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Congressman Mike Levin (D-CA) secured $5 million for the Carlsbad Barrio Street Lighting and Traffic Circles project.
Congressman Mike Levin (D-CA) secured $5 million for the Carlsbad Barrio Street Lighting and Traffic Circles project. Photo by Steve Puterski

Congressman secures $5M for Carlsbad Barrio lights, traffic circles

CARLSBAD — The City of Carlsbad will receive a federal cash infusion for street lighting and traffic circles in the Barrio neighborhood.

Congressman Mike Levin (D-CA) secured $5 million for the Carlsbad project after Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, a funding bill for a variety of priorities, according to Eric Mee, Levin’s communications director. According to Levin, the legislation will distribute more than $21 million to North County and South Orange County.

Additionally, other agencies in North County receiving funds are the North County Transit District ($1.7 million) for a hydrogen fueling station for up to 50 fuel cell electric buses; the Oceanside Museum of Art ($150,000) for reading programs; the City of Oceanside ($2.25 million) for its homeless shelter development; the Oceanside Police Department ($587,000) for an in-car camera system; and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography ($800,000) for a new mobile LiDAR system; and the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers and the City of San Clemente ($9.3M) for shoreline protection.

“My number one focus is delivering results on our local priorities, and I am thrilled that this bipartisan funding legislation will soon be on the way to President Biden’s desk with key investments to address some of the biggest challenges facing our region,” Levin said in the release. “This funding will help address coastal erosion in San Clemente, make our streets safer for pedestrians in Carlsbad, reduce homelessness and support the police in Oceanside, and much more.”

In Carlsbad, the Barrio lighting project has been in the works for several years as part of the Village and Barrio Master Plan, and residents have pushed for more lights and traffic calming measures, such as traffic circles, according to Jason Haber, the city’s intergovernmental affairs director.

Congressman Mike Levin (D-CA) secured $5 million for the Carlsbad Barrio Street Lighting and Traffic Circles project.
in total, six traffic circles will be installed, with two along Chestnut Avenue at the Roosevelt and Madison streets intersections. Photo by Steve Puterski

The project intends to enhance safety, walkability and aesthetics within the Barrio neighborhood. The city will install 24-foot to 26-foot streetlight poles throughout the Barrio to improve visibility for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Also, a 13-foot pedestrian lighting will be installed throughout the Barrio neighborhood to specifically facilitate neighborhood walkability. Haber said parts of the project have already begun. So far, the city has installed 11 lights with two remaining left to “energize.”

As for the traffic circles, the city will install six circles throughout the neighborhood for traffic calming and beautification purposes, according to Levin’s office.

The project’s total cost is about $12.4 million, although Haber said the $5 million in federal funding is a significant chunk that may allow the city to reallocate previously earmarked city funds to other projects.

Nikki Matosian, the city’s community relations manager, said the cost breakdown is as follows: $7.2 million for the traffic circles and $5.2 million for the lighting, although the city is still in the preliminary design phase and a more precise cost estimate will come once the design is complete.

“It was basically identified as a capital improvement project,” Matosian said. “Now, we are proceeding through the design phase and on our way to contracting that. This takes us a long way toward funding the project.”

Haber said staff is expecting to return to the Carlsbad City Council in May or June to present the plans and get authorization to bid, with a construction contract by late 2022. As for the lights, they are currently in design and will return to the council in late 2022 with the construction contract returning in mid-2023, he explained.

Haber said it’s possible some of the timelines for breaking ground may be expedited due to the new influx of cash.