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City of Canyon Lake identifies path forward to allow golf carts to continue crossing Railroad Canyon Road

For decades, residents of Canyon Lake have regularly crossed Railroad Canyon Road in their golf carts at Canyon Lake Drive South to travel to and from the Towne Center. Residents have done so as allowed by the city’s municipal code designating a golf cart crossing at this intersection. The city’s existing municipal code was last adopted in 1995.

Based on the city’s municipal code and recent conversations with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office (RSO), it is currently illegal for golf carts to cross Railroad Canyon Road with existing vehicle traffic. Rather, golf carts are required to do so at the pedestrian crossing and never at night.

As a result, city staff met with the RSO to identify their concerns and determine a path forward to meet the needs of the community for a compliant and safe golf cart crossing to and from the community and Towne Center. In addition, RSO recommended an Engineering and Traffic Survey to formally review the existing speed limits on Railroad Canyon Road as required by law for radar enforcement along a public roadway.

The city commissioned a Golf Cart Crossing Traffic Safety Study and an Engineering and Traffic Survey for Railroad Canyon Road by Willdan Engineering to determine required updates to the city’s municipal code to comply with the California Vehicle Code and address the needs of the community for this golf cart crossing.

The study included investigating the location to observe various details of the intersection, including the behavior of golf carts and motor vehicles, existing signage, and existing pavement markings. In addition, it reviewed other agencies’ best practices regarding golf cart crossings within their jurisdiction and existing laws for golf cart crossings.

As a result of this analysis, the study identified what additional features, signage, and ordinance modifications are necessary to enhance the safety of golf carts crossing at this intersection. The Engineering and Traffic Survey was conducted to justify and update the posted speed limits along Railroad Canyon Road in the City of Canyon Lake. These segments have not been surveyed during the last 10 years and require an update to comply with the 10-year limitation set forth by Section 40802 of the CVC to enable the use of radar for traffic speed enforcement.

When determining the speed limit, existing law allows local authorities to round up or down to the nearest 5 mph increment of the 85th percentile speed of free-flowing traffic on a portion of the highway as determined by an Engineering and Traffic Survey.

The city’s Engineering and Traffic Survey also evaluated Railroad Canyon Road in terms of its designation as a Safety Corridor as determined by new legislation, authorizing a local authority to further reduce the speed limit by an additional 5 mph. Based on both provisions, the Engineering and Traffic Survey recommends retaining the existing speed limit of 45 mph with an approved Safety Corridor designation. The changes would not be applicable until actions required by this new legislation are completed on or before June 30, 2024.

Willdan Engineering will present its findings at the April 10 city council meeting. Both studies have been provided to RSO for feedback and approval.

The cost of both studies was estimated at $10,200 and was funded using existing funds designated in the 2023/2024 Operating Budget.

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