City traffic engineers drink Kilroy Koolaid

Apparently the two city traffic engineers who were present to answer the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board’s questions at the meeting of March 28 concerning the impacts of the massive proposed One Paseo project forgot that they were public employees whose first duty is to protect the interests of the communities of San Diego and that they owe the Carmel Valley community an independent, objective assessment.

Apparently they believed that they were Kilroy’s employees, at least they acted as though they were. They did their best to minimize and brush away the obvious significant impacts of adding 24,000 additional trips per day to our already congested roads. “Mitigations” were to solve the problem and would keep the intersections along Del Mar Heights Road functioning. Chief of these was the widening of Via de la Valle and the bridge on El Camino Real, although, by their own admission, this would remove only a few thousand cars, at best, from Del Mar Heights Road. There was talk of additional left turn lanes and of lengthening the onramp to I-5 northbound, although it had, of course, to be admitted that cars would continue to queue up along Del Mar Heights Road to get on that freeway. Perhaps a diamond lane onramp would help? How lovely – and useless. There was also the mention of speed bumps on High Bluff Drive to discourage the use of the residential neighborhood by drivers attempting to avoid the gridlock on Del Mar Heights Road.

And then there was Kilroy’s ever popular “synchronized traffic lights” ploy. These lights would be “satellite” controlled and presumably more effective; however, the engineers had to admit they had not seen them in action anywhere and could only refer to the synchronized lights on San Marcos Boulevard. Of course, they had not talked to the engineers in San Marcos nor examined the functioning of traffic on that boulevard themselves. Had they done either, they would no longer be able to use the San Marcos experiment in Kilroy’s support.

The additional traffic generated by the existing entitlement, 550,000 SF, would be 6,500 daily trips as compared to the 24,000 daily trips proposed by Kilroy’s 1.4 million SF project. The DEIR described the traffic impacts from Kilroy’s project as “significant” and “unmitigable.” The city’s traffic engineers attempted to support Kilroy’s proposed project by referring to speculative and unrealistic mitigations, which may never actually materialize, and, if they do, are likely to be ineffective to compensate for the enormous increase in traffic this proposed project would generate. These city traffic engineers failed the Carmel Valley community gravely in providing an independent and objective assessment of the traffic impacts of this proposed massive project. They get a Level of Service – F.

Gabriele Prater

Carmel Valley resident

Past Vice Chair, CV Planning Board