OCEANSIDE — City Council adopted changes to the traffic circulation element, but not without discussion and no votes from Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez Sept. 19.
Modifications to the traffic element include widening state Route 76 to six lanes, widening College Boulevard to six lanes and making Mission Avenue a one-way street between Cleveland Street and Clementine Street.
More controversial components of the plan include building the Rancho del Oro state Route 78 Interchange, and adding two extensions to Melrose Drive one from North River Road to state Route 76 and another from Spur Avenue to North Santa Fe Avenue.
Residents voiced concern that land use plans were not determined first.
“You’re putting the cart before the horse,” Chris Wilson, Oceanside resident said. “Land use drives traffic.”
Another citizen concern was that road expansions will bring more traffic through residential areas and farmland.
Sanchez said the changes to Melrose Drive are steps toward urbanization of the rural neighborhood.
“This really concerns me,” Sanchez said. “Every single project the community doesn’t want is on here. We’re setting our community up for a lower quality of life.”
The Melrose Drive extensions will have significant impact on agricultural lands the road extensions will border. This impact will be mitigated by purchase of an agriculture easement or onsite preservation of land.
Original plans that called for 14 homes to be bought through eminent domain to allow road expansion were modified to spare homes and include more parkland. Felien said voting no on the circulation plan is “over reacting” since construction of each roadway still needs final approval.
“We’re keeping all actions on the table and not forcing any of them to be built in the future,” Felien said.
Proposed roadways will be complete streets that allow for vehicle, pedestrian and bike traffic.