ENCINITAS — In the second special meeting in as many weeks, City Council set out its 2011 goals for the city. The Jan. 25 meeting gave the council an opportunity to address issues brought up in a previous session where the public weighed in as well as add their own ideas.
Traffic continued to be a concern to residents and council members alike. Cardiff resident Brett Farrow specifically highlighted the lack of parking on San Elijo Avenue between Birmingham and Montgomery Avenue, which is narrow, congested and filled with cars parked on the dirt right-of-way using nearby restaurants and shops.
Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan said the matter has been referred to the traffic engineering department. Farrow said he brought his concerns to the city department previously but did not get a response.
According to Interim City Manager Phil Cotton, the council laid out strategic priorities two years ago that included public safety, infrastructure and customer service. He requested the council keep those in mind and direct staff on the priorities as the department heads begin the budgeting process.
The various issues were placed in three tiers according to importance and the city’s ability to fund them.
Transportation for senior citizens was a priority for the council. “We need to do something, make forward progress,” Councilwoman Kristin Gaspar said. She asked that staff analyze what surrounding communities do to provide transportation for seniors with consideration for alternate funding sources.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth said she has already arranged for a nonprofit organization to meet with the senior commission to discuss ideas for transportation.
Deputy Mayor Jerome Stocks tackled the requests by Parks and Recreation Commissioner Sandy Shapiro. He said he supported the idea of allowing the volunteer commission to guide the naming of the Hall property park, investigate purchase of open space, review the off-leash dog issues next to tot lots and review the feasibility of replacing the field at Leo Mullen with artificial turf.
Houlihan said there was no need to revisit the off-leash dog hours since the city had not received any complaints according to department director Chris Hazeltine.
Several issues were deferred to a designated budget meeting. The topics included equal financial support for the mainstreet associations in Leucadia, Cardiff and downtown Encinitas and increasing funding for the city’s arts and community grant program.
The modifications to beautify the south entrance of the city along Highway 101 were revived. “I think what we need to do is pick up the ball on that again,” said Engineering Department Director Peter Cota-Robles. “So we’re pursuing that?” asked Mayor Jim Bond. The council agreed that the triangulated median where a bus stop bench sits in the middle of two streets in front of the Self-Realization Bookstore could be modified to encourage a safer, more pedestrian-friendly area.
“We had a lot of discussion about this,” Stocks remembered. “If engineering would please dust off those records,” he asked. “Maybe this is something we ought to reconsider.”