Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain


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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:

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Oceanside Traffic and Transit Updates – Details on I-5 Expansion

IMG_8653Fire Mountain Traffic: Looks like Avocado Rd. is the latest through-street in Phase 1 of traffic calming measures. Thanks to the persistence of our neighbors the city has installed a radar trailer on Avocado Rd. and is studying the need for additional measures. Normally Phase 1 consists of “educating the public” and the radar trailer is one way to educate motorists as to how fast they are actually traveling.

Our streets become particularly dangerous during the holidays as more people cut through our neighborhood to get to the Wal-Mart shopping center, let’s hope the education process is stepped-up during that time.

Changes to Downtown Oceanside: Mission Avenue, between Horne Street and Coast Highway, started it’s update last week and will continue renovations until Summer 2014.  Like many more metropolitan downtown areas the main entryway to Oceanside will become a two lane, one-way street.  Mission Avenue will be converted to a west-bound only route, while Seagaze Drive, one block south of Mission Avenue, will be converted to a one-way east bound street. Let the confusion begin! For more info visit the City of Oceanside web site. 

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 1.51.38 PMInterstate 5 Expansion Project: The environmental impact report for the $3 billion 27-mile I-5 expansion project has been completed and hundreds of pages are now available here for download. The last public meeting in Oceanside was in 2010. Since that time the agency has heard from more than 5000 people and incorporated their comments into the planning  – the improvements are focused on carpools, transit, and express lanes.

Highlights of Oceanside area changes include a couple of pocket parks, some sound barriers, The visual simulation looks as if the freeway is really encroaching on the Buena Vista Lagoon and there are major improvements to bike and pedestrian paths along all 27 miles.

The incredibly dangerous I5 / 78 Interchange is not a part of this expansion. While there are a couple of changes on the docs, that is a separate project that will move forward independently and supposedly meetings were to be scheduled Summer 2013 (Did we miss those?).

According to the web site, the I-5 Express Lanes project is just one component of the planned $6.5 billion North Coast Corridor (NCC) Program, which includes highway, rail, transit, environmental protection and coastal access improvements. Planned improvements such as the I-5 Express Lanes provide flexibility for future for transit services such as Bus Rapid Transit and highway express buses. Adding Express Lanes to I-5, double tracking the coastal rail line and improving local and regional bike and pedestrian trails are part of the NCC Program’s system solution to focus on moving people rather than just cars.

It looks like there were approximately 10 options considered and the “Preferred Alternative,” announced in July 2011, is the Express Lanes Only option (8+4 with Buffer Alternative) which “results in nearly 50 percent fewer Right-of-Way impacts and focuses on project phasing and coordination to minimize impacts to the environment and the community during construction.”

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