Pilot program for revitalizing Camino del Mar

Del Mar’s Community Plan envisions an economically vital and pedestrian-oriented downtown serving both residents and visitors. Unfortunately, given the city’s budget constraints, it has been challenging to allocate the resources necessary to develop plans and stimulate projects designed to revitalize downtown Del Mar. Luckily, the Downtown Repaving and Streetscape Plan for resurfacing Camino del Mar and rehabilitating adjacent sidewalks presents a unique opportunity for enhancing pedestrian movement in the downtown core.

The city is considering a pilot program for Camino Del Mar aimed at promoting a more pedestrian-friendly environment, increasing parking and calming traffic. The focus area includes the southbound lanes of Camino Del Mar between 15th and 12th Streets and is examining options for a single lane of southbound traffic, town-and-country parking, and bicycle travel — all in conformance with the original goals of the Community Plan.

Over 14 alternatives are being evaluated. One alternative for town-and-country parking includes a bicycle-friendly approach that involves backing into parking spaces to assure safe access. Bicyclists favor this approach because of the increased visibility a car has when pulling out of a parking space.

Other issues include where to begin the transition from two lanes to a single lane, which could begin north of 15th Street at the entrance to L’Auberge or south of 15th Street. The extent of the study area is also being discussed and could include the blocks between 15th and 12th streets or could be limited to the blocks between 15th and 13th streets. The number of additional parking spaces to be gained will depend on the final design and ranges from six to 26 spaces.

The program will restripe Camino del Mar without permanent construction, allowing for future changes as necessary. The program is proposed for one to three years and will require quarterly monitoring for effects on the village core and nearby residential neighborhoods.

Staff presented the pilot program at the Traffic Parking Advisory Committee after notices to surrounding residents and businesses, as well as the Finance Committee, the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Design Review Board and the Planning Commission. The program is scheduled for presentation to the City Council for a decision in January 2010. Please e-mail your comments and questions to ccrawford@