The County Service Area 17 – Emergency Medical Services (CSA 17) covers the City of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas and Del Mar Heights Road (DMHR) and other areas. Emergency vehicles are part of fire station 24 across from the One Paseo project. Response times are required to be within 10 minutes of a 911 call 85 percent of the time.
Even the optimistic response time with synchronized lights has One Paseo traffic adding a minute to the journey from Station 24 to the Torrey Pines community west of I-5. On several occasions, I have seen the emergency vehicle stuck in traffic on Del Mar Heights Road while leaving Station 24. I noted that most vehicles try to make room to let emergency responders get through, but Del Mar Heights Road is gridlocked.
CSA 17 has a policy of stationing additional emergency vehicles away from the firehouse as part of its contracted services. In order to have an emergency vehicle on the west side of I-5 in Torrey Pines, we need a structure to house a small breakout room, small kitchen, shower and bathroom area, plus driveway or space for an ambulance-type vehicle. This would only be staffed part-time during peak traffic congestion (12-hour shifts from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). This station would also provide for emergency and fire issues within Crest Canyon. The City of San Diego owns land (a vacant lot on Del Mar Heights Road) where a fire station was once located.
Therefore, the question is what if the optimistic One Paseo traffic studies are wrong? What if synchronized traffic lights do not provide the emergency response time window needed to save lives west of I-5? What if the I-5 North Coast Corridor improvement and I-5/SR-56 Connector projects do not materialize for 5 to 10 years after One Paseo is built?
Let us forge ahead with plans to establish a facility to house an emergency vehicle within Torrey Pines and let Kilroy pay for the capital infrastructure to house the emergency staff, initial start-up operations, and cost of an ambulance. This is being a good corporate citizen.