Rincon Band to fund road improvements in Escondido: will help VC road gridlock

The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians of Valley Center has agreed to contribute $800,000 to fund the shortfall in the East Valley Parkway/ Valley Center Road construction project.

This exceeds Rincon’s Fair Share obligation of $579,000 to mitigate traffic impacts on city roads from the Harrah’s Resort Expansion project. A signing ceremony took place at 4:30 p.m. at the February 10, 2016 City Council meeting.

The city of Escondido announced the contribution last week; however a case can be made that the residents of Valley Center will probably benefit from the widening more than anyone else. Often on weekends the current bottleneck creates a long line of cars stretching from the bottom of the grade a mile or two up from Escondido towards VC.

VC Planning Group Chairman Oliver Smith told The Roadrunner: “The Valley Center Community Planning Group commends the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians for going above and beyond in their support of widening Valley Center Rd/East Valley Parkway at the bottom of the hill. This is a public project we have identified as the number one road issue for Valley Center for a number of years. It is heartening that the necessary support and resources have come together to allow the project to be implemented starting later this year. VCCPG sincerely thanks Chairman Bo Mazzetti and the Rincon Tribe for helping make this project a reality.”

The project widens a 3,000-foot segment of East Valley Parkway/ Valley Center Road to provide three lanes in each direction between Beven Road and Lake Wohlford Road.

The bridge over Escondido Creek will be widened to accommodate two through lanes in each direction north of Lake Wohlford Road. Construction will include curbs and gutters, streetlights, landscaped medians, new pavement and traffic signal modifications. The estimated total cost of the project is $9.7 million. Construction is expected to begin late summer or early fall.

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed expressed appreciation, stating, “Thanks to the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, we now can complete this final stretch of road improvements which will greatly improve traffic flow and safety for Escondido and Valley Center residents, as well as visitors to the area.”

According to Bo Mazzetti, chairman of the Rincon Band, there is usually a long gap between calculating and collecting fair share funds to actually mitigating a traffic problem. “We funded the extra amount needed to make the improvements because we wanted to solve the problem sooner rather than later.

“Our government has a vested interest in traffic safety because we live on these roads. People we care about drive on Valley Center Road–our neighbors, our guests and our families use this road, and our emergency first responders depend on it,” said Mazzetti.