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Tall Tales of North City West
Diana Scheffler | Boquita Drive


Carmel Valley Road East in Carmel Valley when it was first proposed as “North City West” in 1975. Provided by Diana Scheffler

The original 1975 plan for North City West (now Carmel Valley) is quite amazing by today’s standards. It describes a town center serving the entire community, as well as neighboring Del Mar Heights - our current Ralphs Shopping Center, or Del Mar Highlands Town Center. Additionally the plan shows four small neighborhood centers for local neighborhood shopping which were never built. Most amazing of all, the plan called for a transportation system: collector streets were to serve the various neighborhoods, with separate systems for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. On these streets would be an intra-community bus system connecting with the transit systems operating on major streets and on the freeways beyond. This was all in recognition that community development to date (1975) had resulted in almost total reliance on the automobile and the result was congestion.


Intersection of I-5 and Carmel Valley Road today.
Photo Google Earth.


The plan was never fully implemented, and we do have congestion. But Carmel Valley is nonetheless a planned community and residents currently enjoy many amenities– landscaped medians, tree-lined streets, even some pedestrian and bicycle friendly paths.

Now Kilroy Development Corporation wants to provide us with a “pedestrian-oriented, walkable community in the heart of Carmel Valley.” This may sound like just what we need and in the spirit of the original Community Plan. But, One Paseo would be an island of walkability, featuring high end shops and restaurants, attracting residents of Carmel Valley, but also drawing from neighboring communities.

How to Join the
One Paseo Resistance

1.Go to www.whatpricemainstreet.com/ (WPMS) and click on the “Get involved” button.

2.Keep your eye open for important public meetings to attend, and bring a neighbor.

3.Send your own message to any or all of the following :

Sherri Lighter, Councilmember for District 1: sherrilightner@sandiego.gov


Bob Filner, Mayor, City of San Diego: BobFilner@sandiego.gov


Frisco White, Chair of Carmel Valley Community Planning Board: white@wwarch.com


Terry Sinnott, Mayor, City of Del Mar: tsinnott@delmar.ca.us


Dave Roberts, County Supervisor, District 3: dave.roberts@sdcountry.ca.gov

4.Write letters to the editors of the following media:

Del Mar Times | Rancho Santa Fe Review | Carmel Valley News | Solana Beach Sun: editor@rsfreview.com


KPBS reporter Amita Sharma: www.kpbs.org/staff/amita-sharma/


Voice of San Diego reporter Andy Keatts: andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org


San Diego Reader: www.sandiegoreader.com/letter-editor/


San Diego Union (It’s worth a try!): letters@utsandiego.com

5.Write to Move San Diego which supports sustainable transportation. Move San Diego has endorsed the One Paseo project; tell them they’ve made a mistake: Elyse Lowe, Executive Director, Move San Diego: elowe@movesandiego.org

(A ten-mile radius is used in the project’s profitability study.) Our streets as they are designed now, cannot carry the traffic that would be generated.
Because this new community, One Paseo, would be built on a vacant site currently zoned for 500,000 sq. ft. for offices only, Kilroy must change the existing Community and Precise Plans again. As part of the process required by the California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, Kilroy has had to provide an analysis of the traffic that would be generated by 1,400,000 sq. ft. for mixed use, and to propose solutions (mitigations) for the resulting gridlock. The solutions proposed are such things as extra turn lanes, longer turn lanes, and three new synchronized traffic lights on Del Mar Heights Road.

Engineers from the City of San Diego, responsible for reviewing the Kilroy plan, spoke before a crowded meeting of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board on March 28 to explain the complex mitigation plan. From their engineering perspective, they concluded that these measures would be successful in keeping additional traffic delays to very slightly more than what we experience now.

We who live in or visit Carmel Valley know that the current traffic situation is bad and getting worse. Beyond that, many of us found the engineers’ explanations at the March 28 meeting unconvincing and counterintuitive. Every one of the mitigations proposed is focused on accommodating automobiles at the expense of pedestrians or cyclists. Del Mar Heights Road would become just another multi-lane thoroughfare; any semblance of pedestrian and bicycle friendliness would be gone for good. Have we not learned that catering to automobile traffic just encourages more automobile travel?

Plans, like budgets, are made to be revised. But must we give up the last remnants of the ideals expressed in the 1975 plan for North City West?




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