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Traffic woes before cars on road Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Jul 09 2011 03:57 AM

The Interstate 805 South project planned by Caltrans to improve the community has some residents concerned.

At a recent meeting put on by Caltrans, some 125 residents showed up to learn more about the project and ask questions about how they would be affected.

Louise Pichette has lived in her home on East Palomar Street since 1969 and is worried about noise and traffic congestion.

Pichette said she installed double pane windows to help alleviate noise from a previous construction project.

Other residents were upset, saying this was the first they heard of the project.

Kathy Lowery lives on the corner of Raven Avenue and Thrush Street. With 6-year-old twins, Lowery said she is worried about having even more traffic in the area.

“They’re not hearing our concerns,” she said of Caltrans

 The 40-year, $1.4-billion project is a part of the regional transportation plan to implement freeway and transit improvements as a collaboration between Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments between the State Route 15 Interchange spanning 11 miles.

Project Manager Ramon Martinez said that a new transit station and a Park & Ride will provide travelers with convenient access and new transit options.

Martinez said the project aims to revolutionize the transportation system, transform the transit network and create sustainable communities by connecting neighborhoods to employment.

The four-part project includes a direct access ramp at East Palomar Street, which will connect to new express lanes on the highway for carpools and the bus system; the addition of buffer-separated express lanes within the I-805 median; an inline transit station on Plaza Boulevard and H Street; and more than 70 sound-mitigating walls, 100 retaining walls and 20 bridge improvements.

The Park & Ride consists of approximately four acres between East Palomar Street and Naples Street. Cost for phase 1 is $200 million with funds being a mix of federal, state and local

The project contains a number of safety features including 24- hour security camera surveillance and signs, full video coverage of sites and buses, graffitiminimizing bus shelters and fully- lit shared bike/pedestrian paths and shelters.

Martinez said information has been distributed throughout the project, including at several public meetings, presentations to more than 30 community/business groups, through e-blasts and letters, advertisements in
community newspapers, website updates and brochures and fact sheets.

Formal public outreach began July last year with two public hearings held Sept. 21 and 22, one in Chula Vista and one in San Diego. According to Martinez, 32,000 postcard invites went out a half-mile from the entire 805 South project and within a one-mile radius from the East Palomar direct access ramp.

Martinez said he is focused on addressing the issues that surfaced at last week’s meeting.

“We need to make sure that everyone understands there is a bigger picture — this is a new transportation backbone that will offer new options to travelers with a supporting transportation option,” Martinez said.

Construction is expected to begin as early as the fall of 2012 for phase 1. Construction for phase 1 is anticipated to last around two to two and a half years, completed by the end of December in 2014. The entire project is to be completed by 2020.

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