Making sense of the streets

I had the pleasure of hearing Bryan Jones from the City of CarlsbadDepartment of Transportation speak last week to the Encinitas Bike and

Pedestrian Committee about Carlsbad’s “multi-modal approach” to traffic planning.

I was thrilled to hear what Carlsbad is doing to improve quality of life and enhance the experience of people traveling by bike and by foot along their coastal corridor and in the village.

We can only hope other coastal cities follow this same philosophy of serving their communities so we can have one contiguous, safe, and wonderful experience biking, walking, and driving along our coastal corridor.

They call this “complete streets” or “livable streets” — basically, reclaiming roadways to be inviting to all users.

The Carlsbad City Council has realigned their vision and values with those of the Carlsbad community, and the council has articulated that their focus is to capitalize on the active and healthy lifestyle their town has to offer by investing in livable streets.

The council recognizes the economic potential of up to 6,000 bicyclists riding through the city on a given weekend day (recent actual count), and wants to attract these bicyclists to shop and consume in the village as they venture north and south.

The city is using both simple changes to road markings and more extensive capital improvements in its efforts to calm traffic and cater to all users, instead of simply accommodating high-speed vehicle traffic.

On Carlsbad Boulevard (the city’s portion of Coast Highway 101), they plan to reduce traffic lane widths and increase the width of bike lanes to 8 feet.

Narrower lanes tend to result in slower vehicles, and in turn, slower vehicle speeds (30 and 35 mph) make for a more bike and pedestrian friendly area. A roundabout is planned at the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street to improve the safety of the intersection and slow motorists as they enter the city from the north.

With the addition of the “scramble” pedestrian crossing at Carlsbad Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive and 60 new bike racks in the village, Carlsbad is creating an inviting feeling and better experience for all users along one of the most beautiful coastlines in southern California.

All this makes sense when it comes to complete streets and livable streets, and reclaiming our coastal villages and former highway as places people can gather, shop, dine, and interact.

Hurray for Carlsbad! Solana Beach recently broke ground on a similar project and Del Mar has plans under review. I wonder what city will be next!? Encinitas? Let’s hope so!

Travis Newhouse is an Encinitas resident

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