By Kristina Houck
Community members will have more places to safely walk in Del Mar this summer.
As part of a multi-year citywide sidewalk connectivity project, the city is installing 12,000 square feet of sidewalks in the Beach Colony along Camino del Mar from 22nd Street to the San Dieguito River Bridge.
Construction will begin in March for the nearly $1 million project, which will also feature 2,800 feet of new curbs and gutters, 20 pedestrian ramps, pavement rehabilitation and irrigated planting areas. Scheduled for completion by Memorial Day, the project also includes underground storm drain infrastructure on the east side of Camino del Mar at 27th Street.
“We’ve always thought that some improvements needed to be made along Camino del Mar,” said longtime Del Mar resident Frank Mannen during an informational open house Feb. 19 at the Powerhouse Community Center. “We’re delighted to see that the city has the funds and the policies in place to do the work. It’s a much-needed improvement.”
Del Mar staff gathered at the city-hosted open house to provide attendees with information and answer questions about the project.
“We know that the project’s going to have some impact when we start doing the work, so we wanted people to know that we’re out spending their tax dollars doing the things that they want to see built,” said the city’s Director of Public Works Eric Minicilli.
Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu was also in attendance to show her support of the project.
“I’m excited about this,” Haydu said. “It will be nice to have sidewalks. There are also drainage problems. If we ever have rain in that area, this will help that.”
The project, which will complete the original Camino del Mar Streetscape Plan in the Beach Colony, is expected to cost $963,000. The city is using a financing plan offered by the San Diego Association of Governments, which issues bonds to advance construction projects. To pay the debt, Del Mar will use the roughly $200,000 it receives in SANDAG TransNet funds each year. TransNet is a countywide, voter-approved half-cent sales tax that helps fund regional transportation projects.
The Del Mar City Council on Sept. 16 approved nearly $3 million in sidewalk, street and drainage improvements, voting at the Jan. 21 meeting to borrow 100 percent of the funds needed to complete the first three segments of the sidewalk improvement project. The Beach Colony improvements are the first of three segments that will be funded with SANDAG bonds. The other two projects will improve segments of Camino del Mar in the downtown area and the southbound side of Jimmy Durante Boulevard.
The council on Feb. 17 awarded a nearly $600,000 contract to Nasland Engineering so the firm can design the other two segments and the remainder of the citywide sidewalk project. Designs will also be completed for segments along Camino del Mar, from Ninth Street to Fourth Street, and from Fourth Street to Carmel Valley Road, as well as the northbound side of Jimmy Durante Boulevard. Construction of those segments will be deferred until funds are available.
“I just think it’s a positive step we’re taking to move these projects forward,” said Councilman Terry Sinnott during the Feb. 17 meeting. “It’s taking advantage of an economical way to finance the first three projects, but I’m also interested in the other three projects as well. It’s something I’m hoping we continue to make progress, and we show success in these first three projects and the community will continue to want to move forward with it.”
During construction of the first segment, Minicilli said the public should expect delays, road closures and detours during construction. In addition to the open house, staff sent letters to property owners who will be directly impacted by the project. The city has also sent email blasts and updated its website with information.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” Minicilli said at the open house. “This has been on the books for a long time.”
For more information about the project, visit www.delmar.ca.us/Pages/CDMSidewalkProject.aspx.