Grassroots effort builds to complete Village Loop Road

A neighbor-backed effort hopes to solve the "PHR Traffic Nightmare".
A neighbor-backed effort hopes to solve the “PHR Traffic Nightmare”.

While sitting in traffic in Pacific Highlands Ranch, you might have seen the signs. Along Carmel Valley Road and throughout neighborhood streets, the signs urge people to visit, a new website started by neighbors who are committed to pushing the city to complete Village Center Loop Road.

“This dead-end, 700 feet before the loop completion, isolates thousands of students trying to get to and from Canyon Crest Academy and Pacific Trails Middle schools, as well as a comparable number of daily visitors to our shopping and recreation centers,” the website states. “It also robs commuters; traveling to and from SR-56, Cathedral Catholic High School, and points west; of four critical travel lanes - resulting in a traffic and pedestrian nightmare.”

The website encourages people to email or call Mayor Kevin Faulconer and to spread the word on social media: “It’s time for the city to step up, finish Village Center Loop Road and just ‘Get It Done.’”

Their message is a play on the mayor’s “Get It Done” app where people can request street repairs and neighborhood services.

Village Center Loop Road has long been considered a “critical” circulation element— when connected, it would link back to Carmel Valley Road.

The remaining 700-foot segment of road falls within the 21 acres of private property owned by the Lin family and the owners currently have no plans to develop the property. The money to build the road is and has been available in community funds. Pardee Homes has agreed to build the road with facilities benefit assessment money if an agreement can be reached with the Lin family. The city would need to acquire the right of way to build the road ahead of the family’s development of the property, however, negotiations have reached an impasse.

Since she took office in 2016, Councilmember Barbara Bry has been working to try and resolve the issue, meeting with representatives from the Lin Family Trust until she was informed that only the mayor and not city council has the authority to negotiate contracts on behalf of the city.

Last year, the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board wrote an open letter to the mayor in this newspaper asking for help.

“Our community has rallied around this project. The impact of the current dead-end at Village Center Loop Road is felt by our residents every day. The ensuing traffic creates dangerous situations for the students of the surrounding schools and impacts traffic flow in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Danielle McCallion, the Pacific Highlands Ranch representative on the planning board. “The Carmel Valley Planning Board is in full support of the completing the loop, as are our residents. I sincerely hope the city hears our grassroots message to get the loop completed.”

The PHR Traffic Nightmare site is entirely resident-funded and the signs will be short-lived. Understanding that developers like Pardee Homes are trying to sell homes in the area, resident Bruce Cameron said the signs will only be up for weekday rush hours and he plans to take them down on the weekends.

“This is meant to be a quick-moving storm,” Cameron said, hopeful that the signs will result in a flurry of emails to the city before he removes the signs for good, not wanting to overstay his welcome in the community.

“Collectively, we can help ‘Get it Done’,” said a hopeful Cameron.

The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comments.