Dear Randy: Traffic Light Timing

Santee's Mayor answers a question about traffic signal timing on Mission Gorge and SR-52 off ramps.

You can call up , send emails all over, and reach out in many directions in looking for an answer to a local problem or help with an issue- or we can get that question right to , and he can use his resources and local government know-how to get the best answer around.

Send your questions or comments on any topic, preferably a local issue, to steven.bartholow@patch.com, or leave it as a comment below, and we'll pass it onto Mayor Voepel. He's agreed to shoot for answering one a week, so let's keep those questions coming!

Q. I remember reading a couple years ago that Santee spent a fortune on some consultant to . So, what gives? Did the city just waste a ton of money on nothing? Driving down Mission Gorge from the west to the east (or vice versa) is miserable!  

That signal at the 52 off ramp onto Mission Gorge is the worst and the one at Cuyamaca is ridiculous, too. If the signals are timed efficiently, how can it be possible to miss ALL of them!?



A. Dear Keeley,

You were correct that the City did complete a to replace obsolete signal equipment and re-time traffic signals on Mission Gorge Road. The project was largely funded by a state grant.

Recently City staff modified signal timing on Mission Gorge Road again to adjust for . Cycle lengths for the new timing plans were shortened to reduce delays. City staff has been working diligently to adjust and monitor the new timing and have been working with Caltrans staff to coordinate signal timing with Caltrans owned signals. Travel time studies conducted recently indicated that there is a .

The signal at the SR-52 off-ramp onto Mission Gorge is a Caltrans signal and not part of the system, and City staff is working with Caltrans staff to include it in the system. The signal at Cuyamaca Street runs on a longer cycle than the rest of Mission Gorge Road due to heavy vehicular and pedestrian volumes and that the crosses the intersection. This signal is part of the Cuyamaca Street signal upgrade project which was awarded the 2011 project of the year by the San Diego Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

The City has a dedicated traffic engineering staff who are among the best in the field. I am confident that they can help address your concerns. If you have specific questions, please contact Principal Traffic Engineer Minjie Mei at 619-258-4100, extension 189, for assistance.

Respectfully submitted,

Mayor, City of Santee

Carlee Zank March 21, 2012 at 07:11 PM
The one that drives me crazy is cottonwood and mission gorge. Especially since youll wait forever to get the light to change and an ambulance will pull out and you have to wait all over again. I have literally sat at this light for 8 min before. I am fine with waiting on emergency vehicles, but not when the light takes forever just to turn anyways. Im talking about trying to get off or on to cottonwood.
Dennis Iverson March 21, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I remember bringing this up before and was told they had to wait until they figured out the new traffic patterns would be after the 52 was in and the city could understand the new patterns. Here is a bold idea. Have the traffic engineering staff get in a car, start at one end of Mission Gorge and drive to the other end. You will see a lot of cars in one direction at the red light and NO cross traffic. You can be going west on MG, get stopped at the Lowes light and see all the lights down the road turn green. When that light turns green all of sudden the light at Carlton Oaks will turn red on you. Instead of studies, maybe someone just needs to get out there and see for themselves. Now that we are getting an In and Out on MG maybe City folks will be using MG during the day :-)
Don March 22, 2012 at 02:21 PM
The light on Cuyamuca to get on 52 East is HORRIBLE at times, I have found it quicker to bypass that light and hang a u-turn at the next light where the 7-11 is. The traffic line during peak hours can take 3 cycles to get through, just rediculous, especially when there is NO oncoming traffic!! I thought we had smart signals!!!!
Amy March 22, 2012 at 05:16 PM
That light literally drives me crazy!! I have put my car on park before for a good couple of minutes because it takes so long to change event when there is no cars.
Melonie March 22, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Don nailed the one I was going to bring up. Getting on 52 E-bound from Cuyamacca is consistently a headache. There doesn't seem to be a variance day or night. I think the settings on the lights vary with time of day to help with higher volumne during am/pm rush hour, etc. The Cuyamacca light was skipped or something! It literally stays green for 4 Mississippi's! I too now avoid it. Beats waiting through the cycles. Seems like a re - evaluation of some problem lights are needed. Good news on the report for Mission Gorge with the 40% travel time decease.
just my opinion March 23, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Has anyone noticed, that at some of the mission gorge intersections, you hit the intersection,the light turns yellow and before you are thru it, it turns red not even giving you enough time to get get thru it. I know you are suppose to stop when the light is yellow but I am talking about the light turning yellow right when you hit the intersection not leaving you enough time to stop until you are at the other side. Does all that make sense?????


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