The Coast News Group
Encinitas City Councilwoman Kellie Shay Hinze said she believes the city is on the right track with a temporary plan. Photo by James Wang

Encinitas approves temporary streetscape design

ENCINITAS — Encinitas officials recently reached a compromise with regional agencies that will allow them to move forward with their desired design of an overhaul of North Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia on a temporary basis. 

The City Council on March 27 approved the temporary design, which keeps the parking pods, which will include 176 spaces, on the Vulcan Avenue side of the rail corridor and a trail on the west side of the rail corridor.

Just a month earlier, a redesign was proffered by the San Diego Association of Governments, the North County Transit District and city staff that eliminated both elements, which were critical features of the streetscape plan.

The City Council rejected the changes and asked staff to work with a council subcommittee to find a design that honored the approved plan.

The temporary solution would allow for SANDAG to determine where it is going to propose the Leucadia leg of the Coastal Rail Trail.

In February, the agencies said they had to place west of the tracks because drainage issues on the east side would make building it there unfeasible. 

Encinitas, meanwhile, will be able to conduct a drainage master plan in the area, which could yield a solution that could solve those drainage issues and allow SANDAG to use the east side of the corridor for the regional trail network.

City Council members voted 5-0 to endorse the temporary solution.

“I think what we have done is provided the flexibility that we can honor the community input that has gone into the years and years of streetscape and also the community input that was done as part of the coastal mobility and livability study,” said Councilwoman Kellie Shay Hinze. “So thank you, and I think that we’re on the right track and that plan reflects this.”

Other council members expressed relief that the project is back on track with the compromise. 

“I am happy and somewhat surprised that we are back to talking about the project,” Councilman Joe Mosca said. “Because it seemed we were getting a bit derailed with these conflicts.”