The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

Encinitas is out of balance

KPBS radio recited an Afghanistan proverb: “A tilted load will not reach its destination.” 

Considering the imbalanced load Encinitas is attempting to force on unwilling adjacent residents and local commuters, an Historic State Highway 101 “streetscape” from A Street to La Costa Avenue, with five roundabouts, more old growth tree removal, and lane elimination, citizens can see, for ourselves, how badly out of balance the plan is; so much so that we could never arrive at a successfully completed project.

Council’s attempting to make Encinitas a “Nanny City,” whereby council members “know what’s best” for so-called “obstructionist” citizens, overlooking that those objecting comprise a majority of voters! When ballot measures were discussed at the “all things election,” Oct. 2 City Council meeting, Councilmember Mark Muir’s suggestion seemed disregarded.

Mayor Teresa Barth asked Muir if he thought they should bring back the N101 Streetscape as a future agenda item with discussion of a ballot measure for the General Election? Muir stated, “Yes.” When the ballot measure discussion comes back, as promised, as a separate agenda item, the Highway 101 roundabouts, lane elimination and tree removal, should be included. Council has pledged to honor every council member’s request for future agenda items, and consistently has, since before our “new council” was seated.

The reasons this project is out of balance are numerous. There’s never been a valid cost-needs/effectiveness-analysis/assessment. Just as methodology was flawed for the General Plan Update through MIG, whereby data quantified and qualified is not statistically significant, so is Peltz and Associates methodology flawed, with disinformation being disseminated, distorting facts.

Councilmember Kristin Gaspar lives closer to, or in Encinitas Ranch, as does Deputy Mayor Shaffer. Gaspar voted, with previous council, to reboot the GPU, because it wasn’t popularly supported and because of flawed methodology. Yet, had Gaspar lived adjacent to N101, she would have to recuse herself, as Dan Dalager did for the Jan. 13, 2010 roundabout vote, before Gaspar was elected.

Citizens have been promised we will vote on the GPU. Similarly, we should be encouraged to vote on the N101 Streetscape before more money is wasted. Over $1 Million was wasted on MIG’s derivative update, composed of templates for updates the contractor had facilitated for dissimilar cities. We’ve paid Peltz and Associates at least $557,000+ for propaganda, and marketing parlance, not valid surveys. If the City insists they’re valid, insists the community supports five roundabouts and lane/tree elimination, then why not put the matter on the ballot for only $23,000 to approve a $20 million+ project?

The proposed project is out of balance in that it would bottleneck lanes for motorists, from two northbound/southbound, to one lane, each direction, through four one-lane roundabouts, slowing traffic from an already reduced 35 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour. Roundabouts aren’t recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation where cross-street traffic is significantly less than the main thoroughfare, such as at three-way intersections, with no cross-streets. Nor are roundabouts recommended where they could affect traffic flow at railroad crossings. Emergency response times absolutely would be reduced in a zone already subpar according to City standards. More traffic cutting through schoolzone/beachside residential/recreational access/egress streets would create additional health and safety concerns.

Also imbalanced is that Phase II of the Leucadia Blvd. roundabouts, with a roundabout at Hygeia, and more sidewalks and landscaping, was never initiated. But “beautification” improvements were how Leucadia Blvd. roundabouts were “sold” to the public. Were that project to be completed, and five more roundabouts added on 101 that would be a total of eight roundabouts through Leucadia, and only one anywhere else in the city, on Santa Fe. That Cardiff roundabout is built incorrectly, with improper grading that creates visibility issues. More collisions have occurred at intersections with roundabouts after their installation, than before, in Encinitas.

Muir said he favors a general election ballot measure for the project because it’s a “high ticket item” and “there’s been a lot of controversy.” Adjacent residents and those who actually use 101 for daily commuting, want to make sure that besides support of the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association and a “compliant” city staff, council must determine whether the public needs and wants a project that would include five roundabouts, further destruction of our canopy, more cut through traffic, and slower emergency response times.

Lynn Marr is a Leucadia resident.



Lynn Marr November 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Our sister city, Solana Beach, to our immediate south, was able to improve Highway 101 WITHOUT any roundabouts on Pacific Coast Highway, and without lane elimination for motorists. Roundabouts and a “lane diet,” were seriously considered there, but were rejected after public opposition and cost concerns. Thanks for bringing that up, Paul. You seem to be the only one, posting here, in favor of roundabouts, although this commentary has been viewed over a thousand times! Again, roundabouts were voted down during the General Election, in 2012, by Del Mar, on Highway 101.

It’s so simple for some to call people names, or to try to divide our community through a compliant city staff’s supporting the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association, which is highly subsidized through the City, and also acts as a City sponsor, at such events such as the Mayor’s State of the City Address, for which one was required to pay $20 per ticket to attend. Of course all of Council was there for their free dinner and photo ops.

The Mayor should have repeated the State of the City Address at a regularly scheduled, free Council Meeting. It is available to see online; the event includes “commercials” by the various rebranded 101 Mainstreet Associations, which sponsored it. That event was another public/private partnership with now departed “101 Coordinator” (unreporting lobbyist) Peder Norby and City Manager Gus Vina sitting on the State of the City Committee, along with members of Boards of Directors of the private, sponsor/subsidiary business groups.

Adjacent residents and local commuters are not “obstructionists, nor are citizens who object to favoritism and special interests distorting common sense, distracting from legitimate concerns raised about traffic bottlenecking during peak periods, causing gridlock, more cut through traffic, slower emergency response times, and loss of business for those businesses affected, which would be on the west side of 101, only, due to the proximity of the adjacent railroad tracks.

The real OBSTRUCTIONS would be four one-lane, three-way intersection roundabouts on our main arterial, primary circulation element, Major Roadway, in the Coastal Zone. The roundabouts have been DESIGNED as obstructions to slow traffic and to prevent cut through traffic from I-5, theoretically. However, the speed limit has already been slowed to 35 MPH. That should be enforced. And traffic would still divert from the freeway when it is backed up. Rather than preventing cut through traffic, four one-lane 3-way intersection roundabouts would INCREASE cut through traffic, with frustrated drivers trying to escape gridlock during peak periods, racing through our local residential/recreational, beach access/egress and school zone streets.

Already subpar emergency response times would be further slowed. Public health and safety would be adversely affected. We don’t want that; people with common sense agree. Some continue to be blinded by their own narrow self interests, and don’t care what the majority wants and needs. If L101MA is so certain that the majority favor roundabouts on our Historic Highway, then they should endorse a public vote, by Council’s putting the roundabout question on the ballot, next year, for only $23,000, as Del Mar did, last year.

Paul November 3, 2013 at 10:01 am

What utter nonsense! Look how Solana Beach has improved Highway 101. They have not only improved the beauty of the street, but also: improved the communal nature of the town, helped local businesses, raised property values, and slowed down neighborhood traffic, made it more bicycle friendly, and created walking areas. Compare that to Highway 101 in Leucadia! Thanks to obstructionists like the author, we are stuck in with a mini-freeway in our neighbor with the blight that goes with it. It’s time to make our city more beautiful.

IO October 24, 2013 at 8:15 am

Prepare yourself heartily for you have pervaded beyond measure, and what may have once been in your grasp in truth never was there. You

Lynn Marr October 22, 2013 at 12:21 am

If you are so certain “the vast majority of citizens have been in favor of enhancing Hwy. 101” with five roundabouts, narrowing our four lane highway down to two lanes, one in each direction, through four unwanted one-lane, three-way intersection roundabouts, slowing motorists to 15MPH, from the already reduced speed limit of 35MPH, then you should ABSOLUTELY be in favor of this question being put on the ballot by City Council for the next General Election, for a minimal cost of only about $23,000, the same cost as one “satisfaction survey” conducted before each General Election, from 2012-2016. The Highway 101 roundabout project from A St. to La Costa is estimated to cost at least $20+ MILLION!

Let the citizens decide. And Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association, as a non-profit, is required to report all it’s roundabout lobbying activities on its IRS tax returns, which it hasn’t been doing . . .

The roundabout plan has NOT been thoroughly vetted at the series of contractor “facilitated” workshops, held mostly in 2008, with one more held a year later, in October of 2009, when less people attended. Fewer citizens and adjacent residents had been informed about the final workshop, #4, where only two alternatives were offered, five roundabouts or traffic signals. The ONLY other question was whether parking would be angled “front in,” or “back-in.”

Not publicized nor widely known were the true intentions of some members of city staff and Peltz & Associates, roundabout lobbyists, working with Dan Burden, traveling the nation, pushing roundabouts as public make-work projects, benefitting developers. Roundabouts are in developers’ toolboxes because they can be used, as alleged “traffic calming devices,” to avoid level of service grading for future development projects, and serve as mitigation in high density projects. Would be builders anticipate with roundabouts they would be entitled to Negative Environmental Impact Declarations, with full EIR traffic projections no longer required, mandating A,B,C,D, E, or F grades as to LOS for intersections affected by planned development

The Peltz & Associates workshop reports leave out important statistics and twist the numbers, massage the data, from confusing surveys, which were essentially set up as “Push Polls,” pushing a roundabout agenda, from the beginning, at Workshop One.

At Workshop 1B on 2/23/08, ONLY a roundabout at Grandview and 101 was “enthusiastically supported” (how many people required to demonstrate “enthusiasm” was not revealed) by an undisclosed number of people actually participating in an undetermined number of focus groups that day, with only 55 people placing their names on the sign in sheet, BEFORE the walkabout. Again, an unknown number of individuals returned to City Hall on Saturday afternoon, over 5 1/2 years ago to participate in an unknown number of focus groups.

The numbers are twisted, outdated, and not statistically significant from these workshops, unmonitored, uncontrolled for accuracy, and thus unverified. The roundabout plan is a scam, because it is unwanted by the majority and unverified statistically, NOT “vetted,” which term assumes scientific objectivity and accuracy.

Anyone can see that having so many roundabouts through Leucadia, a total of seven, or eight, if the third promised roundabout on Leucadia Blvd. is built, and only one other roundabout anywhere else in the City, IS out of balance. Subtracting motorists’ highway lanes, from adjacent residents and local commuters, on a main arterial, primary circulation element, adjoining a beach access/egress, recreational/residential street, against City staff’s and the Coastal Commission’s recommendations, is also woefully “out of balance.”

michael hendrix October 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm

What a great letter! Hope that a few listen to you.

Paul October 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm

The only thing that is “out of balance” is the opinion of this biased writer. The Leucadia master plan has the throughly vetted by the public and its elected representatives for years. The vast majority of citizens have been in favor of enhancing Hwy 101 for years despite the bitter protestations of a small number of folks who probably wish that it was still a dirt road of with horse buggies because it would be safer than the horror of “roundabouts.” Get over it. Hwy 101 is a collection of cheap liquor stores, run down motels, used car lots and vacant lots. Let’s start by telling the truth – Leucadia is a dump. Let’s improve it now…. we have been waiting for decades.

michael hendrix October 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Hi, I live out of state and come to San Diego, twice a year for business. I never stay in San Diego itself. I prefer the tawdry, liquor store infested, supposed “dump” that is Leucadia.
Gee whiz, this place is still relatively unspoiled. I love it here. Urban renewal is a flawed concept that may hasten the destruction of this town. Don’t crap in your own nest. Leave it alone and enjoy!
best regards,


Oleo October 20, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Please, no more roundabouts! There are so many drivers out there who don’t know how to use them. As a motorist, pedestrian and cyclist, I never feel as safe in them as I do at a stop sign. The city of Encinitas is way too interested in cluttering the road with roundabouts and other unnecessary traffic calming measures. How about just keeping the potholes to a minimum and fund the pedestrian rail crossings?

EH October 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I loved the “canopy”, and remember it when it was much much fuller in the 70’s. Those who didn’t get to see it back then really missed something and it’s hard to picture how nice it was.

Can we replant Eucalyptus trees or is that non-PC now because they are non-native?

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