By Gordon Clanton
Here is an idea to mitigate traffic impacts of the proposed One Paseo shopping center in Carmel Valley. This idea is independent of very important ongoing discussions about density and the mix of businesses.
My proposal assumes that, no matter how large the final project, it will bring enormous new traffic burdens to both Del Mar Heights Road exits from I-5 and to the surface streets that border the new shopping center – and, further, that it is desirable to get as much of this new traffic as possible off of the adjacent thoroughfares as quickly as possible.
Here is the proposal: Imagine a one-way clockwise loop around the perimeter of the One Paseo site, built on One Paseo property at the developer’s expense. Cars heading for the shopping center from eastbound Del Mar Heights Road would enter the loop via a new right-hand lane beginning at the end of the eastbound freeway off ramp. Cars also could enter the loop diagonally from eastbound Del Mar Heights Road and southbound El Camino Real.
Once on the one-way loop, cars could exit diagonally to the right through several passages into the parking lots nearest their destinations or exit diagonally to the left to exit the center and merge with eastbound DMH Road or southbound ECR. The loop could be three lanes wide – a center lane for through traffic, a right lane for easy entry to parking, and a left lane for re-entering adjacent surface streets. Because cars would enter and leave the loop diagonally, there would be no new traffic signals and no left turns at the entrances to and exits from the loop.
The section of the loop parallel to Del Mar Heights Road could be separated from the thoroughfare by a landscaped berm running parallel to the street and the existing sidewalk. Pedestrians could enter the center from the landscaped southwest corner of DMH Road and ECR through a pedestrian tunnel under (or bridge over) the loop road.
I am not planning professional. I offer these ideas for what they are worth and welcome feedback from the professionals, the developers, the opponents of the current proposal, and the general public.
Just as new residential developments must pay for the roads, schools, and sewers they will need, why not require big new shopping centers to absorb onto their property the extra traffic they generate, thus minimizing traffic on adjacent public thoroughfares?
Gordon Clanton teaches Sociology at San Diego State University.
He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.