CARLSBAD — The city will address beach access and connecting the beach with Agua Hedionda Lagoon in two chunks.
The City Council approved moving forward with its American with Disabilities Act Beach Access Feasibility Study during its July 21 meeting. The council opted to approve a study regarding the Trail Connectivity to Tamarack State Beach Feasibility Study and felt it best to separate the two plans due to safety and cost concerns with the trail connection.
The beach access plan proposes installing two ADA ramps at Pine and Tamarack avenues, along with other improvements; while the council was also presented a proposal for connecting the seawall walkway to complete the Agua Hedionda Lagoon North Shore Trail connection, according to Kyle Lancaster, Carlsbad’s director of parks and recreation.
“The two projects are adjacent to each other,” Lancaster said. “The ADA beach access and trail connectivity to Tamarack State Beach, and from the Tamarack beach south to Frazee Beach near Carlsbad Village Drive.”
Nathan Schmidt, the city’s transportation planning and mobility manager, said ADA project evaluated six stairways and two ramps, the latter two at Pine and Tamarack avenues. Currently, the city has no ADA compliant access along the proposed project, according to Schmidt.
Also, a city study shows Pine Avenue has 5,700 pedestrians per day and Tamarack at 3,500 per day. Those were the two highest pedestrian areas along that stretch, which is why staff opted for those two locations for ADA access, Schmidt said.
There are some challenges to construction, which is not expected to begin for some time. Those issues include landform alteration, which includes bluff erosion and water runoff, existing slopes and supporting elevated ramps.
Schmidt said the Pine Avenue ramp would be several hundred feet long and run from the parking lot on Ocean Street down to the restrooms at beach level.
“The Tamarack State Beach ramp is 200 feet and 60% elevated above the bluff,” he said. “It starts from restrooms and lands by the seawall and parking lot.”
As for the trail connectivity, though, the council was not sold on the tunnel. Lancaster said the connection would begin at the north end of Tamarack parking lot.
The walkway would move parking spots several feet east to allow for a continuous path leading to a 92.5-foot “cut and cover” tunnel under Carlsbad Boulevard, he said. There was no cost projection included in the study for the tunnel or at-grade crossing.
Councilwoman Cori Schumacher said her concerns stem from the safety of a “cut and cover” tunnel and the safety challenges, noting women walking by themselves at night; and from a cost standpoint looking for an at-grade option, which would cut provide less cost and maintenance. She also said sea-level rise and storm events for the tunnel are other issues to consider.
The council also agreed, noting the issue could tie-in with another project covering traffic enhancements at the Tamarack Avenue and Carlsbad Boulevard intersection.
“I’m willing to support the ramps,” Schumacher said. “I’m currently uncomfortable with supporting the tunnel option.”
Cost estimates, meanwhile, project the ADA access plan at $2.8 million, while the trail connectivity plan is $3,123,840. Lancaster said up next is drafting a request for a proposal to address the environmental review, permitting, engineering and construction documentation for the phases of the project.