Freeway issues preventing completion
Over the last three years, Village Center Loop Road has become the road to nowhere.
Residents in the Pacific Highlands Ranch neighborhood of Airoso have grown frustrated that the road to their homes dead-ends with temporary blockades, weeds and unfinished sidewalk.
Karen Dubey, president of the Airoso Homeowner's Association, has fired off fix-it letters to the city, Pardee Homes and the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board. She expects to discuss the issue at the Nov. 14 planning board meeting at the Carmel Valley Library.
Dubey and the rest of the homeowner's association said they are hoping that the temporary roadblocks can be removed and the dead-end can be converted into a cul-de-sac.
Tim Nguyen, an associate planner in the city's Community Planning Department, received Dubey's letter last week and is currently reviewing the situation.
"If we find it's something that's doable, we want to get this done," Nguyen said, noting that a lot of it may rest on available funds.
Currently, the road ends in a traffic signal at Peppergrass Creek, the entrance to Airoso. The row of street blockades sits just beyond the light, where they have sat for more than two years.
"They've been hit by cars, they blow over in storms and many are broken," Dubey said.
The entire row of blockades is chained to a fence on Airoso property and Dubey wonders if it is appropriate that their fence alone is bearing the load.
Just beyond the blockade is unmaintained land where Dubey said weeds have grown at least 10 feet high, and those walking along the street find the sidewalk comes to an abrupt halt at the signs.
The end of the road has proven confusing to some drivers, Dubey said. In three incidents she said people have driven through the green light and crashed into the roadblock.
Waiting on a freeway
Why the dead-end? Well, it's not technically supposed to be one.
In the original Pacific Highlands Ranch subarea plan, the road is designed to go through the current bluff to another neighborhood - homes that haven't been built yet. It is also supposed to access the Pacific Highlands Ranch Village, a planned mixed-use residential and retail center.
The trouble is that with the caps placed on development under Proposition M those future developments can't occur until a connector is built that links Interstate 5 with Highway 56.
The freeway project could be a long way out - Caltrans is currently conducting traffic studies and has not identified the proposed connector solution, be it flyovers or auxiliary lanes.
The project hinges on the funding being available, but the Caltrans timeline tentatively has the connector scheduled six years out, in 2014.
"The current blockades, that's a temporary solution, maybe a one-year solution," Dubey said. "But who knows when the SR-56 connectors are going to be built? We're talking years and years of having to look at these temporary blockades."