Unpublished Letter to the San Diego Union Tribune Re: Hall Park Property
by Herb Patterson
I was amazed to read your editorial on the proposed park in Encinitas as I have usually expected some kind of journalist integrity and research from the Union Tribune. Unfortunately this apparently did not happen here.
First, none of the opponents of this plan that I know do not object to a park at this location, they simply object to the current plan. A simple reading of the traffic engineer's report is all that is necessary to understand the problems here. At the best case scenario, assuming all the traffic engineers projections are correct and Caltrans cooperates fully [their plans for the I5 expansion in this area are not finalized], the projected mitigation of the traffic impacts of the park are not resolved until 2030. Even then, after a supposed full mitigation, several intersections are projected to still be at Level of Service “D” [levels of service are graded just like in school – “D” is not good]. The Encinitas General Plan strives for level “C” as a goal.
If the Appendix to the Park EIR had been checked, you would have found that the underlying traffic counts of many of the streets relied upon to make the report come from 2003 figures [ the last time Encinitas has done a a full City count]. These old figures were then “marked up” 2% a year for two years to get an approximate count as of 2005. The method of “marking up” has not proven to be an accurate method as I can document with figures from a similar location in Encinitas. The City of Encinitas is currently finalizing a Traffic Circulation which should contain current traffic counts.
Wouldn't it be prudent to wait before making a decision on the Park until after current figures can be studied ?
That's not all. There is a planned expansion of the Hospital across the street from the proposed Park, numerous schools within close proximity that are expanding or planning to expand, multiple new housing developments, etc. applying for zoning changes or building permits in the area of the proposed Park. Many of the intersections, on ramps, and roadway segments in the area are all ready running at
Level of Service D,E,or F currently. There currently is no plan to coordinate all these projects to prevent massive overload of the area surrounding the Park. Might not that be a good idea ?
The Park as presented in the EIR has 419 parking spaces. The traffic engineer envisions a worst case case use of the park for a soccer tournament [disregarding any concurrent usage] of 800+ trips to the Park. He suggests that offsite parking, trams, traffic cones, and traffic control a la the Del Mar fair will be necessary. This overflow of cars would severely impact an area that already has parking problems.
No off site parking has currently been secured nor is it known if any will be available other than in the area that will already be impacted by people coming to the Park. I don't think it is unreasonable to reduce the intensity of the possible use of the Park to somewhere around the parking capacity, do you?
In summary, we have a traffic plan the requires perfection to get to a goal set too low and relying on obsolete traffic counts, the results of projects undecided at this time, the whims of Caltrans as well as providing inadequate parking. I haven't touched on the inadequate access to the Park as planned or the impacts to the areas where the access would be nor have I touched on any of the other issues.
This park can not even be planned until such time as the City and Caltrans have finalized their on and off ramp decisions, the Circulation Study is complete and a coordination of the multiple projects around the Park is done. I wish it was as simple as “Ignore Park Opponents” as your headline read – if you had done your homework you would have known it is not that simple.
A couple of Hall Park letters the UT published link.
Encinitas' delays hurt today's youth
Leucadia!: Dan Dalager Constructs New Hall Park Statue