Palomar Elementary School was recently the site of an open house for a South Bay transportation project.
The forum was one of dozens hosted by the San Diego Association of Governments in the last two years on its South Bay Bus Rapid Transit venture.
Members of the community poured through the two-hour period to receive information on the project, slated to break ground next month.
Construction of the East Palomar Street Direct Access Ramp, Transit Station and Park & Ride, is part of the first phase of the Interstate 805 South Express Lanes Project, a $1.4 billion transportation effort to create a new, modern transportation backbone for South County, scheduled for completion in the winter of 2014.
The project is a part of Keep San Diego Moving, supported by TransNet, the half-cent sales tax for San Diego region transportation projects, aimed at providing travelers with access to the South Bay Bus Rapid Transit BRT system and offering a convenient location for car and van pools to access carpool lanes currently under construction on I-805.
Once completed, the Interstate 805 project will create a 28-mile express lanes facility in the median of I-805 between state Route 905 and Interstate 5.
The Interstate 805 express lanes project includes four express lanes in the median area, direct access ramps for buses and other high-occupancy vehicles, direct freeway-to-freeway HOV connectors, retaining walls to minimize physical impacts to adjacent communities and sound walls to reduce noise impacts.
Caltrans project manager Ramon Martinez said his role is to make sure citizen concerns are addressed, the majority of which focus on the impact of the project on surrounding communities, including traffic, noise and potential new crime.
“We’ve heard all of them and put measures in place to mitigate them,” Martinez said.
Frank Sedlacek has lived with his wife on the corner of East Palomar and Pecan Place since 1975.
“The project is probably good in the sense that it should accomplish what they intended it to accomplish,” Sedlacek said.
Sedlacek, 70, uses an oxygen tank and said he’s concerned about the dust and dirt the construction will produce, but accepts the project’s impact.
“It’s just the nature of the beast,” he said. “It’s just where we live.”
Sedlacek has been to a few other meetings on the project.
“I think they have been pretty informative,” he said. “I think that with everything they’ve tried to accomplish, we’ve been treated well.”
Chula Vista resident and former Growth Management Oversight Committee member David Krogh said he’s been monitoring transportation capacity expansion for 10 years.
“It’s been a long time and coming and I’m glad it’s finally coming to fruition,” Krogh said.
Members of the public can receive updates on the I-805 South Project by visiting www.keepsandiegomoving.com.