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Commentary: To Way or Thruway
Bud Emerson | Klish Way

For many years I have never understood the logic of our road configuration at the southern end of Del Mar. We have one lane going out and two lanes coming in! A blatant contradiction of our Community Plan vision of slowing traffic, narrowing lanes, and encouraging pedestrian character.

We fought the city of San Diego ferociously to narrow the bridge over the tracks to one lane in each direction, until they finally relented and deeded their half to us. Our main rationale was to slow traffic coming into town. Yet as soon as the light releases stopped cars, they enter into what has become a virtual Camino Del Mar speedway, cars accelerating up to 50mph and higher, then powering through the light at 4th into residential neighborhoods—go figure!

Adding to this speedway regime, we introduce a two lane jockeying exercise with cars whipping through the free lane intersection from Carmel Valley Road. In the middle of that tangle come bicyclists trying to maneuver safely over to a narrow cycle lane. It is not a pretty sight. And it is not safe. It sends the wrong message to drivers. And it is not consistent with the values of our Community Plan.

We got it right at the north end of town and at the bridge on Jimmy Durante Boulevard - slow down cars!. Why not be consistent at the other end of town?
Think of this a “to or through” systems issue. The most important strategic decision made by drivers is at the Genesee off ramp on I-5. There are 3 choices if you want to go “to” Del Mar and 2 choices if you want to go “through” Del Mar. “Through” drivers calculate whether a coastal or freeway will get them past Del Mar faster. Similar ”road diet” measures to slow coastal traffic are being implemented from Solana Beach through Leucadia.

We now have on the City Council agenda a proposal to correct this problem by narrowing the northbound lanes from two to one. The plan also adds a new protected pedestrian and bicycle path on the west side which will further civilize the highway.

The bottom line is we want to reenforce pedestrian and slow speed priorities consistent with our Community Plan. Cars are welcome but on our terms. We need to reassert protection of our quality of life.



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