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Cities unite to share concerns about I-5 plans

By Promise Yee
OCEANSIDE — A workshop held at Oceanside Council Chambers on Sept. 30 allowed area residents to express their concerns about the I-5 expansion project that will directly affect Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and San Diego.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, Councilman Chuck Lowery and Del Mar Councilwoman Crystal Crawford hosted the workshop that reviewed unfavorable traffic, noise and environmental impacts the project will bring.
Oceanside residents were concerned that Caltrans only presented a single option of adding four managed lanes and one alternative lane to the Oceanside stretch of I-5. “It’s business as usual, building freeways and roads to build ourselves out of congestion,” Pamela Epstein, attorney for San Diego chapter of the Sierra Club, said. “A transit option is noticeably absent from this document.”
Many feel the proposed expansion project fails to be a long-term solution. They fear additional lanes will only temporarily relive traffic congestion until the growing number of vehicles once again exceeds the capacity of the roadway.
“Eight lanes, 18 lanes, what’s next 46 lanes?” Ray McDorsky, a Vista resident, asked.
The option to add lanes does not seem to be in line with national and state goals to reduce greenhouse gasses by reducing vehicle mileage and speed. “It’s just an obvious fact that if you reduce vehicle miles per hour there would be the need for less lanes,” Mike Bullock, an Oceanside resident, said.
The Oceanside I-5 expansion plan will fully relocate 18 homes, take partial acquisition of 26 homes, and claim footing easement of 45 homes.
Sound walls that will loom up to 45 feet tall will be built along the I-5 corridor at the discretion of Caltrans. Caltrans only mitigates 50 percent of the instances in which traffic noise exceeds sound limits, Jack Hegenauer, a Solana Beach resident, said. The other 50 percent of excessive noise cases are not addressed.
“There is a legacy issue here,” Robert Cotton, a Del Mar resident, said. “We are the only coastline freeway that has views of the ocean. I think what we want is a transportation alternative.”
“How do you best move your people? That’s a billion dollar question for us,” Sanchez said.
Cites are in the process of analyzing the I-5 expansion plan and directing their Caltrans representative to share the city’s yea or nay for the project.
Residents are encouraged to e-mail their questions to Citizens’ questions will be addressed by Caltrans through Nov. 22.