The City unveiled its new Mission Boulevard Public Space and Active Transportation Plan at a community open house Aug. 28 at Pacific Beach Library.
The City said engineers analyzed different intersection treatments for the Mission Boulevard concept, proposing that a roundabout at Pacific Beach Drive and Mission Boulevard “would serve as a gateway design feature and improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists while also maintaining traffic flow.”
Through a collaboration with residents, business and property owners, the City Planning Department presented concepts to improve access to the boardwalk and mobility choices along Mission Boulevard for walking, bicycling, transit and micro mobility transportation.
“As part of the final report, we’re going to prioritize these improvements for short- or long-term projects,” said senior City planner Elizabeth Ocampo Vivero on Aug. 28. “These improvements will not happen overnight. None of the concepts we’ve prepared preclude anyone’s driveway access. This is really a path forward to improve walking and biking, access to transit and enhancing access to the beach.”
“It (mobility plan) could be implemented as a Capital Improvement Program project or a grant-funded project,” said City spokes person Tara Grimes. “If the City receives grant funding for the improvements, this plan would point us in the right direction.”
The City said it’s premature to consider mobility plan implementation costs. “Further studies would need to be done to give an accurate estimate for the proposed roadway realignments,” said Grimes, noting the plan’s preliminary engineering design is 30% complete that “provides the City with the opportunity to seek future grants to fund the full engineering design, technical studies and environmental analysis, which constitutes the remaining 70%.”
Three PB residents — Marcie Beckett, Ed Gallagher and Greg Daunoras — who attended the open house reacted to the new active transportation plan.
“The planned roundabout at Mission Boulevard and Pacific Beach Drive, coupled with the reduction of traffic lanes on Mission, will result in much greater traffic congestion on Mission, and will cause drivers to use nearby residential streets as thoroughfares,” Beckett said.
“Considering the high volume of pedestrians crossing Mission at PB Drive, placing a roundabout there is likely to result in gridlock during the summer and on sunny weekends all year-long. The planned elimination of 60 parking spaces will increase traffic and pollution in adjacent residential areas as more drivers circle around to find scarce parking,” Beckett said.
“I am opposed to the vehicle roundabout at Mission Boulevard and PB Drive, or any roundabout on Mission Boulevard, because of the very high volume of pedestrians crossing Mission Boulevard going to and from the beach,” said Danoras, immediate past president of PB Town Council. “It will most certainly hold up traffic flow.
“I am also concerned about closing northbound lanes of traffic north of Grand where Fire Station 21 is. … ambulance and fire engines respond (daily) to emergency calls in North PB and South La Jolla where Mission Boulevard is their main road of travel north. It's crazy to take away a northbound lane of traffic for emergency vehicles,” said Danoras
“I’m in favor of roundabouts in general but I’m concerned how the junction at Mission Boulevard and PB Drive will balance the high volume walk-bike-drive mix at that intersection,” said Gallagher. “Without adequate measures like well-designed flashing crosswalks (or pedestrian/bike overpass) this could really tie up traffic and lead to an increase in road-rage incidents.”
Added Gallagher: “The idea of trying to push so many pedestrians, so many bicyclists and so many cars into all sharing the same main thoroughfares doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, especially when the protective barriers for bicyclists are so often just street striping and/or flimsy pylons. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take bike paths off of major thoroughfares like Mission, Cass, Grand, Garnet, Ingraham and Fanuel, and place them on less-crowded, quieter, calmer residential streets like Hornblend, Felspar, Bayard and Haines?”
The City Planning Department is scheduled to release the Mission Boulevard Public Space and Active Transportation Plan on Sept. 4.