Business owners sound off about Leucadia improvements

ENCINITAS — More than 65 merchants attended a meeting convened by the Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 3 to discuss improving a stretch of North Coast Highway 101 through Leucadia.
Several public workshops have been held in the last year to gather input on the design features of the improvements, including an open house at the city’s library two months ago.
City Council budgeted $4.2 million for the streetscape project through 2013. The expenditure is aimed at enhancing the two-mile stretch of North Coast Highway 101 from La Costa Avenue to A Street.
City Planner Diane Langager was on hand to answer questions regarding the proposed plans. Included in the presentation were several renderings of each proposal showing the impacts on each business.
The latest incarnation of the four alternative proposals includes constructing roundabouts at five intersections in the plan area. At least one participant called into question the validity of spending money on the traffic calming measure when a stop sign could be installed for a much cheaper price.
Jamroc owner David DaCosta said he approves of the roundabouts but would like to have two northbound lanes rather than one. “I’m used to driving on the left hand side of the street,” the Jamaican native said with a laugh. His restaurant is located at the southern end of the plan area next to Encinitas Surfboards where parking is at a premium on the east side of the highway.
“What would help your businesses?” chamber CEO Gary Tucker asked the crowd.
The overwhelming concerns were preserving parking, calming cut-through traffic from Interstate 5 and maintaining the character of the community.
Leucadia Glass owner Rick Smith said he was concerned with the amount of landscaping his business would lose under the plan. He encouraged other business owners to carefully scrutinize the city’s renderings to ascertain the impact of the proposals on each business.
Peder Norby, the Coast Highway 101 coordinator, cautioned the audience to be patient in the process of planning improvements. “You’re not all going to agree,” he said. Norby was president of the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association during the improvements made over a decade ago that brought a new façade to an aging district and national recognition.
“It’s your town and it’s your streetscape,” Norby said.
To view renderings of the proposed improvements, visit www.ci.encinitas.ca.us/Government/CityP/ProjectL/ and click on North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape Project.

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  1. Helpful? says:

    This was not a public meeting. No residents were allowed to attend, unless they were members of the chamber, with their dues paid, businesses owners on N.Coast Hwy 101 only were invited only if they called a phone number and may or may not be invited. It was stated the agenda was set by the chamber and moderators offered far too much opinion over facts.

  2. Leucadian says:

    No, it was a Chamber of Commerce Meeting. I am grateful that the opinions of all the merchants are being considered, and that the Chamber of Commerce asked for and received copies of the surveys that had been received at the November 13 public workshop at City Hall.

    According to Mike Andreen’s column in the Coast News, a very healthy majority of those attending the final workshop are NOT in favor of five roundabouts and/or narrowing the lanes on Historic Old Highway 101 to only 10 feet, and also taking out an entire lane going northbound. This would surely result in traffic diverting through the neighborhoods, including along Neptune (one way, northbound) and Vulcan (which would also impact traffic at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School.

    Most residents and over four hundred people who have signed petitions at Leucadia Glass and Sub Palace do not favor five roundabouts and only three lanes on a major highway. Stop signs and a few u-turn lanes would work better at slowing traffic, while preserving the funky quality of Leucadia.

  3. JP in Leucadia says:

    Leucadians want stop signs? Are you serious? 5 years the same people asking for stop signs now wanted to string up people lobbying for stop signs then. The lone stop sign in Leucadia at Marcheta (Juanitas) is so loathed that cut thru traffic became a serious problem and they had to ban right turns at Leucadia Glass during the morning commute. Ironically Leucadia Glass owner Rick Smith is against roundabouts, but if we got a roundabout there then his trucks could actually access his business again.

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