By Karen Brainard
Hundreds of visitors have now been able to view Cedar Creek Falls because of an improved trail, but all those hikers have caused major frustrations for residents living by the trailhead.
Steve Venolia, speaking on behalf of the homeowners in that area, addressed the Ramona Community Planning Group (RCPG) at its April 7 meeting about problems and possible solutions to the traffic that has inundated his neighborhood. He presented photos of hikers’ cars lining the residential streets.
The Cedar Creek trailhead is at the south end of Thornbush Road in San Diego Country Estates. Venolia said traffic has increased from Ramona Oaks Road to Thornbush, Cathedral Way and Love Lane and speeding is creating a danger.
With designated parking only accommodating 29 vehicles, Venolia said there have been over 100 cars parked along the streets during the weekends.
“Now we can’t park on our own street,” Venolia told the Sentinel.
In some cases, driveways have been blocked, landscaping has been destroyed and trash has been left by the hikers, he noted.
“This last year has been off the charts,” Venolia said in terms of visitors.
He believes publicity about the falls and social networking, including a Facebook page for Cedar Creek Falls, have increased awareness about the trail.
All the rain during the past few months will make the falls even more attractive, he said, predicting a heavy turnout of hikers this spring.
Possible solutions to the traffic problems, Venolia said, is to build a parking lot at the end of Ramona Oaks road to augment the Thornbush parking area and create a trailhead there to connect to the existing trail. Another suggestion is to limit parking on residential streets only to homeowners and their guests on the weekends.
Speed bumps on Thornbush and Cathedral are proposed to slow down traffic, as well as a stop sign where the two streets intersect.
The planning group said that Venolia’s concerns will be put on the May 3 Transportation and Trails subcommittee agenda.
In other action at the planning group meeting:
•RCPG Secretary Kristi Mansolf reported that proposed pricing for the North County Transit District (NCTD) rides from Ramona to Escondido is going up to $5 one way. The planning group supported Mansolf’s request to send NCTD a letter of concern regarding the increased costs and scheduling. The NCTD is holding a public hearing April 21 at its district office on the public transportation changes.
•Planners waived county requirements for road widening across the frontage of a proposed five-lot subdivision on Keyes road. Larry Walsh, representing the development, pointed out that it is unlikely Keyes road will ever become four lanes, as suggested in the current requirements. Planners supported his request for 32 feet of road improvements, which will include the existing 24-foot lane and an 8-foot shared lane, with on-street parking prohibited.
•After two failed votes, planning group members reached agreement to deny Bernie Thompson’s request to waive a county requirement for additional DG (decomposed granite) on the road shoulder in front of his lot split. Thompson estimated the improvement for the nine-foot section along Haverford road, would cost him about $3,000. Planning group member Chris Anderson said the additional DG would bring the path up to county code. Public speakers Robin Maxson and John Degenfelder said the upgrade would support the community’s master trail plan.
•An energy-saving wind turbine project, to be installed by DyoCore, was approved for the Wiener residence on Rangleland road.
•Mansolf announced that the planning group has been invited to tour the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center on Highland Valley road.
The center, which provides rehabilitation for wild animals, has a new director and is not yet open to the public, Mansolf said.