Soon after the incorporation of the city of Encinitas, the city drafted the Specific Plans for Downtown 101 and the North 101 Corridor. I served on the North 101 Corridor draft committee and I am a business owner on 101. Meeting concurrently, the goal was to envision what issues need to be resolved in planning for our future and have
these two drafts flow through planning, council approval and implementation simultaneously. What happened is the Downtown 101 Specific Plan was adopted, which has been very successful, having won the best award from the National Mainstreet Association. Then the Encinitas Ranch development was completed, Leucadia Boulevard went through to Coast Highway 101 but Leucadia is still waiting and their trees are going away.
The North 101 Corridor Draft identified the same issues back then that the public identified during the North 101 Streetscape Workshops recently. Most all agreed that maintaining, (now revitalizing), the tree canopy, calming traffic to design speeds of 25 to 30 mph, creating safe pedestrian friendly environments for businesses to thrive, safe bike
lanes, identify parking opportunities and maintaining the character of Leucadia were all valid goals for our future.
Consultant Peltz and Associates has done an admirable job in addressing all these issues in the first four alternatives in different ways and responding to public input.
I admit, that I was not immediately comfortable with some of the concepts offered. The one lane and roundabouts were not what I had envisioned as options. Seeing examples of the effectiveness of these solutions in successful streetscapes in other communities with
similar issues and driving up Leucadia Boulevard,( what is your least favorite intersection?), convinced me that they were good options. A larger volume of traffic can go through a roundabout at a slower speed and be safer than a traditional stop sign. Reverse angle parking? Parallel parking stops traffic too, but gaining better visibility when pulling out in traffic more safely is a positive. It works elsewhere.
The challenge is that there is limited space to accomplish all the stated goals, NCTD won’t plant trees on their right of way to restore the canopy and has not been a good neighbor, Leucadia’s rail crossing problems won’t be solved and there has been a lot of misinformation circulated and printed. The oft mentioned petition states the majority of trees will be removed, beach access will be limited, property will be taken by eminent domain, Leucadia Boulevard will end at the tracks, roundabouts are choke points and other fallacies. Amazingly the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce championed this un-factual petition and stated the plan would, “impede people from getting to downtown” and was initiated by a few business owners on Highway 101. The chamber’s streetscape “workshop” hurt the process. What motivated this business- unfriendly negative campaign is a mystery. In fairness there is a new chamber CEO, Marshall Weinreb. The bad apples are gone and I am confident that the chamber’s position has changed. I have met with Mr. Weinreb and he stated, “I will say that the overall concept is quite good” and, “I was surprised to find that when this project was previously discussed, this chamber’s management was quick to voice its opinions against the plan, with comments that did not seem to be entirely based upon facts.” I have high hopes for the chamber’s new leadership and direction.
I urge the community to get involved in this process and find out the facts and issues involved. The current plan calls for one lane north on portions of 101, (like Encinitas, Carlsbad, Del Mar, etc.), 10.5 foot lanes, (like downtown), roundabouts, (like on Leucadia Boulevard and Santa Fe and the world), revitalization of the tree canopying, (saving 93 percent of existing trees and adding a thousand more), safe bike lanes, slower traffic, create a pedestrian and business friendly environment and parking opportunities and roundabouts, (factually more efficient, safer for cars and people, wiser ecologically and offer more appealing artistic and landscape options). They are the opposite of choke points. And all of the plans will deal with flooding solutions.
If these are your goals, support a plan that you don’t compromise. We have an opportunity to create a wonderful legacy for our future
generations. Get informed and involved.
Filed Under: Community Commentary