Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Is there any coordinated adaptive traffic system in the city?

    Yes, there is an existing Adaptive Traffic Signal System, Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS).  Currently, the City has twelve (12) intersections on adaptive signal control along portions of East H St, Telegraph Canyon Rd, and Otay Lakes Rd.  This system aims to reduce driver delay, lower emissions, and improve safety through the optimization of adaptive signal control.

  • Can you put a crosswalk at intersection?

    The California Vehicle Code (CVC) defines crosswalks as the part of a roadway that is an extension of the walkways or sidewalks at the intersection.   Unless there’s a sign saying not to cross the street there, the crosswalk already exists.

    Not all crosswalks are marked.  That’s for a good reason: studies have shown that pedestrians at intersections where there are no stop controls or traffic signals are more likely to be struck by a vehicle while in a marked or painted crosswalk than in an unmarked crosswalk.  The reason apparently is that marked crosswalks may give pedestrians a false sense of security, believing that motorists will yield to them.

    Crosswalk markings are used to guide pedestrians to an appropriate crossing location.  The markings are not nearly as visible to an approaching motorist as they are to the pedestrian.  At intersections without stop signs or traffic signals (uncontrolled intersections) where it’s obvious where pedestrians should cross, crosswalks probably shouldn’t be marked.

  • How to report traffic signal lights and street light malfunction?

    You can report malfunctioning traffic signal lights and street lights 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the Police Department at (619) 691-5151 or during normal business hours to Public Works – Operations at (619) 397-6000. You may also do so online by visiting our Service Requests page.


  • How long can a car stay parked on public roadway?

    Since the roadways are public, they are subject to the laws of the California Vehicle Code and the Chula Vista Municipal Code.  As long as vehicles are parked correctly, they are subject to the 72-hours parking limit.  Each home is typically required to have at least a 2-car garage and driveway in order to provide sufficient off-street parking.  For any home, the vehicles should first be parked within the garage.  Secondly, the driveway should be utilized.  Third, use any legal parking space available on the local public street.

    Any vehicle exceeding that limit is subject removal by the Police or Fire Departments in accordance with sections 22651 and 22669 of the California Vehicle Code.

    If you think there is an abandoned car in your neighborhood please call the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5151.

  • How can I get a stop sign installed on a neighborhood street to slow speeders down?

    Stop signs are installed according to the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA-MUTCD) to assign right-of-way at an intersection, not to control speeding.  According to the CA-MUTCD stop signs must meet certain sets of criteria, called warrants, so there is uniformity in their use around the nation.  As stated in the Manuals, uniformity must also mean treating similar situations in the same way, so every motorist understands what is expected of them, and the control devices are respected.  Stop signs are intended to assign right-of-way at an intersection and are not an effective means of speed control.  Installation of unwarranted stop signs results in a higher incidence of drivers violating the stop signs than occurs at a warranted installation.  This increases the possibility for the occurrence of accidents and also encourages a general disrespect for all stop sign installations.  Therefore, the City will not consider installing stop signs as a remedy for speeding problems and will, instead, refer the issue to the Police Department for enforcement.

    When evaluating an intersection for all-way stop control, various factors are studied to determine the need for an installation.  The physical factors (topography) of an area, vehicle volumes and speeds, roadway alignment (vertical and horizontal curves), accident history, pedestrian volumes and available sight distance are all taken into consideration. 

    All-way stop installations are for the assignment of right-of-way.  They work best where there are comparable traffic volumes on each intersecting street.  An all-way stop study may be warranted if there are significant traffic volumes entering the intersection, if there is an accident history at the location involving accidents that are correctable by the installation of an all-way stop and if existing traffic conditions cannot be mitigated by the addition of less restrictive controls (for example, improving sight distance by the addition of red curb).  All-way stop studies are generally not warranted for low volume or minor interior residential intersections where there is no accident history or for “T”- intersections involving a cul-de-sac.

    If there is an intersection that you think we should investigate for the installation of stop signs please contact Traffic Engineering at (619) 691-5026.

  • Can I get red curb painted for School Bus Stop?

    There is no need to paint road to identify “school bus stop.  When a bus needs to stop, a “Stop” sign is engaged to stop traffic in both directions for students’ safety, in accordance with the California Vehicle Code.  In addition, bus stops are frequently relocated based on need and school district policies.

  • Can I get red curb painted in front of the fire hydrant by my house?

    The California Vehicle Code has established the law regarding parking near fire hydrants. Pursuant to section 22514, no person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.

    Generally the City does not paint red curb in front of fire hydrants due to the high cost of maintenance.  The City has thousands of fire hydrants within the city limits and maintaining 30 feet of red curb in front of all of them would take away time that can be spent on other public facilities maintenance around the City.

    If a vehicle is parked too close to a hydrant in a fire emergency, the fire department will use all means necessary to gain access to the hydrant.  In non-emergency situations a vehicle parked within 15 feet of a fire hydrant is in violation of CVC22514 and can be cited by a Police Officer or Parking Enforcement Officer.

    If there is a vehicle parked in front of a fire hydrant, please call the Police Department at (619) 691-5151.  If there is a fire emergency, call 911 immediately.

  • Can the City install Children at Play or SLOW signs on my street?

    Children at Play signs are not recognized by the State of California or the Federal government as official traffic control devices, and are therefore not installed on public streets in the City of Chula Vista.

    Traffic studies have shown that these signs do not increase driver awareness to the point of reducing vehicle speeds or pedestrian accidents.  In fact, placement of the signs may actually increase the potential for accidents by providing a false sense of protection that does not exist and cannot be guaranteed.

  • How are speed limits established and how can I reduce or increase the speed limit on a particular street?

    Speed laws, as well as other traffic laws, are enacted by the State Legislature and compiled in the California Vehicle Code (CVC). 

    All states base their speed regulations on the Basic Speed Law: “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property” (CVC 22350).

    California state law also establishes maximum speed limits. For example the maximum speed on an undivided two-lane roadway is 55 MPH (CVC 22349b).  All other speed limits are called prima facie limits, which are considered by law to be safe and prudent under normal conditions. Certain prima facie limits are established by California law and include the 25 MPH speed limit in business and residential districts and the 25 MPH limit in school zones when children are present.

    Local jurisdictions have authority to establish reduced speed limits on the basis of engineering and traffic surveys (CVC 22358).  Such surveys must include an analysis of roadway conditions, accident records and a sampling of the prevailing speed of traffic, (CVC 627).  Other factors may be considered, but an unreasonable speed limit, which is called a speed trap, may not be established, (CVC 40802).

    The Legislature has declared a strong public policy against the use of speed traps, to the extent that citations issued where a speed trap is found to exist are likely to be dismissed, particularly if radar enforcement methods are used (CVC 40803 – 40805).

    A provision of the vehicle code that California Courts have generally considered very important reads, “It is the intent of the Legislature that physical conditions such as width, curvature, grade and surface conditions, or any other condition not readily apparent to a driver, in the absence of other factors, would not require special downward speed zoning, as the basic rule of section 22350 is sufficient regulation as to such conditions” (CVC 22358.5).  The words, It is the intent of the Legislature, are intended to get the attention of traffic engineers and local jurisdictions in setting and maintaining local speed limits.  Such speed limits must be set carefully, as justified by appropriate factors, to avoid making such limits unenforceable.

    In all other areas the speed limit is set by an engineering and traffic survey which is done once every seven years for each segment of roadway.

    When traffic problems occur, concerned citizens frequently ask why we don’t lower the speed limit.  There are widely held misconceptions that speed limit signs will slow the speed of traffic, reduce accidents, and increase safety.  Most drivers drive at a speed that they consider to be comfortable, regardless of the posted speed limit.  Before and after studies have shown that there are no significant changes in average vehicle speeds following the posting of new or revised speed limits.  Furthermore, research has found no direct relationship between posted speed limits and accident frequency.

    Realistic speed limits help preserve uniformity of speed.  Uniformity of speed is valuable for a number of reasons:

    • It maintains consistency in traffic gaps for crossing traffic.
    • It enables pedestrians to more accurately judge the speed of traffic.
    • It reduces the possibility of conflict between faster and slower drivers.
    • It makes unreasonable violators more obvious to enforcement personnel.

    If you have further questions regarding the establishment of speed limits or a missing or needed speed limit sign, please call Traffic Engineering at (619) 691-5026.

    If you have concerns regarding the enforcement of speed limits please contact the Traffic Division of the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5151.

  • What is the process to have 25 mph Speed Limits posted?

    Regarding the posting of Speed Limit signs on the streets of residential areas in the City of Chula Vista, there are several factors that need to be considered. Generally, we do not post residential streets for two very basic reasons; 1) All residential streets in the State of California have a Prima Facie (“on the face of it”) speed limit of 25 M.P.H. as established by California Vehicle Code.

    This vehicle code section also defines exactly what constitutes a Residential Street, and, 2) the other reason for not posting speed limits on residential streets is simply a matter of money. We have hundreds if not thousands of residential streets in a city the size of Chula Vista, and the cost of posting speed limits on all of them, when it is already something that is enforceable by local Police Departments and should be something that all California drivers are aware of, is not a good use of the taxpayer's dollars. That is one of the reasons for the “Prima Facie” designation.

  • What is a speed hump and what is the speed hump policy?

    The City of Chula Vista does have a City Council Policy titled "Installation of Speed Humps for Residential Streets."  Please see the link below for specific information. A "speed hump" covers the entire width of a roadway, for a distance of about twelve feet, with a maximum height of about three inches. "Speed humps" differ significantly from the "speed bump" which are commonly found in parking lots and other private development areas. Bumps are often higher, and cover much less length of roadway, as little as one foot.

  • Why is sediment considered a pollutant?

    Dirt and sediment are considered pollutants because excessive amounts may cause damage to our delicate aquatic ecosystem. Significant dirt and sediment will smother and suffocate aquatic plant and animal life, and destroy important habitat. Dirt and sediment also carry other pollutants to our sensitive waterways.
  • Can I drain my swimming pool?

    Yes. Pool water may be drained into the storm water drainage system only under the following conditions:

    • Must be free of all chemicals including hydrogen peroxide products or dechlorinating products
    • Must be free of all debris and vegetation
    • Must have an acceptable pH of 7-8
    • Must be free of algae (no green coloring)
    • Must be controlled so the flow does not cause erosion
  • What goes in your recycling bin?

    PAPERS - White paper, colored paper, letters, junk mail, dry food boxes, paper bags, cardboard, milk cartons, paper juice boxes, magazines, newspaper, catalogs, and phonebooks.

    CANS - steel/tin cans, aluminum cans, all California Redemption containers, EMPTY paint and aerosol cans.

    BOTTLES AND JARS - glass or plastic bottles and jars, all California Redemption containers.  For more information, click here.

    Please do not fill your recycling cart so full that the lid will not close.  Blowing litter contaminates and clogs waterways and storm drains.  An additional recycling cart is available at no charge, contact Republic Services at (619) 421-9400.

  • What number should you call to report that your trash / recycling / yard waste was not picked up?

    Contact Republic Services at (619) 421-9400.
  • Where do you dispose of old paint and other unwanted household hazardous waste?

    The City of Chula Vista's household hazardous waste collection facility is now open to the community on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., except for holiday weekends. The facility is located at the City's Public Works Operations Center at 1800 Maxwell Road. Residents can bring up to 15 gallons or 125 pounds of household hazardous waste including paint, auto fluids, etc. For more information, please visit Hazardous Waste Disposal
  • Can you wash your car in your driveway?

    Yes. However, a better choice is to wash your car on or near personal grassy areas, so you're watering the lawn rather than the street and storm drains. Or better yet, take your car to a commercial carwash.
  • Where can I dispose of a Christmas tree?

    Each year, Chula Vista residents can recycle their Christmas trees by placing them out at the curb with their regular trash for pick-up between December 26 and January 5. The trees must not exceed 48-inches in length. Longer trees must be cut to this size. Metal tree stands must be removed. Wooden stands are acceptable. Flocked trees will be picked-up as regular trash. City residents living in apartments should contact their apartment manager for information regarding FREE Christmas Tree Pick-Up. Trees will be collected one day a week at each apartment complex when scheduled through Pacific Waste Services.
  • Where can I dispose of household hazardous waste materials?

    Residents ONLY of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and National City may dispose of these items at the Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility at 1800 Maxwell Road, within the parking lot of the Chula Vista Public Works Facility. Visit their website or call (619) 691-5122 to learn more.
  • How do I report an illegal discharge into storm drains?

    To report an illegal discharge, dumping, or spills into storm drains, please contact the Public Works Department at (619) 397-6000.
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