Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Olivenhain Fence Drama

image from

I received the following e-mail today:


Concerned Citizens Community Meeting




Help us fight the City's arbitrary decision to remove the Lone Jack Trails fence that took so many years to achieve along the trail line. We've lost our only barrier that separates us on the trail from speeding and irresponsible drivers on the road.

A driver who crashed through the fence and their attorney complained to the city that the fence is dangerous because it nearly hurt the driver when it pierced the car. The city immediately began removing the fences without consulting the community. Why doesn't the City take action on the speed issue instead of the fence that so many people worked so many years to have installed for the rural beauty and separation of our trails?

Come discuss this issue with other concerned citizens and learn how you can help.

Questions, call Terry McDougall, 10-year Olivenhain resident



Here is an excerpt from Bruce Ehlers’ August OTC newsletter article in case you missed it …

CITY MAY REMOVE OLIVENHAIN’S ROAD-SIDE LODGE POLE FENCES … Several recent accidents along Lone Jack Road resulted in cars careening off the road and into the lodge pole fencing separating the pavement and roadside trails. Unfortunately in at least one case, the poles impaled the car but fortunately the poles did not injure the errant driver. The incidents did catch the attention of our City’s Risk Manager and City Attorney. They were concerned about the City’s potential liability due to the placement of the fence within a “10 foot recovery zone” at the edge of the road.

The City immediately began removing the fences along Lone Jack. The Encinitas Trial Coalition (ETC) noticed this and quickly objected to the loss of the fences which isolate many trial segments from the roadway. ETC members gathered information on similar fences placed along major roads in Poway and Rancho Santa Fe. They also asked that the city slow down or stop their removals and better justify their action with specific regulations or highway design manuals.

At this time, the city has not responded with the section of the highway manual or vehicle code that is driving this sudden policy reversal. The city, home owners and civic groups (including the OTC) began installing these fences about five years ago to enhance Olivenhain’s rural character and provide some isolation between trail segments and cars. Many sections of fence have been installed as recently as the last year. It is unfortunate that the city is reacting to potential liability concerns without holding any public discussion. Hopefully we can arrange a meeting at the Olivenhain Meeting Hall before the fence removals spread beyond Lone Jack Road.

Please call or email your City Council to express your opinion about the fences. They can be easily contacted by calling 760-633-2600 or emailing them collectively at article on this subject here.

My take, what happens if the fence isn't there? Where do the cars end up? Should a community's ambiance be ruined just because of a few careless and drunk drivers? Can we install a metal guardrail at the curvy section instead of tearing down the entire fence? I say the fence should stay.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the fence should stay. This seems to me like another case of the unfettered discretion of the City Attorney to direct staff without pre-disclosure to concerned members of the public of decisions or actions to be taken.


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