The lane-diet and traffic circle “Streetscam” plan for North 101 through Leucadia has stirred up much controversy.
Roundabouts mean no comprehensive traffic study is required; they open the gateway to development without any responsibility for increased traffic and unwanted changes to our cherished community character.
Leucadia’s specific plan already includes high-density, mixed-use development. These lane-diet/roundabouts would accommodate developers, benefit a few businesses and property owners who’d receive additional, angled parking, and higher lease or re-sale property value at the expense of our safety, community character and quality of life! No special tax assessments are planned, although a few with businesses and/or property on the west side of North 101 expect decided monetary benefit at taxpayer expense.
A lane-diet and traffic circles would definitely slow already subpar emergency response times; they’d increase congestion, frustration and road rage. Place your fingertip on the end of a hose. Water will blast out either side, under greater pressure. If Interstate 5 slows to a crawl or a standstill, motorists will exit the freeway. If North 101 is congested, drivers will divert to Neptune or Vulcan avenues, which would further compromise safety in neighborhoods and a school zone.
When any vehicle breaks-down in a single-lane circle, traffic accumulates behind – causing a massive traffic jam! Further delaying emergency response times inevitably would result in unnecessary deaths, affecting not only neighborhoods west of 101, but thousands who flock to Leucadia’s beaches
“Neighborhood traffic circles,” primarily decorative, aren’t roundabouts, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. True roundabouts have wider radiuses, with added safety features. Roundabouts aren’t recommended near rail corridors or when side-street traffic is significantly less than the main corridor’s, as with our three-way intersections!
Neither a lane-diet nor traffic circles went through requested neighborhood needs assessment and/or analysis by City engineers, and never went before the Traffic Commission. On June 11, the Traffic Commission considered the issue of sharrows and bicycle safety signage, which we support, not a lane-diet! Traffic impact and collision data weren’t provided through City workshops regarding accidents and congestion relative to two existing traffic circles on Leucadia Blvd. and one at Santa Fe Drive, where the fatality of an off-duty fireman occurred. Data demonstrate Encinitas accidents and congestion actually have increased with lane-diet/roundabouts!
Most businesses oppose lane-diet/roundabouts due to potential lost business and private setbacks to be taken. Residents and businesses do support walkability and safety. We’re also concerned about the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, beachgoers, dog-walkers, and babies in strollers using side streets west of Hwy 101 for recreational needs, which would be negatively impacted by traffic racing through Leucadia neighborhoods.
At the most widely attended City Hall workshop (noticed with the help of Leucadia Glass and Sub Palace owners, who submitted over a thousand signatures in opposition), we endured a nearly two-hour “Disneyfied” presentation through Peltz & Associates, roundabout lobbyists. Although “time ran out” for public comments, nearly two-thirds of those taking the initial survey voted; we don’t support five roundabouts in a 2 1/2 mile corridor, leaving only one lane northbound on Leucadia’s Historic North Highway 101.
Results for a second survey were manipulated after we decisively rejected lane-diet/roundabouts through the initial survey. Subsequently, “deserves consideration” was wrongly counted as a YES vote for a lane-diet and five roundabouts! “Streetscam” allegedly “passed” by a small majority, the second-time around.
Less lane-diet/traffic circle opposition, including residents west of the highway, participated in this late-added survey. Leucadia Town Council and Encinitas Council were heavily lobbied by development interests, among them, Peder Norby. “Roundabouts” count as traffic mitigation; a corridor where they’re installed isn’t subject to environmental review grading, cannot receive an “F.”
Solana Beach has abandoned roundabout plans. Pam Slater-Price urges citizens in Del Mar to vote with her against a specific plan implementing lane-diet/traffic circles there. The proposed “roundabout” at 15th Street already has been eliminated.
Leucadians overwhelmingly support “keeping Leucadia Funky” and preserving what’s left of our canopy. We’re grateful for sidewalks now running along the west side of North Highway 101. Planting 101 trees was a positive, although they’re saplings and will take twenty years to become well established. Over 81 percent of Leucadia’s adjacent residents and a majority of business owners polled oppose “Streetscam’s” lane-diet and five traffic circles.
Lynn Marr on behalf of Leucadia Neighbors Steering Committee, including Bob Aronin, David Smith.
Filed Under: Community Commentary