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Traffic Control Information

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Welcome to the Traffic Control Information Center for the City of Chula Vista. Here you will find detailed information regarding crosswalks, traffic signals, traffic signs, pedestrian signals, bicycle safety, and speed control.

We hope this section will answer your Traffic Control questions. If you are unable to find the information you need here, please call the Traffic Engineering Division at (619) 691-5026.

Please select from the following list of topics to skip directly to the applicable portion of this page:


What is a Crosswalk?
A crosswalk is a section of roadway often marked by painted lines to allow pedestrians to safely cross the street. There are two kinds of crosswalks: marked and unmarked. Marked crosswalks are delineated by white or yellow markings painted on the pavement. Unmarked crosswalks do not have markings.

Most of the City’s crosswalks are unmarked, however, marked crosswalks can be found at intersections where there is significant pedestrian travel. These include schools and signalized or stop-controlled intersections. It is advisable to cross at a marked crosswalk, as they are more visible to drivers.

How Are Crosswalks Used?
When pedestrians have entered a marked or unmarked crosswalk, by law drivers must yield to allow them to cross the street.

Avoiding Accidents at Crosswalks
Although drivers are required by law to yield for pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks, pedestrians must use common sense every time they step into the street. It is a good idea to wait for gaps in traffic before attempting to cross the street as drivers may not always see crosswalk markings and may have difficulty stopping quickly.

Safety Tips for Crossing the Street

  • Look both ways before crossing
  • Hold small children by the hand when crossing
  • Make sure all traffic stops before crossing
  • Establish eye contact with all drivers if possible
  • Stay on the curb until it is safe to begin crossing
  • Always cross at intersections
  • Cross only at corners where drivers can see you
  • Never cross the street from between parked cars
  • Use the push button signal control and cross with the “Walk” signal only
  • When crossing, be aware of turning cars

Parents should caution their children from playing near roadways. The City provides parks ands playgrounds where children can play with proper supervision. Safe playgrounds are also provided at most elementary schools. Children should also be warned to never accept rides from strangers.

Traffic Signals

Why Are Traffic Signals Needed?

The purpose of traffic signals is to control traffic volume. Sometimes, an intersection becomes too busy to be handled by all-way stop signs. As the City’s population increases so do traffic flows. In order to avoid congestion, traffic signals are added as needed. Here are some of the reasons why we install traffic signals:

  • They provide for the orderly movement of traffic
  • They can increase the traffic handling at an intersection
  • They can reduce the number of certain kinds of accidents, especially at frequent left-turn intersections
  • They can be coordinated and synchronized to provide for nearly continuous movement at specific speeds
  • They can be used to interrupt heavy traffic to permit other traffic or pedestrians to cross

Traffic Signal Synchronization
“Why is this light taking so long to change?” We’ve all asked ourselves that question when sitting at what we believe to be a very long red light. There’s a reason why some lights take longer than others to change - traffic light synchronization.

The goal of synchronization is to get the greatest number of vehicles through the system with the fewest stops. The roads with the most traffic need to keep moving in order to prevent traffic jams. This means if you’re sitting at a red light on a side street, you may have a longer wait for the green light so the busier street can maintain a steady traffic flow.

Left Turn Signals
Making a left turn on a busy street can be difficult at times. If there is no designated left turn signal, it is essential that you proceed with caution or you may find yourself in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

We’ve made an effort to eliminate uncontrolled left turns at as many busy intersections as possible by implementing protected and permissive left turn signals.

Protected left turn signals offer the driver a signal with a green arrow, allowing him or her to make a left turn without the threat of oncoming traffic. The arrow turns yellow to warn the driver that the “protected” left turn opportunity will soon end, followed by a red arrow which means left turns are not permitted at this time.

Protected/Permissive left turn signals, on the other hand, have a green arrow that allows drivers to make a left turn with no opposing traffic and a yellow arrow warning drivers that the “protected” left turn opportunity is about to end.

But when the yellow arrow disappears, a regular green light appears allowing all traffic in both directions to proceed. The left turning drivers are “permitted” to make a left turn if there is an opportunity for them to do it safely.

Traffic Signal Installation Criteria
State and federal guidelines require that intersections meet certain criteria, called “warrants”, before traffic signals can be installed. These guidelines compare existing conditions against national standards. When reviewing an intersection for traffic signal installation, these criteria are taken into consideration:

  • The amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic flow
  • The need to provide interruption to the major flow for side street vehicles and pedestrians
  • Special conditions such as curves and hills
  • The intersection’s accident history
  • The proximity to schools

All intersections must satisfy warrants for traffic signals to be installed, however, not all intersections meeting the above criteria are signalized. Other considerations include traffic delays, congestion and driver confusion, or additional evidence of the need for right-of-way assignment. Signal installations are also subject to fund availability.

Traffic Signal Installation and Approval Process
Traffic signal evaluations involve several steps before a traffic signal meets requirements for installation.

Traffic signal evaluations are performed once a year. Locations studied may include prior approved but unfunded intersections, new requests, as well as other locations recommended by Traffic Engineers. 

Traffic Signs

The purpose of traffic signs is to inform drivers of traffic regulations and to warn of road characteristics or hazards. The City of Chula Vista receives many requests each month regarding the installation of additional traffic signs. Although some inquiries are valid, it is not possible to meet every request.

The Safety Myths of “Slow- Children at Play” Signs

  • Signs warning “Slow - Children at Play” can be confusing to both children and drivers.
  • Drivers may assume that children are playing only where signs are present. Children may be anywhere and drivers should always be prepared.
  • Children may assume these signs make their streets safer for play. Parents should always make children aware of the hazards of playing in or near traffic.
  • There is no evidence that “Children at Play” signs help reduce the speed of vehicles.
  • The State of California and the Federal Highway Administration do not recognize “Children at Play” signs as traffic control devices therefore the City of Chula Vista does not install them on public streets.

Lower Speed Limit Signs
Citizens occasionally request speed limit signs for speeds lower than 25 miles per hour on residential streets. The non-posted speed limit for all residential streets in the State of California is 25 miles per hour and can be enforced.

The California Vehicle Code restricts the locations where speed limits less than 25 mph can be posted. 15 and 20 mph speed limit signs are allowed along narrow streets and near schools, parks, and senior centers.

Stop Signs
Stop signs are usually installed to provide right-of-way control at intersections and to reduce certain types of accidents. Like traffic signals, all stop signs must be warranted by City of Chula Vista guidelines before installation.

The City of Chula Vista will install stop signs only after a location has been studied and only when signs are warranted. The following criteria are considered for stop sign installation:

Accident History

Unusual Conditions

  • The proximity of an intersection to a school, fire station,  playground, senior center or amusement park
  • Visibility obstructions that limit stopping sight distance
  • Grades greater than 6 percent on the downhill approach to the intersection
  • Approach speeds higher than the posted speed limit

Pedestrian Volumes

Traffic volumes – entering the intersection during busy traffic hours

Traffic volume difference – when major artery traffic prohibits side street traffic from crossing

All-Way Stop Signs
All-way stops signs are generally installed where the volume of traffic on the intersecting streets is relatively equal. An all-way stop sign installation may be warranted if any one of the following conditions is met:

  • When five or more reported accidents have occurred within a 12 month period, each of which could have been prevented by an all-way stop sign installation
  • Where any of the warrant system criteria (accident history, unusual conditions, pedestrian volumes, traffic volumes or traffic volume difference) are met at 100 percent
  • Where minimum traffic volumes meet specified criteria

    Two-Way Stop Signs
    Two-way stop signs may be installed at an intersection if one of the following conditions exists:

    • At the intersection of a minor road with a main road if the accident history justifies the installation
    • When a City street intersects with a State highway
    • At the intersection of two main highways where right of way assignment is unclear. Stop signs would be placed on the road with lower traffic volume and speed.
    • At an intersection where the combination of high speed, restricted view, and accident records indicate a need

    Stop Sign Installation Policies
    Stop signs are not used for speed control but instead are intended to assign right of way at an intersection. The City will not consider installing stop signs as a remedy for speeding problems. Speeding issues will be referred to the Police Department for enforcement.

    The City of Chula Vista is required by State law to comply with the guidelines for traffic signs indicated by the California Department of Transportation Traffic Manual as well as the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

    Requests for an all-way stop sign must be submitted in writing to the City’s Traffic Engineering Division: You may send a request to: Traffic Engineering Division, Attn: City Traffic Engineer, 276 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista CA 91910 or via e-mail at . Please include:

    • Your name, address and telephone number
    • The location of the intersection for which you’re requesting stop signs
    • Why you feel this intersection requires stop signs

    Bicycle Safety Tips

    • Riding a bicycle is a great way to travel in the City of Chula Vista as long as you keep in mind a few simple safety tips:
    • Always wear a bicycle helmet
    • Obey all traffic rules and always use proper hand signals
    • Walk your bike across busy intersections by using the push button pedestrian signal
    • Always ride with the flow of traffic and stay as close to the curb as possible.
    • Be sure to check the roadway before entering
    • Always ride single-file and watch out for opening car doors
    • Unless your bike is built for more than one person, do not carry passengers
    • When riding at night, wear light colors and be sure your lights and reflectors are in working condition
    • Select the safest route to your destination and avoid busy intersections if possible
    • Remember – pedestrians always have the right of way
    • Keep your bike in good mechanical condition by regularly checking the tires, brakes and chain
    • Don’t use cell phones or portable music devices when riding

    Speed Control

    Speed Humps
    There is a distinct difference between a speed “hump” and a speed “bump”. Speed humps are lower, wider, and more forgiving than speed bumps.

    Although speed humps are not as severe as speed bumps, they can cause disruption, particularly for emergency vehicles. Therefore, the City of Chula Vista limits the use of speed humps. Limiting factors include, but are not limited to, the speed limit and classification for the street, emergency vehicle and bus routes in the area, and physical characteristics of the road.

    The City of Chula Vista often receives requests for stops signs and other similar measures in an attempt to control speed on local streets. Stops signs and other similar traffic control measures are not an effective means of speed control.

    The City uses a three-tiered approach to deal with speed issues:

    • Education – The City has implemented SMART trailer units, devices that show drivers the speed at which they’re traveling in contrast with the posted speed limit, to remind motorists to drive safely. These units have been effective in many areas.
    • Enforcement – The Traffic Engineering Section works with the Police Department to identify areas for increased enforcement activity.
    Neighborhood Involvement – In most cases, speeders on residential streets are residents in that neighborhood. We’ve found that grass-roots efforts within neighborhoods, like neighborhood meetings and newsletters are effective ways to create awareness about traffic safety as well as other neighborhood issues.

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