ENCINITAS — Early Saturday, bicyclists enjoyed the view of San Elijo Lagoon from a jellyfish-shaped vantage point on the newest connector segment of the North Coast Bike Trail.
“It’s beautiful,” said bicyclist David Wang of his northbound ride from Solana Beach to the I-5 Vista Point rest area — a giant concrete jellyfish — along the highway just south of Birmingham Drive.
Earlier this month, construction was completed on the overlook and a system of new paths that run parallel the freeway as part of the San Diego Association of Governments’ 40-year North Coast Corridor Program, which partners with Caltrans, TransNet and other state and local agencies.
As of June 4, bike and foot traffic connects from Solana Beach to Encinitas via paths along Manchester Avenue and I-5. The project also extended Solana Hills Trails and built a new suspension bridge over the San Elijo Lagoon, underneath the Manchester Avenue overpass.
“I’m really excited about the expansion of our bike network,” said Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “We’ve been working to provide safe, convenient, beautiful and well-designed bike paths for several years. I love seeing the joy on people’s faces when they ride in our city.”
Build NCC, the package of the North County project that focuses on improvement projects in Solana Beach, Encinitas and Carlsbad, is expected to wrap up next year. Build NCC is the first phase of the 40-year program that aims to improve bike and pedestrian connectivity for about $869 million, according to the Build NCC home page.
“It’s better than down there,” said Serge Issakov, a bicyclist referring to the shared bike path on Coast Highway 101.
Issakov, like many cyclists, generally does his pedaling over the weekends — as many flock to the beach.
“It’s great,” Issakov, said, adding that the new path enhances safety and helps cyclists “avoid things that would cause you to crash,” like people abruptly crossing the street.
However, he’s looking to future improvements already, including more access points and cross walks.
“It’s good for recreational cyclists,” Issakov said “There’s a very limited population, as far as I can tell, that benefits transportation needs. If you happen to live near [Birmingham Road or Solana Hills], then it’s good.”
Build NCC is the first phase of the North Coast Corridor Program, the final project is expected to be completed next year. This last segment of Build NCC extends the carpool/HOV lane in both directions on I-5 from Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad to state Route 78.
The Chestnut Avenue area will also see some community improvements near the roadway at the end of this phase.
Grest addition. to the bike and foot trails.