ENCINITAS — City Council voted unanimously to fully fund a traffic calming pilot project in a Cardiff neighborhood on Sept. 22.
However, a federal safe routes to school grant for Cardiff Elementary school was awarded to pay for a portion of the improvements. The traffic calming treatments for the neighborhood will be offset by federal dollars to the tune of $160,000.
Because construction costs are lower now, according to staff additional items can be added to the project Nestor Mangohig, associate traffic engineer, told the council.
The remaining cost of the project is $385,000 for the improvements and one year of maintenance. Staff suggested long-term maintenance be done by volunteers.
The walkability of the area was of particular concern to some residents. Automobiles and pedestrians alike share the narrow road. Homeowner Chris Goldsmith said that walking his children to school was sometimes an anxious experience because of the traffic.
Billy Stern, one of the neighborhood leaders in spearheading the effort to calm traffic in his Cardiff neighborhood, urged the council to approve funding for the project. “It’s been a long journey,” he said. The group made its first request for the city’s help in curbing traffic 10 years ago according to Stern. The Rubenstein, Summit and Westminster area was selected to improve traffic calming as a pilot-project by the city in 2005. “Now it’s the city’s turn to move forward on the program,” he said.
He said the support of the neighborhood for the project was “broad and diverse.” In fact, he asked those in the audience to stand in a show of support. He cited the need to increase walkability, especially around a school. Cardiff Elementary has a walk/bike to school each Wednesday. “This will make it much easier,” Stern said.
“This is just great timing in the economy,” he said. Stern said the project could provide local jobs at a lower cost than in previous years because the cost of materials has decreased.
“This was a community-generated proposal,” Deputy Mayor Maggie Houlihan said. “The neighbors have stepped up and taken responsibility.”
Councilwoman Teresa Barth, who lives in Cardiff, applauded both the staff and the community for assisting in the process to create a cohesive solution to traffic calming. “That area is my bike path when I bike to work and I know how narrow those streets are,” she said.
Construction is scheduled to begin in October.