Traffic negatives trump any possible positives — No on Prop J
By Carol Arnold
Over the past several weeks I have read all of the letters to the editor regarding Prop J with great interest. I am perplexed that some of the writers believe that if Del Mar residents don’t like aspects of the plan, they should still just vote for it anyway and hope that the problems can be “tweaked” as time goes on. There are certainly desirable aspects to the proposal, but none of them outweighs the one point I can’t accept: Prop J means narrowing Camino Del Mar, a major thoroughfare — one serving a racetrack/fairgrounds which draws tens of thousands of people into our community every year — from four lanes down to two lanes, with roundabouts servicing side streets on steep inclines. And let’s not forget that the cars parked in the new diagonal parking spots have to back out into that one lane of traffic — how is that going to help traffic?! And what about pedestrians/tourists trying to safely cross this non-stop stream of traffic? I am not a traffic engineer, but I do think I have a fair amount of common sense — and this plan to narrow Camino Del Mar and put in traffic circles seems totally illogical to me. I just don’t see how that can be overlooked as a huge obstacle to voting for the plan.
Yes, downtown Del Mar needs revitalizing, but it’s just not realistic to think that by narrowing the main road through town we can create a “walkable community” for Del Mar. That horse left the barn many decades ago. Camino Del Mar is a major artery between La Jolla and the rest of North County, and it is one of the primary access routes to a very large entertainment venue (the race track), a situation unlike Bird Rock and Leucadia Blvd., which are often cited as comparable areas with traffic circles. That’s just a fact. We cannot pretend we are an isolated small community with a local road running through it.
I live west of Stratford Court and the knowledge that this plan could cause a massive increase in the overflow traffic from Camino Del Mar down to Stratford is disturbing. I am not comforted by the $100,000 set aside to “mitigate” problems caused by the overflow traffic. Once all of the time and money are spent to narrow Camino Del Mar (and Oh, what a mess it will be during the construction/destruction of the road) it’s not likely that it can or will be changed back! Anyone living on/near the major roads above and below Camino Del Mar has to be concerned about the attendant potential for increased traffic, decreased quality of life, and damage to property values.
Our major problems in downtown Del Mar are a lack of adequate parking and a not-unrelated dearth of interesting street level shops (we actually have quite a decent number of restaurants — there just isn’t a good mix of retail). Narrowing Camino Del Mar will do nothing to address those primary issues — it will only add problems — and since it’s such a major component of Prop J, I can’t vote for the plan.