Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain

I5/78 Interchange Plans Could End Beach Access from Fire Mountain

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If you’ve been following the planning of the widening of I-5, specifically the I-5/78 interchange, you know it’s hurtling into our neighborhood faster than any speeding car, truck or van on the I-5 freeway.

A meeting took place last month in Carlsbad for public comment, but one has not been held in Oceanside, so we’ve gathered as much of the mountain of information as possible below:

There have been several conversations with Cal Trans and there are still many open questions. We’ve been following the discussion from both the South O Residents Association and Shari Mackin on nextdoor.com and want to share some of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your outlook).  But to stay up to date, be sure to either follow the updates on nextdoor.com or sign up for alerts and info by signing up on the google form here.

Cal Trans has received well over 100 comments during the community meeting in Carlsbad. They are still reviewing/studying the comments which will lead them to the project/s they will present to study at the Scoping Meeting which she states will be held in late May or early June 2015.

CalTrans will continue to accept and review public comments/input regarding which alternative/s they will study. According to CalTrans, comments continue to “trickle” in. Please note, added to the scenarios is a NO BUILD option.

If you were unable to attend the meeting in Carlsbad, please complete the attached Comment Slip and return to CalTrans via email. You can review the information here: http://keepsandiegomoving.com/I-5-Corrid…

Email your Comment Slip (if you can’t scan and upload, cut and paste into an email) to:Karen.Jewel@dot.ca.gov

Finally, PLEASE email your council members asking that they request that the Scoping Meeting is held in OCEANSIDE! We will have the majority of impacts and we are one of the largest cities in San Diego County – council@ci.oceanside.ca.us

Our representative to SANDAG (Mayor Jim Wood) and Alternate Council Member Chuck Lowery) should be able to work with CalTrans to have the meeting in Oceanside.

From the most recent emails we’ve received here are the overviews of Worst-case scenarios and the issues they present:

Worst-Case Scenarios (from the South Oceanside Residents Association):
1. The removal of the California and Cassidy bridges (with their I-5 access).

2. The removal of the ramp from E/B Vista Way to N/B I-5. (While most of us don’t use this, it’s removal combined with the removal of the California ramp to N/B I-5 leaves South O WITHOUT DIRECT ACCESS TO N/B I-5.)

3. The removal of the ramp from N/B I-5 to W/B Vista Way (leaves NO access to South O from N/B I-5)

While the CalTrans is hawking the flyovers at the interchange and giving lip service to keeping the bridges, the plans for the widening of I-5 are moving forward. Chuck stated somewhere on here that the bridges WILL go away, yet Robin’s correspondence with KJ (above) states that bridges stay. Which is it? I’m thinking that CalTrans separated these projects so these details would be lost on us because the (negative) impacts (to OUR neighborhoods) are so severe

Issues:

1. Emergency services: Response times will increase.

2. Emergency evacuation in case of tsunami: Two of three eastbound evacuation routes will be closed.  Should there be a tsunami, the majority of the water would defer to Loma Alta Creek/Oceanside Blvd. and the Buena Visa Lagoon which would completely isolate South Oceanside from all emergency personnel.

3. Access to schools (primarily Lincoln MS, but also South O and Palmquist with school choice open.) Children won’t be able to walk to school!

4. All traffic leaving South Oceanside will now be pushed to Vista and PCH, which might be narrowed to 2 lanes and will be more densely populated (per the “Vision” plan.) South Oceanside will be isolated and pinched off from our friends and neighbors in Fire Mountain. Our only access to I-5 will be via Vista Way. Turning left onto E/B Vista Way from the north is currently very difficult and dangerous.

5. All traffic in Fire Mountain will now be pushed to the north, east, and south. Direct routes to the beach, I-5, and South Oceanside/PCH will disappear. This will negatively impact property values (as will ocean views marred by a hideous mass of concrete with flyovers.)

6. Flyovers will increase noise pollution in South O and Fire Mountain.

7. Flyovers will likely result in an increase in the range of particulate pollution around the interchange – especially for young children attending South Oceanside Elementary School one block away from the proposed interchange.

8. The construction will negatively impact our lagoon.

9. Will any current traffic study take into account the impact of the worst-case scenario if the bridges disappear and our access to I-5 is as limited as partial access via Vista Way?

Get involved – please send your comments to Cal-Trans and your City Counsel members!

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