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Escondido residents fear smaller road is creating a bigger problem

New bike lane narrows road and has residents worried that accidents will happen

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A road in Escondido that’s frequently used by large trucks heading to Valley Center, has been narrowed to create room for bicyclists and parked cars.

“It’s dangerous,” said Marlene Pompetti of the changes to Circle R Drive. Marlene has lived in the area for a decade and says the changes started about a year and a half ago when the county added a bike lane. Pompetti and her neighbors thought that was great, giving bicyclists a safer space to ride.

But in February, the county re-striped the road again to add parking too. And that's the problem. It made the lanes for cars significantly smaller. “There's going to be a head-on collision. If somebody is coming down with a big truck, they come over the double yellow line and somebody is coming up, they're going to hit.”

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CBS 8 followed a truck up the road and saw Pompetti ’s concern. As a car approached from the other direction, the truck veered into the bike lane. And it wasn't just trucks. Cars were doing the same thing. So CBS 8 reached out to Jeff Moneda, Director of the County's Public Works Department. Moneda says the smaller lane has a bigger purpose - to slow drivers down. “When you reduce the travel lanes, what that does is, drivers have to reduce speed,” he said.

Moneda says the report they've gotten from first responders in the area is that it's working. Cars are slowing down.

“I don't think so,” said Pompetti. She says cars still regularly drive above the posted 45-mile-an-hour speed limit. And with the smaller lanes, there's not much room for error. 

CBS 8 researched street widths and Circle R Drive's new restriping does meet the minimum requirement. But we also noticed that the driving lane between the stripes is exactly 9 feet. Our SUV is 8’4” - giving us just 8 inches of total clearance. And while we were in the area, we saw several trucks on the road that are a lot bigger than our SUV.

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Moneda said he is willing to revisit the striping if there's a problem, “We will continue to observe the conditions there and will observe if there are any safety concerns.” But, he added, that he's done this in other areas and, over time, it works… slowing drivers down while creating a space for bikes and parked cars.

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