I went to the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group’s monthly meeting expecting to hear from the representatives from Caltrans, SANDAG, and the construction companies that will be taking part in the construction of the Direct Access Ramp (DAR) project scheduled to be located at the east end of Hillery Drive and the 15 freeway. We also heard from many Mira Mesa residents, Walker Elementary Principal Rochelle Dawes, and our own Mira Mesa Town Council President Jeff Stevens voice their concerns about the project.
The meeting began with the election of the new Chairperson for the Planning Group, Linda Geldner, who took the reigns from Ted Brengel after his 10 year run as chairman was forced to step down due to term limitations. John Horst was also elected as the new Secretary of the Planning Group. Linda wasted no time taking over and leading the meeting which featured a presentation from Andrew Rice, the project manager from Caltrans.
This is a very complex project, which will feature a new Mira Mesa Transit Station, parking structure, and access to the HOV lanes on the adjacent 15 freeway. Access will only be from the Mira Mesa side of the 15, while Scripps Ranch residents will have to venture into Mira Mesa to use the new ramp. This 75 million dollar project will begin a series of studies prior to construction, which is slated for 2012. The ramp structure will be similar to the recently completed one located in Rancho Bernardo and the 15 freeway.
The benefits of the project are to reduce traffic, promote carpooling through the use of the HOV lanes, and establish a new Transit Station for bus use. Although affecting the immediate surrounding areas on Hillery Drive and Walker Elementary, the long term function of the ramp is supposed to alleviate congestion to the major on/off ramps at Mira Mesa Blvd and Carroll Canyon Road. The key word used during the presentation was “Traffic Calming” suggesting the addition of the ramp would direct some of the traffic through this alternate route rather than having all of the traffic using Mira Mesa Blvd. as the only way to the freeway.
There was a study suggesting either Hillery Drive, Galvin Drive, or a No-Build plan, to determine the projected traffic issues in the next 20 years. The determination of the report was that the Hillery Drive location was the preferred option.
As you would imagine, this report was met with a lot of opposition. Long time Hillery Residents believe that creating this Transit Station and Parking Structure will greatly present risks to the children attending Walker Elementary, and the traffic volume will become intolerable. Many suggested the surrounding streets already pose a public safety issue. Others brought up the need for an exit strategy in the event of a major fire or other catastrophe.
The largest complaint from residents in the area was their lack of notification about the DAR report itself. There didn’t seem to be any direct mailing to notify the residents about prior meetings to gather their opinions and concerns. Caltrans placed ads in the newspaper and reported the results from the groups that showed up to these meetings.
The request from the Board of the Planning Group is for the community to get involved and attend future meetings. Chairperson Geldner requested that Caltrans research the questions asked at this meeting and provide more detailed answers at the next meeting.
You can learn more about this project by visiting the Caltrans website at www.keepsandiegomoving.com
If you would like to contact Project Manager Andrew Rice, you may email him at: Andrew.Rice@dot.ca.gov
You can access the 500+ page DAR report by clicking this link.
Please attend the next Mira Mesa Planning Group meeting. Use this link to find out the time, date, and location of the next meeting, usually the 3rd Monday each month at the Mira Mesa Library. Venue may change depending on the projected attendance.
We want to know your opinion of the I-15 DAR project. Do you support the Hillery Drive location, or do you have a better suggestion? Why do you oppose this project, and what questions would you like answered by Caltrans at the next meeting? This is a great way to have your voice heard. Share your thoughts with the community. Use the comments box below to voice your opinion.
The Mira Mesa Community Planning Group Meeting will be held at Challenger Middle School, April 20 at 7P.M. to discuss the planned Direct Access Ramp to I-15 from Hillery Drive.
Caltrans has released a “Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment with Finding of No Significant Impact” for its proposed direct access ramp from Hillery Drive to the new I-15 Managed Lanes currently under construction. The purpose of the proposed ramp is to provide direct vehicular access to the I-15 Managed Lanes facility for buses, HOVs and FasTrak users, from Hillery Drive; this will allow buses, HOVs, and FasTrak users to bypass the existing congested freeway interchange at Mira Mesa Blvd.
The proposed Hillery Drive overcrossing would be located in the center of Hillery Drive, approximately 170 m (558 ft) east of the Hillery Drive/Westview Parkway intersection (behind the Home Depot), and would cross an existing access road and parking area of the Legacy Apartment complex to I-15.
At the next Mira Mesa Community Planning Group meeting, Caltrans will present their Environmental Impact Report, showing that they believe that the Hillery Drive ramp “will have no significant impact on the human environment.” All interested parties should be in attendance to hear the presentation and ask questions. For a copy of the Environmental Impact Report, click on this link.
Mira Mesa Community Planning Group
Monday, April 20, 2009 – 7 PM
Challenger Middle School
10810 Parkdale Avenue
This Meeting Will Be Open To The Public.
The Mira Mesa Community Planning Group will hold elections March 16th. Anyone interested in being on the Planning Group needs to attend at least one meeting and provide an expression of interest no later than the February meeting. The February Planning Group meeting will be held on Tuesday February 17th at the Mira Mesa Senior Center.
If you are interested in being on the Planning Group, please send your expression of interest to Election subcommittee chair Jeff Stevens at email@example.com. For more information, use the planning group link.