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Letter to the editor: Do we have a Traffic Commission conflict, or a conflicted city council?

In Mr. Whitlock’s article of Sept. 18, there were a few significant and critical omissions that need to be stated in order to portray a more accurate picture of the “perceived conflict.” Let’s begin with the fact that none of us on the Traffic Commission are anti-bike. In fact, over the last few meetings we have unanimously advocated for new bike lanes on La Costa Boulevard, Santa Fe Drive and as a part of our prioritized “Safe Routes to School” plan. We try to balance the auto/bike/ped needs while focusing on the big picture.

So it came as a shock when multiple correspondences recently surfaced, not just “hearsay” as reported. One in particular, dated July 10, 2015, between Grover and Councilwomen Shaffer and Blakespear, states, “can we figure out a schedule for the next slurry seal along this stretch of Coast Hwy. 101 and start planning for a ‘Road Diet’ so as not to miss the opportunity when it comes along. I think we should know the schedule in order to remove 2 driving lanes and on street parking downtown along 101.”

Grover then goes on to add “would the same be true for El Camino Real?” These quotes should have been in Mr. Whitlock’s article as they are the crux and nexus of the entire matter.

To be clear, the term “Road Diet” in this instance, means the removal of one downtown automobile traffic lane in each direction on Highway 101 from the Swami’s parking lot north to Encinitas Boulevard and the removal of the on-street parking on the east side of 101 from E Street south to J Street. Really! Are you shocked when reading this? So was I, and thus my previously quoted response.

Does this sound like Commission neutrality that should only be looking at all the facts and ramifications? Contrary to Commissioner Grover’s statement, he was never “personally attacked and character-assassinated” by anyone —but perhaps he’s paranoid under the circumstances.

Sadly, to conclude, this whole episode has been blown completely out of proportion and inflamed by Councilwoman Shaffer saying in her follow-up weekly newsletter: “When we consider appointments next March, I will try to ensure that we appoint people who understand the role of the Commission and the strategic direction of the Council.”

I submit that those comments clearly broadcast the council majority’s agenda and it seems to me that this posture should concern all of us in this city, not just those of us on the Traffic Commission. Maybe the council should take the time to inform the entire commission exactly what their agenda is and not single out one commissioner to promote it.

Dave Hutchinson, Cardiff

Associate Editor Jared Whitlock replies: During the Traffic and Public Safety Commission meeting, Commissioner Hutchinson did not bring up or discuss correspondences he refers to in his letter, nor did he do so during a follow-up interview with the Encinitas Advocate. As for the word “hearsay,” the word was used by Commissioner Grover to describe the contents of a letter that was critical of him.


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