Richard Bailey

Question:

The City of Coronado has pursued talks on the relinquishment of SR 282 and SR 75, and it looks like those will be coming to a successful close in the near future. What changes in the Orange Avenue corridor do you see as viable given local control of the environment?

Answer:

Until now, any talk of improving traffic safety, creating a more neighborhood feeling along our busiest streets, or enhancing the appearance of the business district was met with either silence, or a resounding “no” from the state. This is finally about to change. 

On my first day as mayor in 2016, Councilmember Sandke and I jointly requested an analysis on relinquishment. In early 2017, the Coronado City Council made the decision to evaluate the pros and cons of pursuing local control of SR 282 and 75, better known as Third and Fourth Streets and Orange Avenue, respectively.

After rigorous financial and engineering analysis, we determined local control of these roads was financially feasible and would allow us to deliver desired infrastructure and landscaping improvements, as well as provide a higher quality of maintenance for our community. 

Once local control is approved by the state, which is likely to happen in the first quarter of 2021, we must get to work reimagining Third and Fourth Streets and Orange Avenue. 

In the short-term, the families that live along Third and Fourth Streets deserve to feel like a neighborhood again with better landscaping and infrastructure improvements that calm traffic, reduces noise, increases safety and makes the areas more walkable and family friendly. Similar improvements along Orange Ave to create a cohesive landscaping palette, replace tired street furniture, and add lighting, will enhance the pedestrian experience for everyone and make Orange Avenue a more inviting place to enjoy for us all.

In the long-term, we should look at flexible lanes along Third and Fourth Streets to reduce traffic to two lanes during most of the day.  For Orange Avenue, we should look at reducing the number of lanes from four to two and creating a more inviting space for outdoor dining and recreation. 

The relinquishment topic was long overdue for real consideration. I am proud this current council unanimously approved moving forward with the analysis, negotiations, and approval to take control into our own hands -- it was a bold decision that was the right thing to do for the people of Coronado. Now the vision of making our streets safer, quieter, pedestrian-friendly, and more attractive, will not be met with silence or a “no,” it will be met with a community conversation and action.

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