Read Erika Lowery's response on "With all the new development going on in the city. What steps can be taken so we don't end up with big traffic Jams"?
Oct 03, 2014 10:06AM
● By Paul Spear
Imperial Beach is growing, a small developer’s paradise. Some of our upcoming projects include: Habitat for Humanity at 10th and Donax, a new hotel at Imperial Beach and Seacoast, Bernardo Shores residential property development at Rainbow and 75, Breakwater project at 9th and Palm; just to name a few.
We also will be greatly impacted by the Naval Base Coronado Coastal Campus, which I concur with the mayor that the south gate should be closed at all times, due to the proximity to the elementary school. I witness numerous near-misses at the corner of 3rd and Palm during the year that my son went to pre-school there. The single lane on “Old Palm” has created an afternoon gridlock and I have seen many families using the residential streets of Calla and Citrus to avoid this traffic.
The Coastal Campus would be the single largest impact on the community with the increase of 3,000 persons coming on base daily. Even if just utilizing the North Gate that will exit directly onto 75, the increase traffic on Palm to the freeway will greatly impact those residents that use the corridor.
I do not believe that the Palm Avenue Master Plan will fully address this impact. The reduction in the lane size will not accommodate the oversize vehicles that the military uses. The “local bypass lane” will make access to businesses challenging, especially for those that are not familiar with the area. I am also concerned that the bypass lane will create problems with vehicles that want to go the opposite way on Palm and cannot make it to the U-turn, forcing more traffic onto residential side streets. I have brought these concerns at the public informational meetings held earlier this year.
In addition, there will be the increase with the homes at Bernardo Shores and 9th and Palm businesses. Though our city does need this development, I think that further working with Caltrans, the Navy, and the cities of San Diego and Coronado will be needed to get traffic flowing continuously. This is a long term team project that needs to begin immediately.
I do not believe round-a-bouts are the answer. The bus routes through town will slow the traffic through them and on 9th and Donax, where the trial round-a-bout is proposed, there is a school bus pickup that will impede traffic. They also take a great deal of space, more than the standard residential intersection.
I am concerned that much of the increase traffic will find the way to residential streets and Imperial Beach Boulevard. Imperial Beach Boulevard is currently a faster access for residents in the southern part of the city.
I believe that optimizing car/vanpooling will be helpful for those on the Coastal Campus, though without a food court/cafeteria the students will need to go offsite for lunch. Something to recommend to the Navy is a shuttle service during lunch times to/from 9th and Palm, or multiple stops continuing to 13th and Palm, and back to the campus.
Public transportation in not sufficient for the increase proposed developments.
I believe there needs to be continued investigation as to how to utilize our main thoroughfares without creating congestion. Congestion and reduced parking are two things that the community does not want.
For more on this and discussions on the issues, check out erikalowery.com