SANDAG accepts I-15 IRP Phase II
Last updated 4/12/2007 at Noon
The San Diego Association of Government’s Borders Committee accepted the I-15 Interregional Partnership Phase II final draft report March 23.
The committee approval will be ratified by the full SANDAG board in April, and the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG) is also expected to ratify the approve acceptance of the draft report.
“We’ve been working on it for so long, and it’s very gratifying to see we’ve come to this stage,” said Imperial Beach City Councilwoman Patricia McCoy, who chairs the Borders Committee.
The I-15 Interregional Partnership was formed in 2001 to address the imbalance of jobs and housing between San Diego County and Western Riverside County which has led to an increasing number of commuters on I-15 between the two counties. The primary goal of the partnership is to foster a more sustainable land use pattern providing employment closer to residences and more affordable housing near employment. The partnership initially included representatives of SANDAG and WRCOG. Other agencies which are involved in the IRP include the California Department of Transportation, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, and the Riverside Transit Agency.
Phase I of the project was completed in 2004, and the emphasis of Phase II was to implement specific strategies identified in Phase I. “In Phase II the emphasis was on implementation of short and long term strategies,” said SANDAG regional planner Jane Clough-Riquelme.
The core activity of the economic development strategy was the implementation of an employer cluster analysis to allow the two regions to identify and create a foundation for assessing opportunities to improve their local economies. The wineries and transportation logistics clusters were identified as two primary opportunities for the two counties to work together to expand and enhance their contribution to the joint economy. Phase II recommendations included providing employment opportunities to ensure a rising standard of living, identifying ways to develop and expand traded industry clusters, developing and supporting shared infrastructure investments, and developing workforce training and education programs.
Transportation strategy components include enhancing capacity, transit, operational improvements, and transportation demand management. In March 2007 Caltrans Districts 8 (covering Riverside County) and 11 (covering San Diego County) released a cooperative I-15 county line study which indicated a predicted increase in travel demand from an average daily traffic volume of 135,000 vehicles in 2005 to 250,000 vehicles by 2030, which would trigger congestion by 2015 if improvements are not made. The report also includes potential capacity-enhancing, transit, operational, and intelligent transportation system/transportation demand management improvements.
Phase I determined that many of the people moving to southwestern Riverside County are workers in the San Diego region who moved in search of more affordable housing. Phase II includes a pilot project feasibility analysis which focuses on the production of moderate-income workforce housing along the future Sprinter line between Oceanside and Escondido; the project would work with local jurisdictions, housing developers, major employers, and the North County Transit District to identify the resources, incentives, and strategies needed to construct such housing.
Although further action will require funding from various government agencies, including an additional grant for Phase III of the I-15 IRP, Phase II demonstrated the ability of the two regions to work together on collaborative strategies involving greater coordination than existing programs.
“I think we can continue to move forward,” said Lake Elsinore City Councilman Thomas Buckley, who is also on the WRCOG executive committee.
“I think it shows where the two counties have been very proactive,” McCoy said. “This comprehensive approach is what’s needed more and more.”