Mira Mesa Meets Caltrans

(cont'd) --The Hillery Drive project must include traffic control measures to be installed at Black Mountain and Hillery, so that drivers moving eastbound on Mira Mesa Blvd don't use Hillery as a "shortcut" and flood the front of Walker Elementary with 5,000 more cars each day. Unlike Hage/Galvin, where the only plan is to direct all the traffic right past the school, the Hillery Alternative intends that none of the additional traffic will flow past the school. None. Walker Elementary needs and deserves the imposition of traffic controls so that the intended traffic routes on Mira Mesa Blvd and Black Mountain Road (not in front of the school) are used. The "none traffic" won't be true unless the City of San Diego (Not Caltrans) does something proactive and specific. If you're in Mira Mesa, get over to the Mira Mesa Community Planning Board meetings and ASK what YOU can do to ensure this takes place. If you do nothing, it's a safe bet nothing will be done. --The Mira Mesa Community Planning Board didn't take an official position on this issue and submitted no Public Comments to Caltrans. Caltrans looks to our CPB to provide public outreach and input on our behalf. Although we were able to schedule this issue on the CPB's agenda well before the comment period expired and discussion took place with parents and principals from both schools, residents and the Caltrans reps in attendance, the CPB didn't vote or take any position. Thanks go out to Hage Elementary Principal Ethel Daniels and the Hage PTA for allowing me to speak to parents at Hage's annual magic show and to show them the Caltrans plans and drawings for both DAR options. People were shocked at the proposal, even as many support the HOV lanes, and the civic participation by citizens submitting written comments on this project and attending the Caltrans "workshop" in Scripps Ranch turned out to be the only "voice of Mira Mesa" that made it into the "public record" that Caltrans must consider and address.
— February 5, 2009 11:15 a.m.

Mira Mesa Meets Caltrans

Thanks to the San Diego Reader for covering this issue. Whether you're in Mira Mesa or Scripps Ranch (the two communities these particular Direct Access Ramps will serve) or anywhere else along the I-15 corridor where such ramps are planned, there are lessons you can learn from the facts in this project. We still don't know whether CalTrans will put this project where it was originally planned for, or literally, right next to Hage Elementary School. Note some details: --Caltrans provided NO NOTICE of this project to many people who will be directly affected: the Principals of both schools received no notice. Neither did the US Marine Corps, which owns and maintains housing directly across the street from Hage, and only 80 feet from the proposed freeway ramp, receive any notice. Neither did the homeowners and residents that live on Galvin Avenue, which Caltrans proposes to shuttle at least 5,000 cars across, every day, to reach the Hage/Galvin DAR project. Neither did the owners of homes along Capricorn Way, which is currently used an an alternative for the 56 Freeway, receive any notice of a plan that would make their street an even more popular route to reach I-15. So, if you think a project might be proposed for your neighborhood along the I-15, you might want to ASK. If Caltrans hadn't told Jim Sullivan and he hadn't alerted people he knows in Mira Mesa, the Mira Mesa Community might never have known. Don't wait for someone to tell you about it. --The Hage/Galvin freeway ramp is government lunacy at its worst: 5,000 cars a day right across the front of a school with terrible traffic problems and a pending developement of 1,800 homes right across the street that will add another 3,600 cars per day to the exact same streets. Freeway traffic on an offramp aimed right at the only driveway to the School. $50 million dollars extra to build it. Current construction on the ramps at Mira Mesa Blvd and sound walls along the 15 would be torn down, thrown in the trash and rebuilt, only 2 years after your tax dollars paid for them the first time. What would have happened if Mira Mesan's didn't find out about this? Did you know that some folks in Scripps Ranch voice opinions in favor of the Hage/Galvin location? --Over 150 Mira Mesa residents and parents analyzed the CalTrans proposals for the Direct Access Ramps and submitted written objections to the Galvin/Hage ramp location. It doesn't matter which school our kids go to: a freeway ramp 80 feet from a school with 5,000 cars passing through an intersection that is already jammed every morning, that requires years of construction on the I-15/Mira Mesa ramps and that costs $50 million dollars more than the originally intended location doesn't make sense for anyone.
— February 5, 2009 11:14 a.m.

Canyon Trails Traffic Jam

Thanks to the Reader for covering the issues of habitat preservation and the public access intended by the Multiple Species Conservation Program. Deer Canyon's evolution from a migrant community replete with trails, kitchens, latrines, laundries, farming, hunting and unrelated dumping of construction debris to one of passive trail use by hikers, runners and the cycling community has been storied and controversial. Some claim the land was pristine, untouched and completely pure prior to discovery by San Diegans seeking enhanced quality of life via our Open Space. Others have claimed that trail use by scores of San Diegans hasn't had any effect at all upon the habitat. Both are clearly mistaken. Use over recent decades is established by media reports and the documentary, "The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon". Impacts have been mitigated by trash removal and passive trail use by "stewards" for the open space. However, even a footprint is an "impact" and it's undeniable that migrant trails have been widened and used far more than they ever were before. When the RMP is complete, we'll have a plan to manage trails and control impacts. Regrettably, vandalism in the "Hobbit Trails" was discovered last week & reported by locals. A stand of Nutall's Scrub Oak was destroyed to open up the trail to the sky for visitors that didn't previously "fit there" as noted above. The damage is horrendous. This puts the land managers in a tough spot! They can rely upon the community's "patrols" to discover such damage, but how can they prevent it, outright? Although there were other options, the Parks Department has chosen to close the entirety of the singletrack trail network in Deer Canyon, pending further review. This is a great loss to the law abiding supporters of open space and responsible trail use that have been running, hiking and riding these trails for years, but one that we must now support and honor while we wait for the City Rangers to follow leads & witness reports. The plan endorsed by the SDMBA and MTC called for closure and revegetation of over 65% of the trails in Deer Canyon. With further research into the trail that was vandalized last week, it's apparent that route will not be viable in the long term. The remainder of the trails proposed for management comprise about 20% of what's in the canyon. The Rangers have sent a clear message: hacking open the canopy won't get user groups "access" to trails because they now "fit" but will get the whole place closed, to the detriment of all San Diegans that value this beautiful and important natural resource. We can all work together to ensure public access & quality of life aren't sacrificed or lost due to the despicable acts of a few and that the open space lands are preserved in a responsible and effective manner for the benefit of future generations of San Diegans. It's important that we do so. Erik Basil Treasurer, LPCP-CAC
— December 16, 2008 4:55 p.m.

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