|El Nopal curves in Lakeside|
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not to their own version of the facts.Fact One: A section of El Nopal in unincorporated Lakeside near the boundary with Santee has two sharp curves that have contributed to a higher-than-average accident rate over the past decade.
Fact Two: An overwhelming majority of those accidents were caused by speeding motorists.
Fact Three: Traffic models by SANDAG engineers show that vehicular traffic on El Nopal in the county’s jurisdiction will increase over the next 25 years regardless of whether or not Mast Boulevard is extended from Santee into Lakeside.Fact Four: Of the 46 traffic accidents occurring at the curves over the past decade, less than 6 percent involved serious injuries; 87 percent of these
mishaps were the result of unlawful driving actions such as speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road or driving under the influence.
Barring any improvements by the county to straighten the curves, the only thing that will make El Nopal safer is for motorists to slow down and observe the posted 20 m.p.h. speed limit through the curves.The city of Santee cannot solve a safety problem on a road outside its jurisdiction where the leading cause of accidents is unsafe driving.
In February, the Santee City Council voted 4 to 1 to create a new pedestrian and bicycle trail rather than a paved connection into Lakeside at the eastern end of Mast Boulevard.The proposed trail will enable Santee to become a more walkable and bicycle friendly community, a key goal embodied in a draft update of the city’s General Plan Circulation Element. Children in the area will have a new, safer route to walk or bicycle to schools in Santee.
An added bonus is that the trail project will also improve a blighted corridor that has been used for illegal dumping.