ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council this week agreed to pursue further debt financing for the completion of the Leucadia Streetscape project as well as agree to the construction of three roundabouts as part of the plan.
It is just the next step in a project that has been worked on for several years by the city.
“Streetscape is the biggest project the city has ever undertaken and we’re making tremendous strides,” Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz said. “I just want to be sure that if we’re going to do debt financing that we have those very important traffic calming measures.”
The City Council was given two alternatives for the segment of Leucadia, with one offering the construction of two roundabouts. The option chosen unanimously by the council consisted of building three roundabouts at Jupiter Street, Grandview Street and Bishop’s Gate Road.
There was some confusion in terms of the placement of bike lanes along the Coast Highway 101 corridor as every member believed that there would be bike lanes along the full length of the project in both directions. It turns out that is not currently in the plans.
“There will be accommodations for bikes throughout the entire length,” Jill Bankston, acting city engineer said. “But we’re not bringing the entire corridor down to one lane and there isn’t enough width to have two lanes of traffic and a buffered bike lane through the entire corridor.”
Several of the public comments were about bike lanes in Streetscape, expressing disappointment that the plan presented didn’t include them for the length of the corridor.
“It sounds like that whole section is going to be ignored,” Encinitas resident June Honsberger said. “It sounded like the side of 101 next to the train tracks wasn’t going to have any improvement so I would appreciate some clarification on that because if that’s the case I am going to be very disappointed that we, once again, aren’t going to see any improvement.”
According to city staff, if the council requested to remove some of the parking from the Streetscape plan to create more room to accommodate bike lanes in both directions, it could lead to issues with approval from the California Coastal Commission.
“I really want to be clear that we’re not directing or asking this project get derailed over this,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “I know that’s the kind of thing that can make it not actually acceptable to the coastal commission and then we get into a multi-year process of negotiations.”
City staff said they would go back to look at designs in the hopes of finding a way to accommodate the bike lanes, which are of great interest to the public. Staff said they would return to the council with their findings in one week’s time.
“I just want to assure that the team will get right on it,” Development Services Director Lillian Doherty said. “We’ll make sure this is a top priority to get a response. At the minimum, I think we can get an answer to the feasibility.”