SOLANA BEACH — Plans to make South Cedros Avenue more pedestrian friendly moved a step forward at the Aug. 28 meeting after City Council members awarded the construction contract to the lowest of four bidders for the job.
PAL General Engineering estimates it will spend $78,515 for improvements in several areas along the corridor. With a 15 percent contingency and $4,000 for an inspection, the total project cost is estimated at $81,700.
The South Cedros Property Owners Association, which initially requested the city consider the traffic calming and streetscape project in August 2011, agreed to fund half of all work within the district. The group will also pay for construction and maintenance of any enhanced landscaping after construction is completed.
Culture Brewing is contributing $3,500 to the project.
The city will pay 100 percent of one portion of the project that will convert striped areas to raised curbs at the intersection of South Cedros and Via de la Valle, bringing its portion to $54,400.
Because only $48,000 was budgeted, TransNet funds from the Highland Drive project will be transferred to make up for the shortfall.
Curb pop-outs will be built at the northeast corner of South Cedros and Rosa Street. On the northwest corner, a raised walkway will be added.
Both improvements will make it easier for pedestrians to cross at that three-way intersection. The district plans to add landscape planters later.
The midblock speed hump near 312 S. Cedros will be replaced with a raised pedestrian crosswalk similar to the one in front of the Belly Up Tavern.
Plans also call to extend the curb at 111 S. Cedros to make the sidewalk wider. A planter and bike racks will be added. Raised curb planters will replace the painted parking isles at four locations.
A representative from Bike Walk Solana asked council in April to consider adding shared bike lanes, known as sharrows.
Mo Sammak, city engineer, said the recommendation was to wait until the circulation element of the ongoing general plan update was adopted.
“Then you will know exactly where bike lanes are and then you will appropriately address them at that time,” Sammak said. “So in our opinion it’s a little bit too early to address the sharrow at this point as part of this project.”
Council members disagreed. Mayor Mike Nichols said the designation was included in the recent Coast Highway 101 project without the circulation plan.
“We know that there’s going to be bikes on that street,” he said, noting it would be more cost effective to add the markings now rather than bring someone back later. “We know that we’re basically going to have sharrows.”
“Why hold off on the sharrows when the opportunity is there?” Councilman Peter Zahn added.
Councilwoman Lesa Heebner had some safety concerns.
“People on Cedros are really not paying attention that much because they’re looking at all of the shops, and I’m wondering if it’s safe to bike riders and pedestrians,” she said.
City Manager David Ott said bicyclists already use the street, so sharrows would actually make the road safer for them.
Councilman Dave Zito, a cyclist, agreed, saying designated sharrows on South Cedros would be more advantageous than those on Highway 101 because traffic is so slow riders are frequently keeping speed with the vehicles.
He also said the lanes on South Cedros are narrow, making it difficult for cars and bikes to exist in the same lane at the same time.
Council added sharrows as part of the project.
Painted medians were added to the intersection of South Cedros and Via de la Valle more than three years ago as a temporary means to slow traffic.
“This project proved to be somewhat effective for this particular neighborhood,” Sammak said. By adding raised curbs, “we believe it’s going to be even more effective to slow down traffic as they turn into South Cedros.”
Work is slated to begin in early October and be completed the week before Thanksgiving.
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