ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council approved new Leucadia Streetscape designs from city staff this week that include dedicated bike lanes along every segment of the project.
Construction is estimated to be halfway completed by fall 2022.
The Streetscape project, which is a series of safety, mobility and beautification enhancements along the Coast Highway 101 corridor in downtown Leucadia, has been in the works for upwards of 15 years.
Due to the length of the process, Mayor Catherine Blakespear made a point to city staff, especially new members of staff who have not been part of the project since the beginning, to ensure they understood the task ahead of them.
Lilian Doherty, the city’s development services director, expressed confidence the plan laid out by staff and approved by the council this week will be deliverable.
“We as a team are committed to bringing this project and delivering. I understand in the past that there have been promises, but what we have presented this evening are a timeline and a delivery schedule that I know we can commit to,” Doherty said.
The project has been divided into three segments. Segment A, from Basil Street to A Street along Highway 101, is already under construction and the north part of the segment is expected to be completed by spring 2022. The south part of the segment will need further funding for completion.
The council is hoping for funding for the completion of Segment A through federal funds that the city has applied for and it expects to hear results in November. The city says that funding is not needed for restriping and lane reconfiguration, meaning regardless of the federal funding, the lanes would be consistent throughout the corridor.
“So we will have that consistent lane configuration with one lane in each direction and the dedicated bike lane,” said Jill Bankston, acting city engineer for Encinitas. “It won’t have the Streetscape improvements, meaning the additional landscaping and the wider sidewalks in that segment currently. But we will be looking to pursue other funding sources if this federal earmark is not successful.”
Segment B from Basil Street to Jupiter Street and Segment C from Jupiter Street to La Costa Avenue do not currently have set funding sources.
Further funding for the project will require a loan from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, or IBank, but the city does not expect approval of a loan until late 2021 or early 2022.
The safety and mobility enhancements to Segments B and C would be expected to be completed by fall 2022 under the new city timeline. The Streetscape enhancements to those segments along with the final work on the south part of Segment A would not begin construction until late 2022 or early 2023.
The driving force behind the recent redesign was the lack of dedicated bike lanes throughout the length of the corridor. At least one biking advocate expressed his support of the new city plans.
“Connectivity, safety and consistency are keys to getting more citizens to ride and this project will help that effort,” said Andy Hanshaw, of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.
Deputy Mayor Tony Kranz, who has been on the City Council since 2012 and has seen the project unfold, expressed optimism that this version of Streetscape would be seen through.
“It’s roughly $24 million worth of work that is going to be transformational and will leave a legacy that I think we’ll all be very proud of,” Kranz said.