some of them, if it’s early enough, they just plow through the stop. It’s gotten really bad.”

She said cars occasionally drag race on that street at night and that she can sees tire tracks on the pavement the morning after.

Shaw’s brother, who lives on Cardeno Drive, was hit by a speeding car while walking on the street back on a December afternoon.

“I was crossing Cardeno at Alta La Jolla and I remember wearing a red sweater and a Santa hat because it was near the holidays,” said Jorge Sanchez. “I saw the car coming, but I know there are signs indicating a stop is ahead and then the stop sign. My mistake was thinking the car was going to stop. But the driver was flying down the hill.”

Sanchez was struck, rolled off the car and suffered a broken pelvis, among other injuries.

“I ended up in the hospital for 20 days,” he said. “I ride motorcycles and thought that would be the danger, not crossing my street.”

After the accident, Shaw called the police “for three weeks straight” asking the department to post an officer at that intersection. But nothing came of it.

In March, she reached a city traffic engineer to discuss options to slow traffic down. However, Shaw was told the street is a “collector street” so options were limited.

City spokesperson Anthony Santacroce said collector roads are “sort of an in-between for local roads and arterial roads” in that they “provide access to arterial roads from local roads and typically are shorter roads with lower speed limits.”

In the case of Cardeno Drive, he said, “The city has installed calming measures such as edge-line striping and electronic speed signs in the past to aid in calming traffic. However, as Cardeno Drive is an emergency response route and has a 5 percent grade, it does not qualify for more physical calming measures such as road humps.”

However, Shaw said a city engineer has agreed to meet with her to discuss other methods of possible traffic calming.

“A lot of people walk their dogs and walk the street,” she said. “I’m worried someone is going to get killed.”

She said she hopes the city installs some sort of traffic calming to slow speedy drivers down.

“The road is smooth, it has a nice view, it can be very tempting to go fast, I get it,” she said. “But people need to know they have to slow down.” ◆