Some improvement in fair traffic, parking issues

By Kathy Day

Traffic and parking matters continue to be topics of conversation between fair board directors and representatives of Del Mar and Solana Beach, and while differences remain they generally agree that things are better.

But director David Watson, in a report at the Aug. 14 meeting of the 22nd District Agricultural Association board, said a new shuttle system designed to take fairgoers into the two cities to shop and dine seemed to have a reverse effect.

“People were driving to the cities and shuttling to the fair,” he said, noting that part of the problem might have been the plan went into place “without a long-term marketing plan. We need to get the businesses to market (the service) better in the months leading to the fair.

When director Russ Penniman raised the question “Is it worth bringing up the temporary (rail) stop again?”, Watson said they had decided to focus first on the simple things.

“The rail stop is in the category of long term. It will take a lot of energy,” Watson said. “Right now we are just all learning how to get along,” he added, citing ongoing litigation with the cities.

Barkett said they were making a “good-faith effort on transit issues” that requires the cities to work with the district.

Meanwhile, Watson said, the rail stop is on the table, but until the litigation is resolved it’s not likely any major accomplishments will be made.