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Public asked to comment on regional transportation plan

REGION — The San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, has released the draft version of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan for public review and comments.

The plan is the transportation blueprint for the next 35 years and includes sustainable initiatives and the Regional Comprehensive Plan.

It includes the vision for the region’s future and the implantation plans on how to get there.

“Over the last two and a half years, we have worked with community members, stakeholders, and local agencies to develop San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan,” said Santee Councilmember and SANDAG Board Chair Jack Dale.

“The resulting plan encourages the development of vibrant, healthy communities that are connected by a range of transportation choices, including public transit, walking and biking facilities and roads,” said Dale.

The plan focuses on providing more transportation options, including biking walking and public transit in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase sustainability.

Over the next 35 years, SANDAG plans to invest $200 billion into the regional transportation network.

The funds are not all available yet and will come from local, state and federal tax programs.

SANDAG staff took planning assumptions from the 18 cities in San Diego County to forecast the makeup of the population in 2050, and based the draft plan on what the city will look like.

Officials expect the sprawl of the city to be much more dense, including more condos and multifamily dwellings.

“More than 82 percent of the growth in housing will be in apartment buildings,

condo complexes, and other multifamily dwellings,” the report stated, which is a shift from 2000 when 48 percent of land planned for housing was earmarked for single-family homes.

SANDAG also has plans to spend $250 million to purchase open space to fulfill environmental commitments.

Since 2004, SANDAG has purchased more than 3,600 acres of land in the region to designate as permanent open space.

Most recently, the board purchased 50.5 acres in the Batiquitos Lagoon for $6 million.

The funds come from TransNet, a region-wide half-cent sales tax, which voters reapproved in 2004.

The plan is split into phases and the upcoming North County projects include the widening and addition of express carpool lanes in both directions of Interstate 5, double-tracking the train tracks to allow for more train traffic, and a 27-mile corridor for bicyclists and pedestrians stretching from Del Mar to Oceanside.

The plan can be viewed online at and workshops will be held in May to answer questions and get comments.

The North County workshops meet:

• May 12, 6 to 8:30 p.m. – Escondido City Hall, Mitchell Room, 201 North Broadway, Escondido, 92025

• May 20, 6 to 8:30 p.m. – Oceanside City Hall Community Rooms, 300 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside, 92054

• May 28, 6 to 8:30 p.m. – UTC Forum Hall Community Room, 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite E-25, San Diego, 92122

People can also comment online, through email at [email protected], by calling  (619) 699-1934, faxing (619) 699-1905 or via mail at ATTN: Regional Plan, 401 B Street, Suite 800, San Diego CA, 92101.