The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

Leucadia Streetscape plan highly praised

Having read Mr. Doug Fiske’s “community commentary” in The Coast News (dated Jan. 25), we had to wonder where this person is getting his false information and interpretation about the Leucadia Streetscape Plan. 

Let’s get the facts straight:

The Streetscape’s purpose is not about “gentrifying” the North Coast Highway Corridor Highway 101. City Council and Main Street organizations don’t “gentrify” anything, anywhere and Leucadia is not a “redevelopment” district where gentrification is an objective typically.

A “Streetscape” is about improving a “main street.” This is the case with the Leucadia Streetscape Plan. It’s about beautifying and improving upon our Highway 101 Leucadia “main street” and infrastructure: sidewalks, curbs, gutters, roads, medians, bike ways, trees (+900 planned), greenery, even parking facilities.

It is also about making the “main street” safer and more usable by a variety of user types, that is, pedestrians, bicyclists, families, residents, visitors and even pets! It has nothing to do with private property.

Private property owners do what they want with their properties. They can’t touch the street. The city can’t touch private property as a rule and by law. An enhanced Leucadia “Streetscape” and “main street” will create the “facelift” you may be speaking about in your commentary — we can only hope — and provided the vocal minority, which seems to be on a letter writing crusade in an attempt to squelch what the majority of Leucadians are in favor of, is not able to do away with this positive, fully vetted, Leucadia vision plan (Leucadia Streetscape Plan) already in place and embraced by the community majority at large.

The Leucadia Main Street Association (L101) is not a group of commercial real estate owners and developers from out of town and is not significantly subsidized by the city of Encinitas.

To the contrary, the L101 is comprised of an all-volunteer board of directors, consisting of local residents (also business owners) who graciously volunteer their time trying to help Leucadia become a better place.

Only two of the 13 board members own real estate on Highway 101. Two of our board members rented space and found they could not make it in Leucadia, as other businesses have as well (too many to name), given the hostile road conditions and current physical environment that does not encourage buying enough local business.

The volunteer (unpaid) president of L101 is William Morrison, a landscape architect, also a Leucadian, who has served tirelessly as board president and is a founding member of the group.

He is not paid for his position and holds no contract with the city of Encinitas nor has he ever. The board members are all quality of life advocates, have lived in the immediate community for years and love their Leucadia/Encinitas and want to see it improve along with the majority of the community. No one from the board wants a Starbucks, the GAP or three-to-five story office buildings along our main street Highway 101.

The Streetscape concept was not imposed by outsiders.

It has been fully vetted, a number of times and over the years by the community dating back to 1992 when the Leucadia Specific Plan was adopted by the community and approved by the past City Council.

The same feedback (from the Leucadia Specific Plan/vision plan from 1992) was received when the Streetscape community meetings and workshops began in 2007 leading up to the Streetscape Plan concept 4A being adopted by the City Council in January 2010 (note: four council members voted for it, not three as as was suggested) in January 2010 with heavy support by the community.

This is not a plan that was stuffed down anyone’s throats at any point in time. It is in fact the culmination of decades of feedback and goal setting/visioning from the public and business owners on Highway 101.

As usual, there will always be people who prefer to see no change in Leucadia and to “keep it funky.”

Finally, this is no “trendy, generic plan” being imposed on your (or my) neighborhood. It’s what the majority of Leucadians and businesses want for the downtown Leucadia area.

Even residents of surrounding cities want an improved Leucadia downtown they can safely visit and enjoy. After decades of paying property taxes with few to no improvements in our seaside town, it’s now Leucadia’s time.

The vision is for a more beautiful coastal highway corridor, where visitors and residents alike can come to recreate, relax, shop and dine without concern for their safety, and where businesses thrive.

It’s about preserving the good of what we have and enhancing what no longer works! I hope this sets the record straight. Thank you.

Patricia Bell is a Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association board member and Leucadia resident.



Concerned Leucadian February 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Serge’s answer, above, about “throttling” (aka choke-points) demonstrates how emergency response vehicles will be further slowed by lane elimination, when they already have subpar response times in Leucadia. Further, people trying to turn left, onto the Highway, northbound, will have much greater difficulties, with fewer breaks in traffic. Also, Serge has been biased in favor of bicyclists, and L101MA and seems unconcerned about adjacent residents because he wants to believe that traffic DURING PEAK PERIODS will not cause the huge problems that are inevitable re cut-through traffic, and beach access and egress . . .

Contrary to Patricia Bell’s highly biased opinion,as a board member of L101MA, Streetscape for 101 through Leucadia was NOT fully “vetted.” It is still going through the process of getting a CDP (Coastal Development Permit) through our LCP, and getting all the required amendments. Our General and 101 Specific Plans are part of our LCP!

Our Council should be intelligent enough, and have enough integrity to stick by the rules, not change them “mid-game” as Kristin Gaspar charged the CCC of doing. Quite the opposite is true!

Lane elimination also did not go through the Planning, Traffic or Environmental Commissions, to allow public hearings. Sharrows did go before the Traffic and Environmental Commissions, at least.

The “workshops,” held by Peltz and Associates, were mainly participated in by so-called STAKEHOLDERS, with L101MA and Leucadia Town Council, both of which Fred belongs to, were top on the list, as well as a bicyclist group? Adjacent residents were NOT listed as STAKEHOLDERS.

The workshop’s “surveys” were tweaked. When the initial “survey” showed that the majority of business owners and nearly two thirds of others attending the 2009 meeting at City Hall were OPPOSED to roundabouts and a lane elimination, that survey was discarded. Another one was held, about a year later? which was less well attended, less noticed, by and to opposition.

People who, on this final survey, which was chosen to be the one “that counts” voted that we do not want traffic signals OR 5 roundabouts and lane elimination, were counted as DID NOT RESPOND! We had the option of voting for “none of the above” in the previous City Hall Survey. People who voted having ANY roundabouts “deserves consideration” were counted as being in favor of “enhanced Plan 4A” with 5 roundabouts and lane elimination.

The Community Center Survey was held after a couple of “open houses” at the library, where no public comments were allowed, not even through a “suggestion box.” Through these bogus open houses, which were not workshops, some in the community and Council were “sold” on a cartoon that is much different than the actual engineered drawings. Peltz and Associates rolled out their “conceptual drawings” which are deceiving, and are actually a kind of “bait and switch” between them and the actual engineered plans.

Many more trees would have to be removed. The trees that are being planted as replacements are SAPLINGS, which will not reach full growth in at least twenty years, or more. The medians would have to be narrowed for the proposed roundabouts to fit in, along with angled parking and dedicated bicycle lanes on both sides of the highway.

There would also be another lane elimination, southbound, as four of the five planned roundabouts are within 4/5 of a mile. Four of the five roundabouts, with the exception of the one planned at La Costa, are for 3 way intersections, only, when the U.S. Dept. of Transportation does not recommend roundabouts along railway corridors or where cross traffic is significantly less than the main thoroughfare’s traffic.

Roundabouts, for those who have traveled them, especially in Europe, as I spoke to one Encinitas resident, don’t work when the traffic is very uneven on the cross street and the “main street.” They are unheard of when there is not a through intersection, crossing. Peltz and Associates could not come up with a SINGLE INSTANCE of roundabouts along a railway corridor, ANYWHERE! They were asked the question, at one of their bogus, biased toward roundabouts “workshops” and gave no response!

serge February 7, 2013 at 8:15 am

It is my understanding that the city’s study shows the backups won’t happen because there is insufficient motor traffic volume to require two lanes to clear it. After all, the only “sources” to southbound flow on this section are from further south on 101, which is “throttled” by the traffic light at Leucadia Blvd, and the side streets to the west, which are naturally regulated by the need to cross two lanes of northbound traffic before turning left.

But even if the study is wrong and you’re right, because the lane diet is being implemented now, even as I type, everyone will know for sure either way well before Streetscape development begins. The current lane diet scheme can be easily reversed… it’s only a matter of paint. And, of course, future plans for Streetscape can be adjusted accordingly if the lane diet proves to be problematic.

Speculation and hand-wringing always seem to have their role when changes are planned, but here we have an actual experiment in place to determine what is actually the situation. We’ll soon find out, and, either way, Leucadia will benefit. It’s a good thing.

vaterfair February 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm

i already skip the area on weekends.

Sheryl Chase February 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm

So what happens when traffic is backed up from La Costa to Leucadia Blvd because of one lane and we can’t get out from side streets, back into parking spots, pull out of parking spots? All the while the minority of users are flying by unobstructed? Doesn’t seem like a happy situation for that majority and they might decide to just skip Leucadia all around.

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