Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain


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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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New Developments in Oceanside and Carlsbad

With the group of residents on Laurel Rd. in Fire Mountain continuing to address the speeding and traffic concerns that tend to plague Fire Mountain, we’ve been following a few of the latest in business developments that will impact our local roads and surrounding freeways.

Saturn Property Vista Way

You may have noticed the recent demolition happening on the corner of Vista Way and Jefferson. The property is owned by Nissan Corporation and while waiting to be sold the location has been home to a few temporary businesses such as the Home Depot nursery, a Halloween store, a Christmas store, and a Christmas tree lot.

Recently we learned the demolition is part of a contingency on the sale of the property to Scripps Health. The City of Oceanside has had held developer meetings with Scripps regarding the building of a clinic and physicians offices on the site. The public has not been notified of the status and only residents within 300 ft. of the property will receive a notice once permits are filed and the yellow notification signs go up.  The zoning in that area allows a building height of up to 50 ft. or approximately 4 stories. The city planner on the project did not have a response to questions regarding concerns about how increased traffic or building height will be addressed.

—- UPDATE (11/6/2013) According to a city employee the Scripps project was given a pass as it doesn’t meet the commercial zoning plan.  Nissan has simply bulldozed the buildings to make it more marketable. We will update as more information is available.—–

On the other side of the 78 freeway, in Carlsbad, the Westfield, Plaza Camino Real (sometimes referred to as the “ghetto mall”) has also started renovations. According to the Westfield web site:

The regional mall, originally constructed in 1969, will be renamed Westfield Carlsbad when completed in November 2014. The renovation plans include: