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FINISH Line
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

SDM in the early ‘60s. Courtesy Del Mar Historical Society.
 
A more inviting downtown today. Source: City of Del Mar.

Downtown Streetscape crossed the finish line last month when, during the night hours, striping for lanes was put down along Camino del Mar and torches were used to apply thermoplastic to crosswalks. We think City Manager Scott Huth was right when he predicted it would be worth the unforeseen rain delays, crumbling metal pipes that needed to be replaced and a layer of concrete from the older road in the medians slated for new trees, to name a few. Although a ribbon cutting has not been announced readers can take an inaugural stroll along the wider sidewalks some with accent pavers, drive the realigned lanes with fresh curbs and new landscaping, find new parking spaces and, most of all, experience Camino del Mar as part of the Village not just a thoroughfare.

In her 2017 article Julie Maxey-Allison reminded us that our “Historic US Route 101” was commissioned in 1926 when concrete replaced dirt roads for horses, wagons and other animals. By 1960, however, 101 through Del Mar, was so packed with gasoline stations, advertising and traffic it was labeled “Gasoline Alley.” The completion of Interstate 5 erased some of that image but in 2006 merchants and residents wanted more “complete streets” that included safe and attractive space for walkers and cyclists as well as a more inviting Downtown experience. Spurlock Associates won the bid and put a plan forward.

In took more than another decade to dust off and update the plan, thanks to the persistent push of the Del Mar Village Association and the passage of Measure Q approved by residents to fund the new Streetscape (in addition to Undergrounding and Shores Park plans). Along with the new Civic Center, sidewalks and improvements stretching from Jimmy Durante Blvd. at the north end of town to Carmel Valley Road on the south end, Del Mar has become almost a brand new village by the sea.

 

 

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