Letter: Oct. 30, 2009

Musical to benefit Tijuana school
It was great to read Wehtahnah Tucker’s article about the “Armando and the Blue Tarp” musical for young audiences (Oct. 16, 2009). I teach at Diegueño Middle School, where four of the actors are students. The fifth is at San Dieguito Academy. This musical brings to the stage the story of teacher David Lynch and his work teaching the children of the Tijuana dump. Playwright Pat Lydersen and composer Wendy Woolf have come up with a wonderful play based on Edith Fine and Judith Josephson’s book by the same name. The songs are lively and catchy. The skilled young actors are rehearsing now — they act, sing in harmony, and do choreography that highlights their years of experience on the stage. The preview performance is Nov. 14 at the UCSD Faculty Club. This is a fundraiser for David’s Tijuana school, and all are welcome. Tickets are available at responsibilityonline.org Full performances debut March 18 to March 21, 2010, with classes from Encinitas schools that sign up bused to the shows.
Hilary Crain

Del Mar is changing
Help! Are all Del Mar residents aware that our city, similar to the federal government, is in the process of really changing our town?
1. Most immediately, changing Camino Del Mar southbound to one lane with angle parking between 15th and 12th streets! That is being done to provide a few more parking spaces. That may help the businesses, but could be a disaster for everyone driving a car, or bicycle.
2. Beginning this week, the Form-Based Code Committee is starting the process of designing what they think the future building on each commercial lot will look like. And without limitation on height, use, etc., buildings would likely be more than two-story, with residential use upstairs creating more parking problems, etc., and making the downtown more dense.
A lot of our tax dollars are going into these projects without first asking us, in a cheap survey, if this is what we want. Is it?
If you care, you should immediately look into them, and let the City Council know your opinion before they go much further.

Ralph Peck
Del Mar

Alternative No. 5 the way to go
Although I was not able to attend the several workshops offered by the city of Encinitas regarding the various options for the Streetscape proposals, I have been following the design offerings very carefully. Thus, I was very pleased to see the recent Alternative No. 5 come forth.
I drive this route every day and while I do appreciate the fact that it needs to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, I shudder to think about how the traffic would tie up if the northbound lanes were reduced to one or the roundabouts were put in place. The concept of roundabouts sounds like a great idea — on paper; however, I also drive on Santa Fe Drive almost every day and see how the drivers attempt to maneuver around this “obstacle.”
If drivers were taught how to properly yield and who has the right of way, that would be another story — but they aren’t. In addition, these roundabouts are way too small, thus requiring drivers to make last-second decisions. Combine that with the total lack of directional signal use, it’s just a matter of time before a major accident happens. Have you seen the tire skid marks on the curbs in the roundabout? Doing this on the coast highway is asking for big trouble.
I believe Alternative No. 5 is the best option for both cars and pedestrians — it allows full traffic flow but gives the pedestrian the right of way when needed. I see this as a win-win situation for everyone.

Dr. Jeffrey Anshel

At-grade crossings could be a while

I wish I could encourage the citizens of Encinitas in their quest for at-grade pedestrian crossings, but please don’t let your request delay the projects or cause any funding to be lost. I was project manager for a trail under crossing the same line in San Juan Capistrano. I originally suggested the project in 1982. It was completed in 2006. Suffice to say the various rail authorities and funding agencies are not easy to deal with and less than cooperative. But they have reason for their paranoia regarding allowing at-grade crossings. It has to do with the amount of and cost involved with the litigation brought on whenever a pedestrian is injured or killed while crossing a rail line.
My crossing had been utilized for over 100 years. Going back 20 years I could only find two deaths, one a suicide and a jogger on the track using headsets. I almost had a temporary at-grade approved when a taxi driver killed himself and several passengers while trying to outrun a train in L.A. Granted, it appears to be impossible to be hit “accidentally” by a train. However, in all the above cases the rail operators made sizeable payouts to survivors and perhaps passengers and operators. So I guess we can thank the survivors, courts and/or lawyers for the tax dollars now incurred to create these undercrossings. Five million dollars apiece? Keep in mind how difficult it is to tunnel under a rail line while keeping it operable; the staff involved in design, approval and construction; and providing handicapped access upon completion. And hopefully these undercrossings will have decorative design features and landscaping to reduce vandalism and graffiti.

R. Anthony Foster