The Urban Design Award from the San Diego Planning Association is presented to the City of Del Mar and Spurlock Landscape Architects for the Camino del Mar Downtown Streetscape. The design is built upon the foundational visions of the 1976 Del Mar Community Plan as well as the 1995 Camino Del Mar Streetscape Project with an added emphasis on mobility. The scenic corridor of Camino del Mar lays next to the historic Pacific Coast Highway and is characterized by a mix of business, residencies, and small-scale architecture that is accentuated with a relaxing, coastal atmosphere. With these attributes, the project sought to complete multiple objectives of revitalizing the downtown area, improve safety and access, and beautify the corridor. The project also sought to encourage sustainability by implementing the Climate Action Plan Strategies and fulfilling the directives of the City’s Complete Streets/Green Streets Policy.

From 2016 to 2019, there were thirty-seven public outreach meetings that comprehensively engaged stakeholders and prioritized certain issues that the project addressed. Components of the project include notable developments to improve biking, pedestrian walkability, and sustainability that also creates a safer, engaging space for residents and visitors. Some of these improvements that increased safety and mobility include dedicated bicycle lanes buffered from vehicular zones, ADA compliant ramps, widened sidewalks and crosswalks, bulb-outs, midblock crossings, and repaving. The increased, secured space allows for urban retreats and flexible room for present and future communal activities. For sustainability, trees, low growing, drought-tolerant plants, and landscaping were strategically placed to not only reduce greenhouse gases and embellish the scenery but also filter pollutants from runoff. Technological advancements were incorporated with the inclusion of spare conduits that allow for future telecommunication connectivity, special lampposts, and newly incorporated Silva cells. The high efficiency LED lampposts are not only dark sky compliant but also provide 5G cellular service and public Wi-Fi. The new technology of Silva cells, modular suspended pavement systems, redirect stormwater throughout the corridor to subterranean treatment areas and allow optimal tree root growth. Whilst promoting sustainability and improving safety and access, the project reinvigorates the scene all while fulfilling and supporting plans three decades in the making.

Conclusively, the Camino del Mar Downtown Streetscape is a testament to practical, thoughtful design and planning that melds into the unique charm of Del Mar all while bolstering the present community into a safer and cleaner future.