SUPERVISOR 5TH DISTRICT COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
January 25, 2010
Highway 76 Widening
We reached a major milestone for the State Route 76 widening project earlier this month when a long-awaited groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction on the middle phase, the stretch of highway between Melrose Drive in Oceanside and Mission in Bonsall.
The $181 million, 5.5 mile project will expand the roadway from two lanes to four by 2012, and represents the beginning of the end to a decades old struggle for North County residents. The two-lane portion of Highway 76 remains one of the most dangerous stretches of road in California, and has long operated at failing service levels. That’s why North County residents voted twice to tax themselves at the pump to fund these improvements, and why I’ve done everything in my power to keep that funding in place, both at the County and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). Once all phases of the project are completed, Highway 76 will be a four-lane connection from Oceanside to Fallbrook and will run alongside a new seven-mile park next to the San Luis Rey River.
With half of the project now completed or under construction, my attention will shift widening another 5.5 mile stretch of Highway 76 between Mission Road and Interstate 15. An environmental report on that final phase of the project is expected to be finished this spring. The cost is currently estimated at $240 million. In the coming years I will fight to keep this critically important phase of the widening project on schedule and fully funded.
In this edition of the “Word,” I’ll be sharing news about a safer drive up and down Palomar Mountain, helping the homeless, a new park for Fallbrook and progress on the new Fallbrook Library.
Supervisor Horn Named County Representative for SANDAG
For 2010, Supervisor Horn will be one of two representatives for the County of San Diego on the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Board of Directors. The 18 cities and county governments form SANDAG, which serves as the forum for regional decision-making. SANDAG builds consensus, makes strategic plans, obtains and allocates resources, plans, engineers, builds public transportation, and provides information on a broad range of topics critical to the region’s quality of life.
“As the only representative of the unincorporated area of the County,” said Supervisor Horn, “I’ll be fighting for every dollar we can get for North County’s transportation infrastructure. We need our fair share if we’re ever going to complete the Highway 76 widening project, build roundabouts in Rancho Santa Fe, or improve the 78 corridor.
This year SANDAG is expected to take on the issues of water quality and supply, diminishing funding for public transportation, allocation of state and federal transportation dollars, keeping the promise of Transnet, and furthering the use of clean energy.
Rumble Strips to Prevent Motorcycle Stumbles
Rumble strips are now on the double yellow lines on South Grade Road, the seven-mile, winding path from state Route 76 to and from the top of Palomar Mountain. Rumble strips are dips cut into the street level and much more noticeable than the raised white dots you find on freeways.
The County secured a $64,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation in hopes of reducing dangerous street racing up and down the mountain road. Many motorcycle riders on high-performance bikes lean deep into every bend and zip up and down the mountain, often passing cars—and frequently losing control. Residents on Palomar Mountain expressed concern for their safety when traveling on South Grade Road or entering the road from their driveways.
George Lucia, Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department’s Chief says between 30 and 40 accidents on this road happen each year, most of which involve head-on collisions, usually involving a motorcycle running into a car or truck. Since the rumble strips have been installed, the problem with out-of-control motorcycles seems to have been solved.
Help for the Homeless
Our County Department of Housing and Community Development successfully applied for and will receive more than $4.3 million for local programs that help homeless people find shelter and deal with challenges such as mental illness, disabilities and domestic violence. The funds will come from the Supportive Housing Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The County Department of Housing and Community Development (two projects) North County Interfaith Council (four projects) and North County Solutions for Change (one project) are among the North County recipients.
The County identified the greatest needs in the community by working with local governments and nonprofit agencies. The money will go to programs in the unincorporated areas and local cities, except the City of San Diego, which applies for its own funds.
This year’s award includes renewal funding for 25 existing projects throughout the County that provide services including job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care. Grants are awarded competitively to local programs that provide transitional and permanent housing services for homeless persons and families.
A New Park for North County
It was my honor to help officially open Clemmens Lane Park in Fallbrook last month. The three-level, .57-acre pocket park offers a volleyball court, soccer field, picnic areas, a pavilion, and playgrounds. The volleyball court and soccer field is placed on the south side to reduce the noise level for people enjoying a picnic and the playgrounds are next to the picnic areas so parents can keep an eye on their youngsters.
Five years ago after we received a request for a neighborhood park south of De Luz Heights, our County Parks & Recreation people identified funding, got to work consulting with the community and then after planning the facility our Public Works employees went to work getting it done.
Built for $800,000 using federal grants and Park Land Development Ordinance Funds (PLDO), which are locally-collected developer fees, Clemmens Lane Park is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has security fencing and lighting, and is another bonus for the people of North County, especially those who live in Fallbrook, Bonsall, and De Luz.
The park and the street it is located on carry the name of the pioneer Clemmens family.
So many people worked to make this park a reality including Public Works Director John Snyder, Parks and Recreation Director Brian Albright, Park Project Manager Stephen Paul, Senior Park Ranger Thomas Contreras, County Service Area 81 member Ricardo Favela, the Clemmens family, and the local community.
Best Local Government Web Site
The County of San Diego has been honored by the Center for Digital Government with a 2009 Best of California award for the Best Local Government Web Site. The annual awards recognize excellence in contributions and distinction in the information technology areas.
The criteria for the award include innovative use of technology, energy sustainability, and benefits and improvement of services to citizens and government employees.
A “Doggone” Good Fundraising Idea
In nine months we anticipate the new Fallbrook Library will open its doors and the dream of the community will come true. As you can see from these photos, some of the foundation has been poured and walls are going up.
Support for the library has come from many sources. Perhaps the most
unusual involves Cobie, a seven-year-old gray and white Shetland sheep
dog owned by Nancy Townley. Cobie, a certified therapy dog, is a
long-time library volunteer helping children learn to read through the
“Paws to Read” program.
Nancy has donated $500 in Cobie’s name to the library in the form of
a paver brick in the Poet’s Patio. The new library still needs another
$500,000 for book collections, to complete the Outdoor Reading Garden,
a baby grand piano, theater lighting and a sound system for the
community room, which will serve as Fallbrook’s meeting place.
Marlo Miller, president of the Friends of Fallbrook Library praised Nancy’s contribution and said, “With so many animal lovers in our community, what a great way to recognize our four-legged friends.”
Donations for paver bricks range from $250 to $500. In addition, library supporters can make donations for handmade tiles on the library’s donor wall to help defray some of the anticipated costs. Tile donations start at $1,500.
I want to thank the many volunteers who contribute in so many ways at the library and the Bottom Shelf Book Store. The “bottom line” is that without our tremendous volunteers, the library would not be the gem that it is in our community.
For more information you can go to fallbrookfriends.tripod.com.