Ann Gardner | Via Latina
|Photo Ann Gardner.
Click to enlarge.
While acknowledging the need for public transit to transportation hubs that whisk people to UTC, universities and downtown jobs, Carmel Valley residents at a recent San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) workshop voiced their most urgent need for local transit. “When my older father came to live with us,” one participant said, “he was stuck at home depending on me for getting out.” The frustration of having “not one single bus” to provide local transportation was the echoing call at a workshop organized by Sonya Solinsky, Carmel Valley Planning Board Public Transit leader.
By the end of the one and half hour of presented information and feedback it became clear that the lack of local public transit was a quality of life issue for many. The current dependence on automobiles for transportation to basics such as work, school, the beach, the library and recreation center, to movies and shopping at Del Mar Highlands, was at the heart of frustrations with single car driving: congestion, irritable drivers, pollution, lost time and for some unable to drive, isolation. San Diego City Councilman Nathan Fletcher introduced the workshop citing the difference between his growing up looking forward to getting a driving license to his sons not wanting a car because of the costs and getting stuck in traffic.
The workshop was one of many being held by MTS throughout the County to gather input from residents on how to better provide public transit. The 50 plus participants gave a resounding “We don’t have ANY public transit in Carmel Valley.” And in fact Carmel Valley east of I-5 IS stranded. MTS is a public transit provider for San Diego County, operating both bus and trolley services the includes 300,000 trips taken by passengers each week day or more than 86 million each year, with 925 vehicles that carry an average of 33 people per hour between 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. But there are no bus routes in Carmel Valley; the closest route is the north/south NCTD (North County Transit District) connection that runs along Camino del Mar, stopping along the way at Del Mar Heights Rd and Pacific Coast Highway. The Carmel Valley Planning Board wants to change that to add an east/west corridor along Del Mar Heights Road from Del Mar all the way to I-15 at the Sabre Springs Transit Station.
What did the participants value most?
1. Viable Alternative to a Car
2. Reduce Traffic Congestion
3. Reduce Green House Gases
4. Increased Frequency
The workshop is part of MTS process to determine a “project list” to be put on the Ballot Measure for 2020.