One Paseo is not smart


In his April 25 letter, Robert Scott argues that One Paseo meets one of two notable goals of the Carmel Valley Community Plan: the provision of a “centrally located town center… which emphasizes … mixed uses.” He admits that the project does not provide for the second goal, a public transit component, stating that this linkage with surrounding neighborhoods can and should be mandated by the City.

Mr. Scott fails to tell us that the original plan was for the town center to supplement the services of smaller neighborhood centers connected by bikeways and pathways and mini buses to the town center. The town center would then provide a transportation hub to connect the whole of the Carmel Valley community to greater San Diego. In 1975 planners had already recognized that suburban development leads to traffic congestion as residents jump into their cars to go to anywhere else.

But Carmel Valley was developed without the transportation component and with three-car garages instead. Residents do jump into their cars to go, even to the town center. Residents from the adjacent community of Del Mar Heights do the same. A community is shaped by its circulation system, and Carmel Valley is most definitely automobile-centric, as are the surrounding communities of Del Mar Heights, Solana Beach, and the City of Del Mar. Public transit systems depend on density to thrive; this is suburbia.

So much for transportation. But Mr. Scott nevertheless sees One Paseo fulfilling the dream of a village linked to the wider neighborhood. On the contrary, One Paseo would provide another magnet for automobile traffic, far beyond the capacity of roads built to serve the existing town center. It would be a destination shopping mall masquerading as a village.

Kilroy Realty, the developer, recognizes this fact and has prepared a solution for the traffic congestion their project would cause. This solution involves dedicating the main arteries of the community to the automobile. Traffic would be constant and heavy; turn lanes would be longer; trees would disappear; traffic lights would take their place. Any possibility that Carmel Valley could one day host a mix of pedestrians, bicycles, and public transit, in addition to cars, will be destroyed. It’s hard enough now for a pedestrian to brave the exhaust fumes near the intersections of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real or the freeway.

No. One Paseo belongs in communities such as the ones listed by Mr. Scott: La Jolla, Encinitas, and Little Italy. Those are dense mixed use urban communities with well-developed transit systems. Planners and developers have betrayed Carmel Valley once by ignoring the importance of the transportation element of an enlightened community plan. Let’s not make another mistake and forever destroy what is still a gracious planned community.

Diana Scheffler, Architect, AIA

Torrey Pines Community