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Bridge Plaza Up for Facelift

Cost of proposal for beautification of old toll plaza sparks debate at City Council meeting.

The cost and design of a proposal to make the old toll plaza safer and more pleasing to the eye was presented at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

A city report dubbed the area the “Gateway to Coronado,” but the zone suggests little about the rest of the community. Mayor Casey Tanaka described the plaza as a “cross between an industrial area and a parking lot.”

Plans call for replacing it with decorative medians and vegetation, including date palms, blood red trumpet vine and mauve blue flame.  

The medians also would be added to slow the speed of vehicles coming off the San Diego-Coronado Bridge so motorists can transition from “a highway environment to a residential neighborhood setting,” the report said.

The design was created by RBF Consultants, but it is only a suggestion. After viewing the presentation the council made it clear that public input would be paramount in order to make a decision.

“We should invite people who live down there to take a look at it,” Councilman Al Ovrom said.

The project is expected to cost a little over $800,000, with funds coming from the $7 million in remaining revenues from the old toll, which ended in 2002. The money was set aside to mitigate an increase in traffic, Councilwoman Carrie Downey explained. 

Councilwoman Barbara Denny opposed the idea. “It’s a good project, but it’s not the right time,” she said. “With this down economy with no end in sight, taxpayers want the spending to stop.”

She also questioned using toll funds for projects that don’t directly help residents of Third and Fourth streets. “We should be providing them with double-paned windows and shrubs” to muffle the traffic noise, she said.

Others bristled at Denny’s suggestion that the project might be wasteful. This city has a history of “being prudent with taxpayers’ money,” Ovrom said.

“We can only use it for limited purposes and this will benefit everyone,” Tanaka said.

Mike Vaughan October 20, 2011 at 02:55 PM
The toll booths should have been removed years ago. They are a safety hazard in addition to being an eyesore. About ten days ago a woman hit one of the dividers, lost control and went sailing across traffic, where she plowed into a man on his way to work at a local computer repair place and then into the bushes by the skate park. I happened to be waiting for him while this was happening so I heard about it directly from him. He wasn't hurt but his car was totaled. Whatever the aesthetics, there needs to be row after row of Bott's Dots put down across traffic lanes as slowdown warning strips to bring traffic speeds down quickly since there is not much transition distance between bridge speed and the 25 mph limit that starts right away after the road levels out. It is also my opinion that 30 mph should be the limit on a short part of that road, perhaps as far as the Coronado Island sign, in order to allow an easier speed transition.
John Hutchinson October 20, 2011 at 06:56 PM
Save the $800K,Restore the Toll,Transform Orange Ave back to pre SR-75 Traffic Log Jam & Biker Nightmare
Kathy Williams Campbell October 21, 2011 at 03:20 AM
It needs to be cleaned up and made presentable. It looks very GHETTO!
Mike Casey October 21, 2011 at 07:07 PM
I think traffic calming on the inbound side is way overdue, too, Mike. As a community we're so proud of that odd little traffic circle at Pomona & 7th, but the speeding cars coming off the bridge are a lot more dangerous than anything on Pomona. And as far as Ms. Denny's opinion that we need "the spending to stop"... sounds like yet more mayoral campaign rhetoric. I would much rather have $800k less in the toll fund and have a safe entrance to town.
Pat McDonough October 21, 2011 at 09:48 PM
It is a very poor representation of our Beautiful Coronado. The broken concrete curbs, etc. and garbage flying about. Plus the traffic on the bridge is always over 50 MPH. I use my cruise control at 50 and stay in the fast lane to slow it down. It would be a better investment than that stupied, overpriced roundabout that was recently put in for a million dollare.The people who buy in that area of the bridge know of the noise, etc. Do all the taxpayers have to pay for their noise reductions. Thanks for listening...PM

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