EIR for proposed roundabout available for comment

EIR for proposed roundabout available for comment
A draft environmental impact report for the traffic control improvement project for the intersection of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive that includes a proposed roundabout is available for public comment. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — Residents have until Jan. 14 to weigh in on an environmental impact report for the traffic control improvement project for the intersection of Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive.

The draft EIR analyzes a proposed roundabout, a traffic signal and a no-project alternative.

During an informational update at the Dec. 7 meeting, City Engineer Tim Thiele said an environmental analysis indicates minimal or no impacts in about a dozen categories, including air quality, land use, noise, public services and greenhouse gas emissions.

He said the project could have significant impacts and require mitigation in three areas. Aesthetically it has the potential to create light and glare.

Because construction noise may negatively impact nesting birds at the site a study will need to be conducted to ensure no nesting activity when and if the project gets underway. There is also an indication that the traffic signal could cause significant backups and delays.

According to the findings the roundabout has been deemed the “environmentally superior alternative” because it provides for improved circulation for traffic conditions now and in 2035.

During off-season conditions it will reduce vehicle delays and air pollution, Thiele said. It also will improve safety for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists and accommodate U-turns on Jimmy Durante Boulevard at San Dieguito Drive.

“The improved traffic circulation also provides benefits to local air quality, greenhouse gases, and noise,” the staff report states. Additionally, the roundabout will not create the potential visual impacts of traffic signal poles.

Thiele said the traffic signal and roundabout could both result in longer vehicular queues under 2035 San Diego County Fair conditions.

Dale Domingo, a traffic engineer with Fehr and Peers, said the traffic analysis was based on an annual growth rate of .5 percent, which came from the San Diego Association of Governments regional transportation plan travel demand model.

Domingo said traffic projections include all planned and approved projects and trips that would be generated by Watermark, a multifamily complex proposed for the southeast corner of the intersection.

The draft EIR can be viewed on the city website. Hard copies are available at City Hall and the library.

Comments must be submitted in writing via email, mail or hand delivery by 5 p.m. Jan. 14. The consultant’s response to comments will be available for public review Jan.22.

The City Council is scheduled to take action on certifying the final EIR Feb. 16.

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