I attended the Aug. 8 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting at which Kilroy’s design team discussed the community benefits associated with the One Paseo proposal. The presentation and discussion purposely excluded any project-specific details, instead focusing on proposed improvements outside the project boundaries and proposed methods to interconnect the project with the greater community. Most of what I heard I liked. Some of the ideas need more consideration and discussion. Most importantly, Kilroy demonstrated that they are listening to the voices of the community.
I liked the community benefits proposed by Kilroy. I like that they have hired Mike Stepner, former city architect who helped pen the original Carmel Valley (North City West) Community Plan. He is “big picture” thinker and an asset to the Kilroy team. I like that they are opening up the design and looking “from the outside in” with improvements to better integrate the project within the context of the community. I like that their emphasis is on place-making and the human/pedestrian experience. I like that they are committing to a loop shuttle to connect the town center area to surrounding neighborhoods. I like their efforts to make better community linkages, notably with the Carmel Valley Rec Center. As a cyclist and Torrey Pines Reserve enthusiast, I really like their offer to build the I-5 undercrossing for the SR56 trail.
While I was impressed with most of what was discussed, I believe we can and should expect more out of Kilroy and our planning board. I heard from more than one board member a desire for a frontage road along Del Mar Heights Road to access One Paseo. I can support a turnout lane but I do not support the notion of a frontage road. Adding a frontage road creates more paving and the perception of wider streets at the expense of the pedestrian and bicyclist. This is not Clairemont Mesa. More effort needs to be done to seek creative, outside-the-box solutions to address overall community mobility. Adding lanes is not the only solution.
The Aug. 8 planning board meeting made great strides in establishing a more meaningful dialogue between Kilroy and the community. I heard Kilroy provide substantive details and offer real community benefits in response to community comments. Let’s build off this momentum and keep the discussion going to find a project design of appropriate size and scale to create our town center and maintain our community character. There’s still much work to do…
Robert Scott, AICP, LEED AP
Robert Scott is a land-use planner and 10-year Carmel Valley resident. He can be reached at (858) 480-1098 or by visiting: www.rjsplanning.com