Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive
Is a roundabout circling back toward us? Or do we prefer a set of stop signs? Traffic lights? The time is fast approaching when we will have to decide about the intersection of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive. An e-mail notice (Newsflash) was sent out April 16 announcing a Scoping Meeting on April 30 at 6 pm in the City Hall Annex for proposed improvements at the site. It may have thrown viewers for a loop, as the aerial photo showed the crossroads with the river, direction North, at the bottom. Just rotate the image.
The Jimmy Durante Streetscape Improvements Project was put forward last year, but because the City wanted to move forward with the 3500 feet of sidewalk, the City Council voted on January 5, 2015 to put on hold the other part of the Project, which was referred to then as “Construction of a new roundabout.” We are undergoing the extensive sidewalk construction now and readying for the next phase. There is no explicit mention of a roundabout in the Scoping Meeting announcement, nor of traffic lights or stop signs. As they say in world political crises, all options are on the table.
You may remember, the early plans for downtown revitalization that resulted in Proposition J originally included four roundabouts on Camino Del Mar, later pared down to two. The Proposition was rejected by the voters. Plans remained “on the books” of the Parking and Advisory Committee and City staff for other roundabouts along Coast Boulevard at 22nd, 25th and Beach Colony, along with the intersection of Carmel Valley Rd and Camino Del Mar at the north end of the bridge. But the site that is coming to the fore now is Jimmy Durante at San Dieguito.
City manager Scott Huth says the City is open to whichever option the citizens want. Will this open another round of polling? (“This is not an election!”) The Scoping Meeting reflects a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed improvements, whatever they will be, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act. That’s a NOP of a DEIR for CEQA. (Only the last of these, by the way, is a true acronym.) The meeting’s purpose is “simply to identify issues that the environmental documentation will study and address.” That should provide an opportunity for some to express their fears or hopes for how a roundabout might affect our little world.