Brick crossing rejected 6 to 1

RANCHO SANTA FE — Emphasizing that fiscal responsibility is a higher priority than aesthetics, the Rancho Santa Fe Association board of directors disagreed with a recommendation from the Road and Planning Committee and voted 6-1 at the Feb. 18 meeting not
to allocate approximately $21,000 for brickwork to enhance crosswalks as part of the La Granada and Via de Santa Fe intersection realignment project.
In February 2002, the Association board conceptually approved the realignment to route through traffic along La Granada to avoid frequent congestion on Via de Santa Fe at the entrance to the market and post office.
“Once completed, vehicles heading into the village on Via de Santa Fe from the south would have to make a left turn to remain on Via de Santa Fe and access the market or post office,” the staff report states.
At its Feb. 24 meeting, the county Board of Supervisors was scheduled to approve funding for the $325,000 project without the enhanced paving, which is estimated to cost $21,000. Officials from the county’s Department of Public Works said if the Association agreed to pay for the brickwork before the project goes to bid, the maximum cost would remain at $21,000 even if bids came in higher.
Based on the price guarantee and because the intersection is identified in the master plan as a key entry location into the village from the south, the Road and Planning Committee supported funding the project.
“If the Association were to wait until after the bid opening … the actual cost could be higher or lower, depending on the bid amounts,” the staff report states. “However, based on past experience, it seems unlikely … actual costs would be lower.”
Previous estimates for similar projects in the village have been about $50,000 per crosswalk.
“This is a great sale,” said Vice President Kim Higgins, the project’s lone supporter. “It’s 50 percent off.” She said if the long-term goal is to enhance all sidewalks in the village with brick, the Association should take advantage of the county’s offer.
Her colleagues disagreed for several reasons. Most had a hard time justifying the expense because the intersection is not a highly crossed area.
“Is this the time and place to spend $21,000?” President Bill Beckman asked. “(It’s) not a huge amount of money, but it can be spent — or not — in other places,” he said.
“I don’t know if it sends the right message,” Tom Lang, association treasurer, said. “(Spending $21,000) in tough economic times might not be fiscally prudent.”
Jack Queen noted that because of the cost, the Association didn’t support a similar project in front of The Inn, which he deemed a much more prominent intersection.
Director Dick Doughty wasn’t even impressed with the aesthetics. “The way it’s designed, the bricks would look funny,” he said.
Beckman said that while it may be a highly visible entrance to the village, it likely won’t be noticed.
“We might as well put down $21,000 (cash) and drive over it,” he said. Beckman said he would rather spend the money on landscaping or something more vertical.
Deb Plummer agreed. “Aesthetically, it’s not what we want,” she said. “And the ongoing maintenance is going to be on our dime.”

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