Bike to Work | Footways not Freeways
Eduardo Savigliano | Via Merano
According to SANDAG, our North Coast Corridor vehicle traffic will grow from 700,000 to 1,000,000 along the 30 mile Oceanside-San Diego I-5 by 2030, a 43% percent increase. CALTRANS response is to increase highway lanes either 50% to more than 75%. Worse yet, at the I-5 / I-56 intersection (Exhibit 5), lanes grow from 8 to 18, or 125%! Is this the best our engineers can do?
The half million human beings that inhabit this 30 mile stretch, plus those who will be added by 2030, will be living the lifestyle designed for them by those responsible for making these significant decisions. The lane multiplication is a 1950’s solution we can no longer afford physically or environmentally. Rather planners must begin designing communities that will allow mixed uses, pedestrian activities and effective fuel efficient public transportation. There is not enough of this in CALTRANS North Coast Corridor Plan. Are the I-5 NCC professionals even working with the adjacent city planners? What happened to the City of Villages concept?
It is also impossible to understand why the I-5 Corridor and I-56 intersection continue to be handled as two separate projects by CALTRANS. If it is not possible to work together in the same agency, how realistic is it to think that the authorities are interacting with our communities to reverse gears and reduce the flow of vehicles to the Corridor. Solutions and examples of how to do this abound. We need to be leading the way; we are one of the most progressive communities in the world.
Our neighborhoods will be impacted by the proposed Southbound I-5 fly over connecting to I-56. Compounded by the additional lanes proposed, this expands the Freeway footprint higher, encroaching into our residential air space and creating an unpredictable increase of Freeway noise and air pollution. This will substantially impact homes on the hills in the Torrey Pines area. While I fear these Freeway connections will be done no matter what, their spectacular mega-scale, the traffic volume they are expected to facilitate and the cost we’ll have to bear need to be questioned and brought to reasonable solutions.
Planners please put your pencils down and engage citizens in this process of broad significance, as it does not pertain to the way we are going to drive our vehicles into 2030, but how we are going to live those years. The results are directly tied to what we decide to do throughout this process.