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.
San Marcos and CSUSM join forces to benefit the community
As North County’s education hub, San Marcos is building tomorrow’s workforce—and thanks to a new initiative, some of that homegrown talent is being channeled to help city staff better serve the community.
The City and Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) recently joined forces to launch Democracy in Action, a pilot program that lets students spend a semester working on city projects.
“Some of the region’s brightest minds are on that campus, right down the street from City Hall, so this partnership felt like a natural win win,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill, who helped oversee the effort.
Over the past few months, about 100 students tackled projects that included: finding ways to curb unnecessary 911 calls; developing a marketing plan for the Double Peak Challenge race; analyzing data to help reduce stormwater pollution; and creating a promotional video about the city.
Already, the project has delivered tangible benefits. For example, students created a trash collection map that will help staff meet new environmental state guidelines. And the video produced by students is already being used to attract potential businesses and residents.
“We’re also graduating students who leave with a deeper understanding of a how a local community works—and with that, they can influence outcomes down the road,” explains Scott Gross, CSUSM Associate Vice President of Community Partnership Engagement.
Fostering civic minded graduates is especially important to the region because many stay local after graduation. In fact, about 80 percent of CSUSM alumni continue living in the region. By comparison, about 60 percent of San Diego State University (SDSU) alumni stay local—and the same is true for only about 25 percent of University of California San Diego (UCSD) alumni.
Democracy in Action was inspired by the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program— which works in largely the same way, but focuses on boosting sustainability. CSUSM liked the concept, but felt it was important to focus instead on civic engagement.
“We wanted students to realize they can inform and impact their local government,” Gross said. “They’re not just sitting in a classroom talking about theories—they’re actually putting their knowledge to work in a meaningful way, and their eyes light up.”
CSUSM student Kristina Kalchev is a testament to that.
“It was great working on a project that extends beyond an assignment and impacts people,” said Kalchev, who worked on the city’s promotional video. “I’m proud to include the video in my reel. I don’t feel so fresh out of the water now. I feel ready for the workforce.”
Kalchev plans to stay in San Marcos and earn her graduate degree while working locally. She says as a San Marcos resident, she now has a deeper appreciation for what the city does.
“We were able to see how much city staff does behind the scenes to keep our community safe. The project really opened my eyes to what local government does,” she said.
Storm Water Program Manager Reed Thornberry also saw a ha moments happening when he took students out into the field.
“I wanted to take them beyond the data. A lot them live in San Marcos—some have even grown up here—but they’ve never explored our creek system,” he said. “They spotted bullfrogs, turtles and crawfish—entire ecosystems thriving. And seeing the impacts of trash, they got a sense of why they’re worth protecting. I think that drove home the mission.”
These students will be among the approximately 3,000 graduates CSUSM produces every year— which is partly why San Marcos is North County’s education hub. In fact, San Marcos is responsible for about 10 percent of the region’s total academic program completions.
“San Marcos is fueling a workforce pipeline that will strengthen our region for generations to come,” said San Marcos City Manager Jack Griffin. “But beyond that, our partnership with Cal State San Marcos underscores how we can collaborate to benefit our community, and we are proud of that.”
To learn more about the Democracy in Action program,
Housing and business stock are on the rise, and there’s still plenty of potential for growth
In recent years, San Marcos has seen household incomes grow and the already low unemployment rate fall. At the same time, the city is home to high-paying industries and universities that are a pipeline for regional talent.
Those are among the takeaways of a recently released City of San Marcos Regional Profile, which demonstrates with comprehensive data sets the city’s momentum in key economic and education areas.
The regional profile encompasses four sections: demographics, socioeconomics, the housing market and the economy, with major findings that include:
Household income grew by 8.9 percent each year from 2011 to 2015, greatly outpacing the region’s rate of 1.4 percent;
The unemployment rate of 2.9 percent continues to be low, and historical unemployment data show the city weathered the Great Recession better than the region, state and nation;
San Marcos boasts 4,000 businesses, up 10 percent from a decade ago. Local firms’ resiliency in the face of the Great Recession has been a key to San Marcos’ status as an economic powerhouse;
As North County’s education hub, San Marcos produces 10 percent of the San Diego region’s total academic program completions, with the lion’s share coming from Cal State San Marcos and Palomar College;
Higher-than-average median wages can be found in three high-paying industries: manufacturing, wholesale trade and information; and
Between 2010 and 2015 housing stock grew by 10.1 percent—San Marcos has more opportunities for development than other regional cities.
“The numbers in the regional profile tell the story: San Marcos’ growing reputation as a great place to live, work and play is well deserved. Not only do we have 40,000 jobs, an annual GDP totaling $7.9 billion and stellar educational institutions, but the community also boasts 72 miles of multi-use trails, 300 acres of park space, 240 restaurants and eight breweries,” said Economic Development Manager Tess Radmill.
As for the work piece of that trio, the City bolstered its business-friendly reputation through proactive economic development, which in 2012 the City Council prioritized in response to the tough economy and the end of redevelopment funding. City efforts thus far have included cutting red tape from the development approval process and there is recognition that there is room for more improvement.
Also part of this commitment to improving business is the regional profile itself, the City’s first such snapshot that will shape future economic development initiatives.
“This profile provides clarity and insight into San Marcos’ regional strengths, in addition to identifying the fundamental drivers of the local economy,” said Kirby Brady, the San Diego Regional EDC’s Director of Research. “It is clear that the city is an economic powerhouse with a diverse economic base, a highly-educated and talented workforce, and opportunities for growth.”
To review the full regional profile, visit www.san-marcos.net/regionalprofile.