A $1.3-million plan designed to remove a major traffic bottleneck and to allow traffic to flow more smoothly along downtown's main street--Broadway--won unanimous approval Monday from a San Diego City Council committee.
However, the traffic plan includes a last-minute addition of a ban on left turns between 4th and 8th avenues, a restriction that downtown businessmen have fought for 10 years.
Russell Crosby of the city Engineering Department said that an experiment conducted between 4th and 6th avenues during construction and renovation of buildings in the area removed left-turn lanes at the three intersections without causing traffic tie-ups or bringing complaints from motorists. He recommended that Broadway traffic lanes be restriped to eliminate left-turn lanes from 4th to 8th avenues to widen Broadway's four through-traffic lanes.
Crosby said that a ban on left turns in the four-block area would speed traffic appreciably along Broadway.
Crosby said the only alternative traffic solution along the narrowed section of Broadway would be to retain the left-turn lanes and to narrow the through-traffic lanes to a point that would require banning large trucks from the street.
The projected improvements include reconstruction of the Broadway street surface, installation of decorative paving tiles at intersections, landscaping and plantings along the sidewalks, and construction of bus stop shelters. Later phases would extend the improvements eastward on Broadway.
Matt Spathas, a Central City Assn. board member, said the downtown business group was solidly behind the Broadway street improvement and beautification plan but opposed the left-turn ban until further traffic studies of the impact of such a restriction.
With the closure of C Street to auto traffic and the termination of E and F streets at the Horton Plaza Shopping Center, Spathas said, "it is confusing enough as it is" to motorists trying to find their way through the downtown area.