Solution sought for Del Mar Fairgrounds traffic congestion

DEL MAR, Calif. -- The annual San Diego County Fair at Del Mar Fairgrounds is dotted with popular rides.  However, for the more than one million visitors to the event, the ride to get inside can be frustrating.

"It usually takes 20 minutes," said Richard Ford, who was with his family for their annual fair visit. "It's scary to come here opening weekend."

However, Ford's trip into the fair on Saturday took three minutes.

"I'm actually pretty shocked right now that we got right in," he said.

Fair officials said the quick entry could be due to increased public transportation options.  Visitors are being offered incentives to use the train or buses to get into the fairgrounds.

The larger issue of traffic flow around the property is still unsolved, Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard said Saturday.

"We don't have good traffic management now," he said. "We've had a difficult time with the roads."

Last year, Hilliard resurrected the idea of building a ramp off Interstate 5 that would go directly into the fairgrounds.  Although that never progressed, Hilliard said Del Mar and Solana Beach are looking at expanding Via De La Valle, the main road around the property.

"Other than that, there are no new measures to try," Hilliard added.

San Diego Association of Governments is also continuing work on a study regarding the construction of a seasonal train station at the fairgrounds.

Both options have significant environmental hurdles to cross, according to SANDAG.

Fairgrounds officials are working more cooperatively with their neighbors to find a solution.

"For a very long time now, everybody's been trying to work together to make the commute to the fair easy and lessen the impact," Del Mar Fair spokeswoman Linda Zweig said.