Driving, it's what we do here in San Diego's North County and there is no way around it. Local cities have been designed with the automobile in mind. I dare anyone to prove otherwise. Everywhere you look roads are being widened to encourage a lifestyle that has been carefully designed to keep us behind the wheel.
Local residents need look no further than the reworking of the Vista Way/ Melrose interchanges. How convenient that the new off-ramp puts you right at the door of a Ford dealership. Coincidence? I think not. Vista City Councilmember Ted Cole has been attempting to prevent the resurrection of the east/west commuter rail, for reasons I have yet to grasp. I know this is hard to imagine, but there once was a train service that took Escondido residents to the coast and back.
Billions of dollars are being spent yearly to increase the amount of pavement. The City of Carlsbad is more than doubling La Costa Blvd. to accommodate huge development tracts along El Camino Real. The City Of San Marcos is currently working with CalTrans to widen freeway overpasses along Highway 78. They are also working on plans to increase Rancho Sante Fe to accommodate the future San Elijo Ranch development. Oceanside can boast Highway 76 which now connects interstates 5 and 15. The list goes on and on.
Now let's compare that, with the list of public transit projects currently underway. If you count the lowering of the tracks through Solana Beach, you would have an impressive list of one. I however do not consider North County Transit District's Solana Beach project. This makes sense when you take into consideration that NCTD is cutting back Coaster service. The powers that be at NCTD say they are responding to a lack of riders, I say it is because their motives are far from pure. Has anyone noticed the call for double tracking along the coast? Do think this has anything to do with the fact that the coastal corridor connects the maquiladoras of Tijuana with the Port of L.A. In other words, the Solana Beach dig is designed to increase freight traffic, not public transit.
For years I resisted the car cult. At the wise age of thirteen I informed my parents I would never drive. At the even wiser age of twenty-nine I decided if I was going to have a life in San Diego County I needed a car. Yes ladies and gentlemen Have been only driving for six years. Although I'm sure if you averaged out my mileage to my time spent on earth you would discover that I chalked up five hundred miles while still in the womb.
Let's face it folks we are addicted to the automobile, and the current system is our pusher. Having placed a gas guzzling monkey on our backs, the status quo has gotten rich while we work ourselves to death to make sure car payments are made, our auto insurance is current, and the tank is never empty. Do you think there is a twelve-step program. "Hello, my name is John Q. Public. And I'm a Caraholic."
Now for those of you that are willing to continue to sacrifice clean air, clean water, and general well-being, put the pedal to the metal. And for those of you aren't I say it is high time we voted the traffic junkies out of office.
Robert T. Nanninga is a Leucadia resident currently working on a degree in Environmental Communications at CSUSM.