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Trees Up in Downtown
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Proposed improvements at 12th Street and
Camino del Mar / View looking West.
Source: 1996 Camino del Mar Downtown Streetscape Plan.
Click on image to enlarge.

Participants at two recent community workshops held to get input on Del Mar’s downtown streetscape plan asked the City to move their “Nice-to-Do” list forward to the higher priority “Have to Do” list. As presented by City staff, the phase one “Have to Do” list was seen by participants as long on maintenance projects, but lacking a broader vision for the Camino Del Mar corridor. The planned Streetscape project extends from 9th to 15th Street, maintaining the current width of two travel lanes in each direction, with no roundabouts or sharrows.

Approximately 15 residents attended the recent workshop, many of them expressing frustration with the City’s timing and priorities. The phase one projects include new pedestrian crosswalks, improved ADA access at intersections, and repaving and striping the roadway. Both residents and business owners, however, were anxious to see the phase two projects, which include landscaping, configuration changes for parking, new sidewalks and a scramble crossing at 15th street, implemented in the short term, so that residents would not “have to wait another ten years” for these enhancements.
Feedback from two mothers spoke to the “too often ignored” pedestrian crosswalks, and drivers speeding through stop signs on Camino del Mar. Zach Groban, chairman of the City’s Business Support Advisory Committee and a Del Mar business owner, pleaded for changes that would encourage people to wander along Camino del Mar, crossing the road to both sides safely and staying in town.

The community workshop was part of a public outreach process to gather feedback from residents and business owners on construction and enhancement efforts to improve and update Del Mar’s main commercial corridor. According to Del Mar Assistant City Manager Kristen Crane, the Streetscape plan will be finalized after meetings with the last of four local groups and a webinar held on June 26. Concept plans will be shared with the public before a preferred plan is forwarded to the City Council, which is slated for September. Construction is expected to begin in January 2018.

Spurlock Landscape Architects, the design firm that guided the City in enhancing the Camino Del Mar corridor in 1996, was retained to guide Del Mar in making the planned streetscape improvements. The current planning and outreach process, said Crane, is intended to update the 1996 plan, specifically for Camino del Mar between 9th and 15th streets. According to the 1996 Plan, “the guiding principle for the improvement of Camino del Mar is to enhance those qualities that the Community values and to selectively remove those things that detract from the character of Del Mar. The preferred automobile traffic scheme maintains the existing lane configuration…with lane width modifications to allow for enhancement to pedestrian and planting areas. The …trees provide dappled shade and reinforce the wooded forest ‘Del Mar character.’” The “wooded forest character,” said the report, would discourage drivers from speeding through town, ignoring pedestrians and downtown amenities.

 

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