San Marcos students are saying goodbye to summer and heading back to school this week and next week. The start of the school year spells increased traffic congestion. Please plan ahead for delays, and know that the City has been working to implement multiple projects to improve traffic flow and safety on our roadways.
In July, we completed the installation of LED safety lights to increase visibility for motorists and pedestrians, increase energy efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. Additional traffic management system enhancements are on the way, including an upgraded traffic signal communication network and traffic controller replacements. Traffic signal improvements are also planned for Rancho Santa Fe Road and Grandon Avenue, along with intersection improvements at San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street.
Plans are also in place to reconstruct the State Route 78 overcrossing at Woodland Parkway, reconfiguration of on/off ramps, and the widening of Woodland Parkway, Barham Drive and Rancheros Drive.
Motorists can expect delays throughout town as crews work to complete important repairs in advance of the new school year
Motorists can expect delays throughout town as crews work to complete important repairs in advance of the new school year.
Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes, follow all traffic control, drive with caution and leave early to arrive at destinations on time.
Major roadway repairs requiring multiple lane closures along San Marcos Boulevard at Rancho Santa Fe Road are on schedule and will continue through Aug. 20.
Caltrans construction crews will close the eastbound State Route 78 (SR-78) off-ramp to Barham Drive/Woodland Parkway for approximately 80 hours beginning Thursday, Aug. 16 at 8 pm.
Single lane closures along Borden Road from La Cienega Road to Palomino Drive have been scheduled from Thursday, Aug. 16 through Friday, Aug. 17 to accommodate construction improvements related to the Borden 22 project.
For details about these projects or other road work taking place in San Marcos, visit www.san-marcos.net/roadwork. Residents are encouraged to sign up for the city’s email notifications that include traffic alerts, city news, and other information updates by visiting, www.san-marcos.net/alerts.
Due to an unexpected water leak, S. Twin Oaks Valley Road near California State University San Marcos is closed in both directions as crews work to assess the situation and complete repairs. Expect delays and detours for several days.
Motorists are urged to drive with caution, follow all traffic control measures, look for alternate routes and avoid the area if possible. Updates will be posted as they become available at www.san-marcos.net/roadwork.
For more information about the main break, water quality or other water issues, contact Vallecitos Water District at (760) 744-0460 or www.vwd.org.
During a wildfire simulation, students explored how drones could deliver hoses to crews
Last month North County firefighters gathered in San Marcos for a wildfire simulation, but this wasn’t your typical training.
The City of San Marcos rallied crews from several cities to help California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students test a drone technology that could improve how wildfires are fought.
“Firefighters spend a lot of time and energy shuttling hoses from the engine to the actual wildfire,” explained Nick Blaylock, one of the students involved. “And they’re often doing this up steep slopes and across rough terrain, which is exhausting.”
Drones, however, could possibly help crews conserve some energy by air-dropping those hose- packs so firefighters don’t have to haul them. As part of a senior project, Blaylock and four other students spent months exploring that with Skylift Global, a San Marcos-based company that makes drones capable of delivering supplies to first-responders.
Though Skylift Global has been in business for three years, serving firefighters is new territory it wanted to explore–so the company submitted a proposal for the Senior Experience Program, which assigns CSUSM students to real-world projects like these.
The students began by researching what crews face during a wildfire. That led them to San Marcos Fire Battalion Chief James Colston, who oversees the department’s training and safety division.“We’re fortunate to have Cal State San Marcos right here in our backyard, so we were happy to help,” he said. “We invited them to observe our annual training, which I think opened their eyes.”
It did, in fact, says Blaylock. His team realized that a drone probably couldn’t help much during the early stages of a wildfire because the flames are too unpredictable. But it likely could help during the later stages, when a fire border has been established.
Based on that, the students designed a simulation that included fire hose packs every 100-feet, as if a drone had peppered them out for crews. Now, all they needed were firefighters to run the test.
“Thankfully, Chief Colston got an amazing turnout for us,” Blaylock said. “We were so thankful that so many firefighters were willing to come volunteer their time on a Sunday morning to help us.”
During the May 6 simulation, firefighters from the cities of San Marcos, Carlsbad, Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe—as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)—participated. Results showed that if crews did not have to manually haul hose packs, they worked about 18 percent faster—and theoretically, would be less fatigued during a real wildfire.
“While time is a good measurement, fatigue is really the key factor,” explained Colston, who added that he can see the potential support drones could provide. “If something like this can increase efficiency while reducing the chance of firefighters getting hurt, then I’m all for it.”
That exact sentiment is what inspired Amir Emadi to start Skylift Global. His father was working as a United States cooperative in Iraq when he was killed by Iraqi forces while protecting a city.
“Since then, I’ve spent my life finding a way to introduce technology to the people who dedicate their lives to protect us,” Emadi said. “I formed Skylift to help our first-responders save time, money and lives by delivering their critical supplies with our heavy-lift drones.”
As a next step, Emadi will use the research conducted by the CSUSM students to develop a plan to bring the drones to market. There are still hurdles to navigate, as drones are legally not allowed to be in the air during a wildfire, but Emadi is optimistic he can keep the momentum going.
“It was refreshing to work with such a driven, intelligent and responsible team,” he said, adding that although the CSUSM students have now graduated, some have remained interns and he hopes to hire them. “I am so thankful that San Marcos is home to such bright young talent like this, as well as city leaders who value innovation and are open to collaboration.”
Marcos, CA – The City of San Marcos is home to about 25,000 residents 50 years and older who are approaching retirement–or are in the thick of it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to slow down.
In fact, the San Marcos Senior Activity Center is buzzing with action. It serves about 7,000 senior residents per month, largely thanks to the dozens of volunteers who help run it. They do things like work the front desk, help in the computer lab and lead activities.
“Our volunteers bring a variety of talents that improve our services, and their support allows us to offer them at lower cost. That’s especially helpful to seniors on a fixed income,” said Parks and Recreation Manager Brenda Sylvia, who oversees the Senior Activity Center. “Volunteers are absolutely critical to our mission.”
A collaboration with California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) will help the City attract more of those critical volunteers.
The City and CSUSM recently joined forces to launch Democracy in Action, a program that lets university students tackle city issues. Unlike an internship, students are not given direction—but instead, make research-based recommendations, more like a consultant.
In this case, a group of about 30 students developed strategies to entice more volunteers to the City’s Senior Activity Center. This included designing marketing materials, creating a formal orientation process and finding missed opportunities to recruit volunteers. City staff is now fine- tuning the student-proposed strategies and plans to start rolling it out within the next few months.
“As North County’s education hub, San Marcos is fortunate to have plenty of bright young minds that offer a fresh perspective—something we greatly value here at the City,” Sylvia said. “Well-run cities with engaged residents lead to vibrant, thriving communities. If we want that to continue in San Marcos, we need to connect with our next generation of leaders and Democracy in Action is helping us do that. ”
This gets at the heart of Democracy in Action. The program’s bigger aim is to show students how their classroom knowledge applies to the outside world.
Dr. Eliza Bigham, CSUSM Department of Human Development, oversaw the students who worked on this project and she’s confident they left feeling empowered.
“Working with city staff and meeting with elected officials required my students to try something new and go outside their comfort zone. But I can’t tell you how many of them thanked me for the opportunity to grow through this experience,” she said. “They discovered that their skill set is so completely beneficial to address real, current needs in their own community.”
And Economic Development Manager Tess Sangster, who helps oversee the program, points out that this project benefits the community at-large.
“By boosting volunteer support at the Senior Activity Center, these students are helping residents age in place so that they can continue enjoying a high quality of life in San Marcos,” she said. “That’s a legacy we want to continue offering for generations to come, and projects like these are one of the many ways we’re making sure we can.”
To learn more about the Democracy in Action program, visithttps://www.csusm.edu/community/civiclearning/democracyinaction.html.
San Marcos Mayor delivers his final State of the City Address
San Marcos, CA –After serving San Marcos for more than a decade, San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond delivered his final State of the City Address on Wednesday, March 7 as part of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards.
“It is with a tremendous pride, that I and your city council are setting the foundation for the next generation,” said Mayor Jim Desmond. “With median incomes on the rise, low unemployment, and a growing economy, San Marcos is a rising star.”
Presented at California State University San Marcos to an audience packed with leaders, entrepreneurs, non-profits, local businesses, residents and others devoted to San Marcos, Mayor
Jim Desmond’s talk highlighted the most significant accomplishments of the last several years and outlined progress in the areas of public safety, economic and community development, traffic and transportation, and other quality of life issues.
“The priorities of the city are safety, economic development, planning for the future and quality of life,” said Mayor Desmond.
Recent achievements included a crime rate drop by 16 percent, above average San Marcos Fire Department response times, maintaining and improving city infrastructure, a balanced budget of nearly $70 million, and an increase in number of local businesses. Two new parks were added in 2017 and San Marcos continues to boast more than 62 miles of trail.
In 2019, residents can expect construction to start on two new bridges over the San Marcos Creek at Via Vera Cruz and Bent Avenue.
Mayor Desmond also applauded the city’s economic achievements and noted that San Marcos is the education hub of North County San Diego.
Desmond said, “Our world-class educational institutions create a talented workforce that generates a pipeline for regional talent, thereby keeping and attracting high-paying jobs, and industry to our region.”
Serving more than 90,000 students, San Marcos is home to an award-winning school district, the state’s largest community college, Palomar College, and California State University San Marcos, along with several private education institutions.
In his address, the Mayor stressed the importance of the community partnerships to tackle the various issues facing the city—issues such as economic and population changes, state laws that threaten local control, and re-calibrating the San Marcos Creek District plan to accommodate changing retail and housing demands.
“Our partnerships provide the solid foundation that has allowed us to take risks when needed, strategically plan for our future, and tap into the city’s possibilities to see our star continue to rise, said Desmond. “We all play a vital role in both and living out life’s possibilities right here in San Marcos. ”
The 2018 State of the City Address will be rebroadcast on San Marcos TV beginning mid-March on Cox Communications Channel 19, Timer Warner Cable Channel 24, AT&T U-Verse Channel 99 or on demand at www.san-marcos.net.
Cal State San Marcos is looking to add a six-story building and a parking garage for more than 700 cars, a nearly $80 million development slated to go up on vacant land across from a main entrance to the university.The building will house the university’s Extended Learning program, which provides continuing education, accelerated degrees, certificates and customized training programs. The department also coordinates all the international programs and services, such as study-abroad offerings.The project — which also includes a pedestrian bridge to the main campus — still needs final approval from the California State University Board of Trustees, which is expected to consider it in the coming months, according to school officials.“From the university standpoint, all our I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. We are optimistic for Board of Trustees approval, but it’s up to them,” said Mike Schroder, dean of the university’s Extended Learning program.If all goes well, the entire project, on the northwest corner of East Barham Drive at Campus Way, should be open for business in the fall of 2019.
As the summer winds down, San Marcos students are headed back to school. With elementary, middle and high schools along with California State San Marcos and Palomar College back in session this week, I-15 and SR-78 travelers can expect increased traffic delays during their daily commute.
While the increase in traffic congestion is familiar to city residents, students and commuters alike, the City of San Marcos is pleased to report that continued relief is on the way. In the city’s ongoing efforts to get motorists moving and improve traffic flow, several roadway improvement projects are lined up over the next five years.
Planned projects include Improvements to the intersection of Las Posas Road and Mission Road near Palomar College and the transit center; Construction of two new bridges to replace Bent Avenue and Via Vera Cruz between San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street; San Marcos Boulevard and Discovery Street intersection improvements; and construction of Twin Oaks Trail north of Borden Road.
During the school year and periods of roadway construction, motorists should drive with caution in and around work areas, and provide ample time to reach destinations safely and on time.