Archive for the ‘San Diego’ Category

Crossing El Camino

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

There’s a stretch of El Camino Real in North San Diego that cuts through the expansive San Dieguito River Park. The city is planning to widen El Camino there from two lanes to four. The problem is that currently there’s a tunnel under the road that wildlife can use to cross from one side to the other. It’s also used by bicyclists and pedestrians. When the city widens the road, they’re planning to close the tunnel. They say it could be rebuilt later by someone else, but the city’s not going to do it.

CA Ground SquirrelThe Carmel Valley Community Planning Board is not happy about losing the tunnel. The San Diego River Park Joint Powers Authority is pressing the city for more time so they can prepare a response. The California ground squirrels, Pacific tree frogs, and Coast horned lizards living in the park were not available for comment. [Photo: CA Ground Squirrel on hind legs by Howard Cheng. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.]

I’ve never been to this part of El Camino Real, but oddly this story made me smile. Up in the Bay Area El Camino is so heavily developed it’s really refreshing to remember the parts of it that still share space with a bit of preserved open space, wildlife and all. I know that most of El Camino is undeveloped, in particular the inter-city spans along U.S. 101 between San Jose and Los Angeles, but I don’t get down there very often so frankly I forget about it sometimes.

The Alameda pedestrian subwayI’m certainly not happy to see the tunnel go. I love the idea of the little critters scampering safely across the busy road through the thoughtfully-provided underpass. El Camino is a great way to go North and South, but it does have this tendency to split land in half, to separate East from West. It’s pretty easy to cross by car; I heard once that the intersection of El Camino Real and San Tomas Expressway in Santa Clara is one of the busiest intersections in the Bay Area. But for everyone else, crossing El Camino can be an ordeal. In 1928 the city of San Jose built a pedestrian subway tunnel under The Alameda for the students of Hester School to use. The subway is dedicated to the memory of Virginia A. Frazer and Charles Loring Sykes, two students who were struck and killed by automobiles while crossing the road. It was commendable of the city to take action to prevent another tragedy. San Diego should take note.

El Camino Real is a valuable and august citizen of the state. But if you cross it, watch out.

[Source: Rancho Santa Fe Record]