Ellie Haviland | City Councilmember
The San Diego County Fair – it’s not just weird food, thrill rides, and live entertainment. It can also mean traffic headaches, or like last year, traffic nightmares. How do we keep what is fun about the fair without driving the surrounding communities crazy? Del Mar meets monthly with representatives from the fairgrounds, Solana Beach, Toni Atkins’s office and Todd Gloria’s office. These monthly Community Relations meetings, co-chaired by 22nd DAA Directors Lee Haydu and Don Mosier, allow us to provide input on the impacts of events at the fairgrounds. This past year we have engaged many other agencies such as CalTrans, the County Sherriff, and the San Diego Police Department to help us solve the traffic problems.
We have a long list of ideas we have been working to implement. This year the fairgrounds has an interactive map available on both its website and its app that shows real-time parking locations and availability. Visitors who have the app will know where to go and will not clog up the local roads going to a lot that is already full. CalTrans is providing more of the temporary freeway signs to direct visitors to open parking lots and get them off the freeway faster. Also, Del Mar will have more control over the stop light at Via de la Valle and Jimmy Durante Boulevard to make that critical intersection function better.
Work will continue to identify and implement solutions. We are working with the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to provide more off-site parking such as the Ted Williams/56 Park & Ride Lot. The fairgrounds is participating in the regional bikeshare program that starts in July. We will also continue to reach out to the City of San Diego to coordinate a better traffic management plan with the Surf Cup events that get bigger and bigger every year.
Some of our ideas never made it off the drawing board. North County Transit District (NCTD) brushed off the 2010 plans for a temporary platform near the fairgrounds for the Coaster. They presented a rework of this idea at the May Community Relations meeting, but the concept is still too costly and disruptive to the adjacent neighborhood to pursue.
The weekends are always the busiest, but also July 3rd and 4th will likely have big crowds. Please plan ahead and have a safe and fun summer!