City explains plans for village improvements

Del Mar residents got their first look at the city’s streetscape enhancement plans at an open house held Tuesday night. In a sped-up process, the final design plans are expected to be complete by Oct. 22, according to Eric Minicilli, deputy public works director.

“This is a very time intensive process, we want to get comments as soon as possible,” Minicilli said.

Once their design plan is sharpened, the city won’t dawdle in getting the work done, knowing how it will impact local businesses and residents, Minicilli said. He said they want to avoid working during busy tourist months. Construction will begin at the beginning of 2010 and is expected to be complete by the end of February.

From 11th to 15th street, there will be new sidewalks and driveway tree grates and new landscape median from 15th to 14th Street.

The project will be paid for by TransNet funds and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, part of the federal stimulus package.

“I think this is a great first step,” said Larry Brooks, a 15-year Del Mar resident. “We have new people in the city who are really making a difference,""

“We’re pleased with what they’re doing,” echoed his wife Martha Brooks.

The were drawn to the new tree grates - currently tree grates are just brick and Larry Brooks said people have to tiptoe around them do to sprinkler heads poking out of them.

Pedestrian connectivity and safety seemed to be what most people are looking for.

“As the wife of a person who uses a wheelchair, it’s important to have better accessibility for people with impaired mobility,” Joanne Sharp said.

Sharp said she hopes new sidewalks will be non-obstructed and will smooth out the current bumps and cracks. She is especially happy that they are adding more access ramps to sidewalks.

It’s also hard for her husband Dennis to visit Del Mar because of limited handicapped parking spaces, she said, and she hopes the city will take advantage of this opportunity to add more. Not just for people in wheelchairs, she said, but for all who have trouble getting around.

“Whenever you have a new project or remodel that’s the time to do it,” Sharp said.