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Pedestrian Priority
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

3D graphic of 11th Street Intersection - Existiing Conditions.
Clone at middle left behind tree.
Graphics from City website.
Click to enlarge.

When City Council returns from their August recess on September 18, they will review an updated downtown streetscape plan for approval, and identify which elements have priority for construction early next year. The updated Plan, vetted at different stages by the community since March and under the direction of the original 1996 consultant Spurlock Landscape Architects, covers both sides of Camino del Mar from 9th to 15th streets. As we go to press the consultant is reviewing which elements of the two draft concepts presented to Council and the community in July were most favored. It is expected that the final recommended plan will be a hybrid of both.

3D graphic of 11th Street Intersection - Concept B.
Clone at middle left behind tree.
Click to enlarge.

Generally Concept A is “narrower in scope leaving existing curb and sidewalk placement” as is, except for changes required to address safety concerns such as improved pedestrian crosswalks and wider medians to accommodate more landscaping and pedestrian refuge islands. Concept B adds consistent sidewalk material throughout the corridor, enhanced paving in pedestrian crosswalks, a raised cross walk at one mid-block crossing, green painted bicycle lanes and a scramble crossing at 15th and Camino del Mar, for example. Feedback from both residents and businesses has favored implementation of as many of both concept elements as possible as soon as possible. There appears to be a groundswell for making Camino del Mar a more park-like, safer route for residents and visitors alike, and to make the changes a priority.

Streetscape Concept B at 11th Street Intersection.
Click to enlarge.


The Del Mar Village Association and the City’s Sustainability Advisory Board provided significant input at Council meetings: DMVA’s top stated goals were to improve pedestrian walkability with contiguous sidewalks and creative hardscaping; improve intersections with bulb-outs and better lighting; improve bike lanes and park-like social gathering spaces. The Association “strongly recommended” that the Streetscape Project …should include all the proposed “Have to Do” measures in the City’s early presentations but also ‘include as many Nice To Do’ measures as can be accomplished during the first phase of implementation.”

The Sustainability Board emphasized that safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, instead of catering only to the automobile, was paramount. “We need a better balance,” their statement reads. “Most city planning seems to be in service to cars; where to park them, how to get them from point A to point B faster, how many can go here or there. It creates an environment of impoverished awareness where we no longer notice little more than the vehicles in front of us.” They emphasized traffic calming features that make the road appear narrower, slow traffic, and improve pedestrian safety. Addressing sustainability issues SAB asked the consultant to consider raised pedestrian crossings as speed reduction devices instead of stop signs “thereby increasing fuel efficiency by reducing accelerations and idling time. Pedestrian crossings as traffic control would benefit from lighted warning indicators to improve safety with minimal energy impacts, similar to the solar-powered pedestrian crossing recently installed near North Beach.”
The preferred plan is expected to be available on the city website a couple of days before the September 18 Council meeting.





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