Once upon a time there was a brand new city with many helpful folks in charge, some of whom may have done us dirty. Traffic being a big scary monster that had to be slayed, excellent roads were built from here to there, and from one neighborhood onto others the cars were steered away. Crest Drive vs. Lake Drive was the nightmare that ensued when the rulers didn’t like the use of theirs as a thoroughfare.
For about a mile south of Santa Fe, this public street was at one point in time made one-way, barricaded, striped to prevent access, and speed bumpered to this day for reasons some of which were outrageous and I can’t even begin to relay. Lawsuits were filed and it almost tore the city apart.
It was argued that a drunk hit a tree in the middle of the night, so they claimed the children must surely be endangered, all right. Other streets had schools and churches and seniors and no sidewalks, but that didn’t apply, as they bitched and squawked. They insisted on having their way, it was virtually privatized, and soon their home values supersized.
There’s actually an abandoned volleyball court at the south end of the joint, now just a swath of shrubs, preventing egress to Sandy Point. Check out the McMansions up there —I like to call it South Fork.
The power players in control at that time (1987) knew all this and continued to protect the privilege of those who lived there. Democratic politicians mostly, we all know their names. Some climbed to reach higher goals and sold; then divorced and remarried into more significant gold.
Fast forward, as remodels are permitted and the city planners do their job to address setbacks and curbs. Oops, there aren’t any of the latter. Last year someone up there made a fuss about this, yelling “Don’t Mess with Crest” in the local fish wrapper, to which I responded with some historical details and suggestions on this controversial matter.
Other than a protest at City Hall by the privileged few, not a word about this has transpired since. Is it because they buttonhole anyone who breaks the code of silence? Don’t mess up our sweet deal, stay under the radar so no one will object that we’re walking in the street and isn’t that neat? There’s hardly a car to be found, while the taxpayers are footing the bill for fire and police and maintenance like every other street in town.
There are hideous long lines of traffic on Santa Fe, Melba, and others throughout the day. To say this part of Crest is a cul-de-sac, or like a canyon dead end, is a weak tactic and delay. Santa Fe used to dead-end before reaching El Camino. Birmingham is a major avenue, and again, why can’t we drive through to the Sandy Point neighborhood and beyond?
Wouldn’t we all like a private street in front of our homes, free from noise and smelly fumes? I don’t like traffic any more than the next guy, but it needs to flow politely where it will on roads paid for with the taxes we all supply. This tale is a classic and deserves to cause a stir. Beware of the same old same old corruption that continues to occur.
Celia Kiewit is an Encinitas resident.