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Subcommittee roles clarified in Del Mar

DEL MAR — Anyone confused about the next steps for a roadway improvement project in the south end of the city — and specifically the role of a subcommittee formed to address issues raised at a Feb. 6 meeting — is not alone.

Council members clarified a few issues two weeks later, at the Feb. 21 meeting, after city staff determined Sherryl Parks and Dave Druker had differing opinions on what direction they were supposed to take.

Parks asked that the item be placed on the agenda.

The two most controversial parts of the proposed project are the elimination of a free-right-turn lane from eastbound Carmel Valley Road onto northbound Camino del Mar and narrowing northbound Camino del Mar from two lanes to one from Carmel Valley Road to Del Mar Heights Road.

Most of the approximately 100 people who weighed in on the changes said they would make an already bad situation worse, especially during peak traffic hours.

After three hours of public input and discussion, council members on Feb. 6 unanimously agreed to delay a decision on the project.

They also directed Druker and Parks to review the public input and work with traffic engineers and the Public Works Department to create a project that will be presented to the Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee and Torrey Pines Planning Board for review and input.

A final design would then be presented to the full City Council for consideration.

Parks said she planned to work under those parameters. But when she later spoke with Druker, she said she believed he had a different understanding.

“I think he thought the liaisons were supposed to take over the project,” she said.

Druker said the project has been expanded from a simple sidewalk extension that was proposed about two years ago.

“I believed our role was to work with staff to determine what the project should look like and to create a presentation that we could use to show the public what the project would look like and what impacts it would have,” he said. “I thought we would be determining what is an appropriate project that will benefit the public. … It’s just a different philosophy.”

Councilman Dwight Worden reread the motion he made at the Feb. 6 meeting, which was to have the subcommittee review information provided Feb. 6, meet with staff and engineers and “come up with a project” that includes options they think will work.

That will be presented to TPAC and the Torrey Pines Community Planning Group for review and input and eventually be returned to council members for direct on how to move forward.

“The good news is also the bad news,” Worden said. “The road works just fine the way it is.”

He said he and his colleagues thought the expanded project would “make the world better,” but based on public input that isn’t necessarily the case.

Maintaining a minimally timed left-turn signal to go from northbound Camino del Mar onto westbound Fourth Street, adding a sidewalk along the west side of Camino del Mar and adding a left-turn lane from southbound Camino del Mar onto eastbound Del Mar Heights Road appear to have strong public support.

But putting northbound Camino del Mar on a road diet and eliminating the free-right lane off Carmel Valley Road may be too controversial and should perhaps be taken out of the project, Worden said.

His colleagues agreed. No matter what happens, work will likely not begin until spring 2018.

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