Ann Gardner | Via Latina
Don’t assume this is a done deal,” three environmental attorneys cautioned local residents at a town hall meeting organized by PLAGUE (Prevent Los Angeles Gridlock Usurping the Environment) to oppose Caltrans’ plan to widen I-5 east of Del Mar and stack up more flyovers at the Carmel Valley/I-56 interchange.
PLAGUE, made up of residents generally from the Del Mar Heights and Del Mar Terrace communities, has retained attorneys Shute, Mihaly, & Weinberger of San Francisco and the Coast Law Group of San Diego to analyze the “largest Draft EIR” Caltrans has ever issued for a freeway project, expected to be released this month. The two firms cited their experience in bringing California’s “strong – the strongest in the Country – environmental laws to bear” in the review of proposed freeways construction projects. Their successes include the defeat of the Caltrans proposal to build the Foothills South Toll Road (Trestles campaign) and the Hatton Canyon freeway project in Monterey.
“Grass roots organizations make a big difference in fighting freeway expansions in order to protect natural resources and public health,” they said, urging attendees to get involved by contacting regulatory agencies, attending every meeting, getting your neighbors involved, writing letters…”participate in every possible way!”
Marco Gonzales, Coast Law Group, said they would recruit partners to help including Southern California Edison. They have a big investment in the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration and would not want to see their promised results killed by freeway expansion, greenhouse gas emissions and drastically increased particle matter dumped into the adjacent, recently restored fish and bird habitats, he said.
Attendees applauded the meeting including a presentation “Bad and Getting Worse: Air and Noise Pollution from Freeways” by Jack Hegenauer (Solana Beach Clean and Green Committee) documenting the increasing levels of harmful dirt and noise levels from freeway expansions. Crystal Crawford, Del Mar Councilperson, urged residents to contact SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) representatives urging them to change the allocation of transportation funding to more mass transit.
Say goodbye to “quiet days at the beach” and in the Torrey Pines Reserve if this goes through Noel Spaid, PLAGUE Chair, declared, “The expansion will change the whole character of our communities. LA has shown that you cannot build your way out of gridlock, just add to it,” she said.
from the P.L.A.G.U.E. website: www.I-5plague.com
The BEST KEPT SECRET in San Diego County is Caltrans proposed massive expansion of the I-5 from La Jolla to Oceanside. The Connector project (connecting I-5 to SR-56) would include a flyover at Del Mar Heights to Carmel Valley at up to 70’ high. THE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON OUR ENVIRONMENT IS ALMOST UNIMAGINABLE! The air quality will suffer, as well as the overall environment of the I-5 corridor. Houses and businesses will be in jeopardy of emminent domain or reverse condemnation.
P.L.A.G.U.E. is a community action group that opposes Caltrans’ (State of California) from turning San Diego into a Los Angeles-like concrete jungle. The proposals include additions up to 22 lanes in some sensitive areas, especially in North County which has 7 ocean lagoons and other environmental areas that will be severely and adversely affected. The additional noise level will be so high it would reach Torrey Pines State Beach as well as every other one up the coast. Caltrans has stated that we cannot build our way out of gridlock and that is exactly what they are proposing to again attempt with 3-4 billion dollars. That is the proposed price now but that will double or triple by the time the shovels start.
For information on how to support PLAGUE go to www.I-5plague.com or contact Carla La Porte at 858 755-2774