OCEANSIDE — After seven years of traffic circulation planning, public meetings, and plan revisions, City Council voted to scrap two alterative traffic circulation plans and stick with slight modifications to the circulation plan set in 1995, in a 3-2 vote on June 20.
Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.
The modified plan still needs to receive a final OK from council.
As is, the plan gives the go ahead to construct the Rancho del Oro Road state Route 78 Interchange, expand College Boulevard to six lanes, extend Melrose Drive at North River Road to state Route 76 and at Spur Avenue to North Santa Fe Avenue, build the Pala Road extension, and make Mission Avenue a one-way couplet between Cleveland Street and Clementine Street.
The plan also improves the bicycle transit networks, widens selected sidewalks, and adds a landscape buffer between pedestrians and the roadway in select areas.
There has been strong community opposition to most of the plan.
Residents have spoken against the Rancho del Oro Interchange, the expanding of College Boulevard from Oceanside Boulevard to Roselle Drive, both Melrose drive extensions, and the Pala Road extension.
Wood said he is disappointed that the council majority approved road changes that residents said they do not want.
Wood added that it is unlikely funding will be secured for all of the proposed roadways.
“We can’t pay for them,” Wood said. “There’s no one who’s going to build them.”
Sanchez said she sees problems with the proposed road changes that do not make sense, and will probably not qualify for funding.
She expressed strong opposition to the proposed Rancho del Oro Interchange.
“Caltrans said they do not approve a half interchange,” Sanchez said. “It is a tax bill on our residents. There is no possibility of it ever getting funding from the state. It does not make sense. The worse case scenario is we give developers the right to build higher density.”
Councilman Jerry Kern pushed for the modified plan to be approved.
“We should have done the Land Use Element before the circulation plan,” Kern said.
“We need to keep what we’ve got and do circulation on a case-by-case basis.”
He said that he does not believe everything on the plan will be built.
“There are some things on the circulation element that will never get built,” Kern said.
The go ahead also OK’s the Environmental Impact Report that evaluates potential impacts of proposed roadways in all three plans.
“All is not lost,” John Amberson, transportation planner, said. “Real change can happen when we bring in the Land Use Element. We have a blueprint.”
Residents could not share comments at the hearing, but will be able to have their say when the circulation plan returns to council for final approval within a month.