Letters to the editor: Aug. 13 issue

Let’s just try one roundabout in Del Mar

On Friday, Aug. 7, Logan Jenkins wrote an article (in the San Diego Union Tribune) titled “Bird Rock runs circles around other S.D. ‘hoods.’” In it, he described the seven-year experiment of roundabouts in Bird Rock.

He stated, “For going on seven years, Bird Rock has performed in a San Diego pilot that, in my view anyway, could not be more sublimely successful.” He went on to say, “Five major roundabouts and several smaller ones have turned lead-footed lights into gold. What was once a four-lane stop-and-start speedway is now the calmest, cleanest and prettiest stretch of commercial road in San Diego.”

Bird Rock, in which 22,000 vehicles pass daily, has been transformed through the roundabouts. Apparently, cars now drive much slower than before, but on average they get through Bird Rock faster. What is even more important is that there is far less pollution, because cars are not stopping and starting with all the brake particles and emissions in the air.

In another article in the San Diego Union Tribune recently, researchers have discovered an alarming increase in early-onset Alzheimer’s occurring in people in their 40s and 50s. Some researchers have attributed this increase to increased pollution from motor vehicles.

The Del Mar Beach Colony is divided by Camino Del Mar, and traffic is slowed by numerous stop signs. Many people in the beach colony experience the pollution from brake and road dust as it lands on windowsills and patio furniture. On weekends especially, the roar of motorbikes showing off as they go up Camino Del Mar into town destroys the peace of the beach colony. There was also a tragic accident last year of a lovely young woman killed by a drunk driver who ran a stop sign. As residents in the area, we witness drivers on a daily basis who run stop signs.

The seven-year experiment at Bird Rock has clearly been a resounding success. Del Mar, which experiences the same problems as Bird Rock, should perhaps learn from this community and institute at least one roundabout to see whether it slows traffic and makes it more efficient. It seems a pity that the beach colony, with its multimillion-dollar homes, allows itself to be vulnerable to unsafe traffic, loud noise, and potentially health-damaging pollutants when a simple proven solution could work so well.

Come on, Del Mar, let’s try a roundabout. I suggest the intersection of Coast and Camino Del Mar and Court Street, the site of the fatal accident, as a perfect trial location.

Richard W. Levak,

Del Mar

The ‘new’ One Paseo: Speak now, or ...

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Kilroy and the Carmel Valley Planning Board will host a community workshop to update us on project design progress and solicit more input.

Many residents believe that the settlement between the community litigants and Kilroy largely determined what the new project will be. This is a misperception. As the parties to the litigation have explained, a major accomplishment of the settlement was to bring this mega-project back to the community — Us — with certain parameters attached, including overall traffic generation, building heights and setbacks. And then give Us the opportunity to provide substantive input in total size, precise mix of uses, and visual appeal.

A working group Kilroy assembled has provided some input. But while its representatives are from the community, the job of representing the community is all of ours! We need to attend this meeting to assure ourselves that after a six-year struggle, the proposed redesign addresses our concerns.

Among specific items people have questions about are:

• If traffic has been halved, is the proposed new project also about half its former size? If you haven’t seen it described that way in this publication or others, you probably shouldn’t assume it. Anyone concerned about bulk and scale should insist on being told the proposed project size in order to enable their input. The exact size may not be finalized yet, but depending on how close they are to asking for a Planning Board vote, logic suggests they should be able to give us a pretty tight range.

• Has each of the Uses in the proposed new project been reduced proportionately? Again, if you haven’t seen it reported this way, probably shouldn’t assume that either. As explained in the past, Retail generates many times the traffic of Office and even more so of Residential. So the traffic ceiling in the settlement might cause reductions to be uneven; for example, less reduction on the smallest traffic generator (Residential) and greater reductions in the largest generator (new Restaurants and Shops) would increase project size and value. Attending the meeting will give everyone the opportunity to satisfy themselves on the proportional mix of uses.

This letter isn’t about support or opposition to the new One Paseo proposal. It is to 1) address any misperceptions about the scope of the settlement agreement that may be deterring your participation in the redesign, and 2) urge all of us to attend the Aug. 19 workshop meeting, see the status of the proposed redesign, ask questions about areas important to us and provide timely input to the developer and the Planning Board, a major intent of the settlement.

Robert Freund

What Price Main Street Steering Committee

DM’s design review process has been critical in defining city’s character

Your front-page article on “Public Ire” (July 30) on Del Mar’s citizen advisory committee on the Design Review Ordinance was incomplete and misleading. Telling the rest of the story would have helped your readers understand what is really going on.

If you had attended the first several meetings of the committee, you could have reported how well it is working, how constructive the deliberations are, how welcoming the process is to input from the community. The process for appointing members was fair and similar to many other “ad hoc” committee appointments over several decades, including other committees this year. The composition of the committee is well balanced with expertise, experience, energy, interest, diverse points of view, and a mature determination to examine the design review process and make recommendations for improvement.

As an ad hoc committee, it has no power other than the logic of its recommendations. The formal decision-making process begins after the committee finishes its work. In that formal process, all ideas will be thoroughly aired and debated by the Design Review Board, the Planning Commission, and the City Council, with numerous opportunities for input from all interests in the community. No changes can be made without formal City Council adoption.

Complaints from those who did not get appointed, along with their family and friends’ names on a petition, hardly qualify as “public ire.” There are growing numbers of citizens who are asking for our design review process to be looked at. It is unfortunate that some are trying to politicize a very constructive effort that will stimulate reasoned conversation in the community.

Del Mar’s design review process has been critical in defining the character of Del Mar since the adoption of the Community Plan. The equation is simple: Careful quality control equals highest property values in the region.

Let’s hope our council will not cave in, letting loud voices drown out rational consideration of how to protect Del Mar’s character.

Bud Emerson,

Del Mar

Editor’s Note: The article referenced in the letter above was coverage of what was said at a specific meeting. A follow-up article will be published at a later date to cover the topic in more detail.