In a preliminary victory for residents in east Costa Mesa, the City Council has moved to scrap plans to widen Del Mar Avenue from a two-lane street to a six-lane highway.
The council instead decided Monday to ask the county Board of Supervisors to eliminate the road widening from the county’s master plan, a move that could result in the loss of future county road-improvement funds.
Del Mar is a residential street that starts at Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa and runs east into unincorporated territory, where it turns into University Drive.
Residents along Del Mar as well as the East Side Citizens Assn. complained that 51 homeowners along the north side of the road would be forced to give up their homes if the widening took place.
City officials have argued that Del Mar Avenue eventually must be widened by at least two lanes in order to handle increased traffic. Bruce Mattern, the city’s director of public services, told the city that if the street is not improved, “we will have conditions similar to the 15,000 daily vehicles now on Wilson Street.”
The issue is further complicated by the fact that as long as the street widening is included in the county’s master plan, Costa Mesa must keep the project alive or risk losing county road improvement funds.