The intersection of Trabuco Road and Via Del Rio will get a new traffic signal, the City Council decided Tuesday night.
The council unanimously awarded a $3,258,688.80 contract to Environmental Construction Inc. to repair pavement, widen lanes, install landscaping, put in a stoplight and make additional improvements on Trabuco Road between Lake Forest Drive and Bake Parkway.
. On Tuesday, it heeded city staffers' recommendation to include the signal, which will be at the Trabuco entrance and exit to the Forest Creek neighborhood.
"The benefits of the installation of a traffic signal include maximized intersection capacity, reduced frequency and severity of certain types of accidents, and reduced delay," a staff report on the item read.
But Forest Creek resident Jim Richert—who said he helped defeat the proposed signal when the idea for it was initially floated in 1997—said the signal was a bad idea.
"How in the world can you install a traffic light and have reduced delays?" he asked the council. "It defies common sense. That's what traffic lights do. They delay and stop traffic. I'm telling you, people do not want this traffic light."
Councilman Scott Voigts said he would like to have the contractor install the footing for the signal but wait until the planned lane additions and landscaping were completed to see whether traffic conditions really warranted adding the actual pole and light.
But Councilwoman Marcia Rudolph said the council should "move ahead with the whole enchilada." Ultimately, her colleagues agreed.
"This light has been a contentious issue for a long time, but when I look at the analysis done by the professionals to justify the light, it seems to be compelling," Councilman Mark Tettemer said.
The signal is part of . Landscaping, the city staff says, will reduce the speed of drivers on those roads, which increases safety. The Trabuco project will add medians, sidewalks, a bike lane and other amenities.
The total cost to complete the project is expected to be $3,730,942.80, according to city staffers.