Monday, March 4, 2013
When San Diego’s regional planning agency, SANDAG, first came up with plans to widen Interstate 5, critics, like State Senator Christine Kehoe, said it focused too much on expanding the freeway, and not enough on alternative ways to travel up the coast.
Future plans to keep traffic moving up San Diego’s congested coastline into North County include major incentives to ride your bike. The modified North Coast Corridor project, which would spend a billion dollars by 2020, is ready for public comment.
Public Works Plan
Now, Caltrans project director Allan Kosup said, the plan would expand the rail lines up the coast at the same time as expanding the freeway, and add not one, but two bike lanes. The first is the completion of the 27 mile North Coast Rail Trail.
“As these rail projects are double tracked,” Kosup said, ”we also put the bike lane in as well. Also a new bike trail that would parallel Interstate 5 and go basically from UCSD all the way up to Oceanside. So it gives you a new bike route that complements the Coastal Rail Trail. “
Kosup said since the project picked the option that only includes two extra freeway express lanes in each direction, rather than three, there is room for the bike lanes next to the freeway.
The modified plan would also build wider, longer bridges over the coastal lagoons for the freeway and the railway tracks at the same time, to avoid disturbing wildlife twice.
The North Coast Corridor project will spend $6.5 billion over 40 years: $3.5 billion on extra freeway lanes, and $2.8 billion for rail improvements.
It will add two express lanes to the freeway in each direction for express buses, vanpools and carpools. It will add tracks and parking lots to the rail line, plus run trains more frequently and at off peak hours. New walking and biking trails around the coastal lagoons and better coastal access will also get a share of the money.
The public has 60 days to comment on the new North Coast Corridor plan. SANDAG plans two public meetings, April 3rd and 4th. The plan will eventually go to the California Coastal Commission for approval.