By- Lou Ochoa
Come the end of June, horns should be silenced (except in emergencies) as trains pass through coastal Oceanside, according to Gary Kellison, project engineer.
Kellison spoke Tuesday to the monthly Morning Meeting of MainStreet Oceanside.
He has reported regularly on the project and said its timetable is holding for turning the tracks through Oceanside’s five rail intersections into “quiet zones.”
Meanwhile, he warned residents to be prepared for testing from 4 a.m. to midnight on Sunday, April 14. And, he said, for an unrelated reason, train service from Oceanside Transit Center will be shut down the April 13-14 weekend.
Kellison said the crossing at Surfrider Way has been engineered a bit differently – narrowed to accommodate the crossing arms.
A new signal at Mission Avenue and Cleveland Street has been installed but is not operative yet. When it is, Rick Wright, MainStreet Executive Director, said, it might be a “scramble” signal where people can cross the street in all directions as traffic will be stopped from going through the intersection. Kellison said Wednesday that possibility has been scrapped.
UPDATE SINCE THE MEETING: David DiPierro, City Traffic Engineer, provided this information regarding the intersection of Mission Avenue and Cleveland Street:
“The signal turn-on for Mission Ave. and Cleveland Street is almost ready to go, but needs to be coordinated with the work being done for the quiet zone. Tentatively, the date for testing the Mission Avenue queue-cutter signals is Saturday, April 13, 2019. City staff plans to turn the signal on for this location some time towards the end of April.
Unfortunately, because of the complexity of coordinating the traffic signal phasing and timing plan with the quiet zone protocol, we will no longer be able to provide a Pedestrian Scramble at this location. Instead, we will be implementing an Exclusive Pedestrian Phase that will allow pedestrians to cross while vehicle traffic is stopped. With an Exclusive Pedestrian phase, pedestrians will not be encouraged to cross at a diagonal.”
Kellison said updated information on the quiet zones will be posted to the city and HowDoYouOside.com websites.
Dick Bartlett, a MainStreet volunteer whose home borders the railroad tracks, wanted to make sure the end-of-June date includes the testing, and Kellison said it does.
“Believe it or not,” Wright said, “we are near the end” of this longstanding project.
The Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation was outlined by Nicki Powell and Teresa Gomez from the city’s Water Utilities Department. Noting that although the state is not now experiencing a drought, it perpetually has water shortages.
Powell said she hopes Oceanside can win a national challenge for percentage of its citizens to sign up pledging to conserve water. “I hope we can win,” she said. Flyers announcing the program will be placed in April water bills, Powell said.
They introduced a video, shot by KOCT, featuring Mayor Peter Weiss, strumming the guitar and telling of various ways to save water: repairing leaks, regulating the sprinkler, sweeping the driveway instead of washing it and using native plants.
Carly Starr, new Executive Director of KOCT television, was introduced.
Talking about KOCT, Starr said the two-channel nonprofit is the only such community- service station in California operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Starr said its studio truck has gone wireless, the better to cover such as the annual Independence Parade staged by MainStreet.
Although she is new to her executive position, Starr said she first started at KOCT 32 years ago operating a camera and serving as its first female director. She went on to other successes in the business before returning locally.
Starr invited people to suggest local events to cover or new programs, like content for Oceanside Spectrum. “We can put something together for you,” she said.
“I’d love to share all your passions for the community,” Starr said.
The invitation was taken up immediately by Susan Brown, who said it could be used to publicize the First Friday Art Walk held downtown every month.
Brown said the Oceanside Friends of the Arts program is in its fifth year and “has expanded tremendously.” She noted that it has given scholarships to students from Oceanside and El Camino high schools.
This Friday, Brown said. from 5 to 9 p.m., volunteers will hand out maps along Pier View Way and Mission Avenue locating the various art venues.
Also, she said, there will be a children’s pavilion supervised by adults, the Oceanside High School Photography Club will participate, and there will be free food and music.
“It’s a nice experience with our musicians,” Brown said.
In other business:
–Wright, who earlier had apologized for being “vocally challenged” with a raspy voice caused by some bug picked up when he and the MainStreet staff attended the National Main Street Conference in Seattle last week, presented a couple of “construction updates.”
He said that excavation continues for the new beach resort and said concrete could be poured as soon as the second week of April.
Also, the parking structure on Cleveland has been delayed by rains, Wright said, but early this month scaffolding should be removed, and it should be operational by Memorial Day weekend although the schedule is still tentative due to the weather.
Wright showed an “awesome” new construction map of the nine-block master plan area and said that copies are available at DowntownOceanside.com and MainStreetOceanside.com.
–City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez called homelessness “the No. 1 thing that I get calls on” and said city officials are “working diligently on a solution.” “It’s a tough, tough nut to crack,” Rodriguez said, but everyone in the city is working on it.
–Brenda Batali, a local resident, asked about the shoreline erosion study that has been going on for years and possible structures to contain the sand.
–Assistant City Manager Deanna Lorson replied that it was actually authorized by Congress in 2000, and the Army Corps of Engineers is in charge. The city has applied for grants to complete the study, she said, and will continue to work with the Army Corps. Every year, she said, sand is dredged onto the beach, but it retreats annually and there are, she said, environmental concerns with most proposals to fix the situation.
–Wright said “there are a lot of people working on sand replenishment,” including the Chamber of Commerce and Visit Oceanside.
–Jane Marshall, president of Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association (OCNA) – told of a planned “Lawn Chair Brigade” of 20 volunteers for the parade on June 29,
–Marshall said her group also is publicizing the Mayor’s water-conservation pledge.
–Wright, “speaking of the parade,” said with an entry fee for businesses of only $100, it is a wonderful way for businesses to promote themselves in front of 10,000 people.
–Cathy Nykiel, who manages the parade for MainStreet, asked who in the audience had been to the event, and almost everyone raised his or her hand. Nykiel called it “two hours of red, white and blue.” and said volunteers needed. “Of course, I always need 100 volunteers the day of the parade,” Nykiel said. She said the 1st Marine Division Band has confirmed that it will march, and the Wells Fargo stagecoach will participate. More information is available on OceansideParade.com.
–Nykiel also mentioned the annual Earth Festival downtown on April 27, saying there are “a lot of new partners, and some returning partners.” She highlighted iHeartRadio.
–Asked about the recent contest for an artist to create a new downtown mural, Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Program Manager, said there should be an announcement this week.
–Escarcega also announced MainStreet’s first Mothers Day event, Mother’s Day is Sweet – a dessert-tasting akin to the annual Taste of Oceanside, but not quite as extensive. “We’ve had a good response from chefs,” he said. It will be walkable, he said, with no need for a trolley bus as in the Taste of Oceanside. Escarcega said tickets for the event, from 2 to 5 p.m. on May 11, will be $20 and will go on sale next week at ShopLocalOceanside.com.
–Robert Botkin, president of the Boys & Girls Club, said it will be hosting a Mothers Day pancake breakfast that same day, starting at 8:30, and all moms will get a rose.
–Diane Record, Career Advisor at the Goodwill Oceanside Employment Center, announced a hiring event for the upcoming US Census. Onsite interviews will take place at the Employment Center located at 414 N. Coast Highway on Wednesday, April 24 from 10:00 am to noon.
–Linda Piña of Carla and Linda’s Walking Food Tours said they celebrated their third anniversary in February and they have averaged 50 people a weekend and were praised for providing a customer’s 70th birthday celebration. And they have a bridal shower scheduled. Also, she said, it’s been fun to work with Pegasus Sidecar Tours. Nicola Vulajic of Pegasus said he has been in business one year next month and his tours, which include audio, are “a perfect way to see the town.” He said he is “looking forward to a very good summer.”
–Marissa Figueroa of Sonora Refillery, located at 1012 S. Coast Highway, #A, urged people to come to her shop to begin a neighborhood cleanup Saturday (8 a.m.- 11 a.m.) and then enjoy an eco-friendly family event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with vendors, food and music.
–Cerina De Souza, director of marketing and communications for Visit Oceanside, reminded that it has lists of when various schools take spring break.
–De Souza also handed out posters that businesses could put in their windows for the Ironman triathlon this weekend. In answer to a question from Wright, De Souza said that the race should be OK despite the possible impact of downtown construction.
–Lori Lawson invited people to a seminar on professional and personal development from 9 to 10 a.m. April 26 at the Chamber of Commerce.
The next monthly MainStreet Morning Meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. May 7 at the MainStreet office at 701 Mission Ave.
We welcome all parties interested in the progress of Downtown Oceanside, including businesspeople, residents, and City staff. This informative one hour meeting is held in an informal discussion format. The general public is always welcome! Meet your City officials, MainStreet Oceanside staff and members and find out about upcoming events and changes to YOUR downtown and city.