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"Son of 680" the Sequel: Madness takes its toll

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
November 4, 1999


Let me be perfectly clear. The planned arterial road, other wise known as "The Son of 680" will not in any way reduce traffic on Interstates 5 and 15. What this monster will do, is destroy the biotic communities of our coastal back country. Some members of the regional electorate have no problem forcing this slab of cement through the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve is a good idea.

If SANDAG were to listen to its own predictions it would realize that this small "artery" will not soften the impact of the million new residents they foresee. With all the associated problems, such as development, runoff, habitat loss, and increased auto emissions, building another road would be just more failing infrastructure to deal with. Ask yourself, Have any of the road projects, constructed in the last decade, alleviated traffic conditions?

The Growth Machine would have us believe that this one road will do the trick. It can't. Inserting traffic where it currently doesn't exist, is parallel to a river over running its banks and flooding the surrounding community. There is nothing wrong with the vehicular infrastructure. The Interstate 5 and 15 transportation corridors are sufficient to meet the regions needs. All that is lacking is sensible planning and a vision for the future that doesn't include choking destroying the environment.

Imagine if regional organizations, governments, and the local work force turned their attention to building a mass transit system of epic proportion. Imagine a shift in technology that would not only meet the needs of commuters, but families, tourists and commercial interests as well. Impossible you say. Think again.

Currently the talk in Coastal North County is about the planned expansion of Interstate 5, 16 lanes in some places. Instead of making room for more fossil fuel dependent automobiles, the wiser choice would be to place the much anticipated high-speed rail project in the easement that would be claimed for the expansion. A lot of jobs would be created in building this new system, while protecting sensitive biological habitats, not to mention our own quality of life.

I understand change is inevitable, but who say it has to be all bad. The only people who profit from building roads are those who make their living from encouraging the current paradigm, and even that is in question. Roads promote pollution of both the air and water which benefits nothing in the long run. Not even those driving the growth machine.

Mass transit, on the other hand, can be generated by solar energy, in a clean and quiet way. Not only is this better for the environment, it also helps the San Diego region be more self - sufficient in regards to their transportation needs. As far as I know San Diego County is not sitting on large sources oil, it does however have an ample supply of sunlight, some say enough to last another 13 billion years. The fact that we have the technology to utilize this renewable resource and chose not to do so, speaks volumes about environmental apathy.

The last thing San Diego county needs is another million drivers crisscrossing the county in search of the perfect parking space. Now that SANDAG has seen the future, they should start preparing for it.  Future planning should include future focus. As a major metropolis, precedence has shown that we should expect a comprehensive mass transit system down the line. New York, Boston, San Francisco, all give evidence to where we are going. Why fight it.

Supervisor Pam Slater is correct in her assessment that this planned highway through unincorporated back country serves only to promote the development of environmentally sensitive habitat, while destroying years of regional conservation work in one full swoop." Supervisor Slater is also correct in her assertion that SANDAG looks like a bunch of fools.

Other example of such foolishness is Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis saying he favors anything that would replace the nixed Highway 680. If you ask me, Mayor Bud has been in office so long his brain has gone soft. San Marcos Councilmember Hal Martin has said that if regional leaders want the road, environmental problems can be solved. How does one solve erasing native habitat? Roads at all costs, how is that for a campaign slogan.

Now is the time for everyone who is tired of dealing nightmare traffic, loss of open space, polluted beaches and unsafe neighborhoods should storm city hall. Attending council meetings, meeting privately with local officials, and calling congressional representatives, on a regular basis, is the way to be heard. We also need to elect people to office that can see the the promise of mass transit for what it is, a environmentally friendly alternative to what is other wise a road to nowhere.

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