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Neptune re-striping gives nod to bikers, pedestrians

ENCINITAS — For years, cyclists, walkers and moms with strollers walking along Neptune Avenue in Leucadia would straddle the edges of the street, hoping to avoid contact with northbound cars that occupied the same sliver of space.

But Encinitas officials are hoping a recent re-striping of the one-way street that parallels Coast Highway 101 will provide both motorists and nonmotorists safer passage.

As part of the re-striping, the vehicle travel lane was narrowed to create what is known as a “Type 3 pedestrian facility,” a 5-foot wide lane for nonvehicular modes of transportation.

The striping also more prominently identifies the parking bays along both sides of the street.

Councilwoman Kellie Shay Hinze, who lives just south of the restriped segment, said she has already seen a pronounced difference in how people are driving along Neptune.

“It looks great, and the lane narrowing has slowed traffic significantly, at least from my perspective,” Hinze said. “I’ve already seen that cars have come to understand that this is going to be a highly pedestrian-utilized corridor.”

The project was approved last year, with city crews restriping and resurfacing the street in March and April.

Michelle Lorch, who was jogging in the new lane with her dog, Oscar, agreed with Hinze.

“I feel safer just because there is a delineation of where cars should be and where runners and cyclists should be,” said Lorch, who said she has jogged Neptune regularly for 10 years. “I have no complaints.”

Neptune Avenue has been at the center of two controversies involving the future of the roadway, the most prominent being the proposed overhaul to Coast Highway 101 and the interim speed calming measures, which residents believed would cause more cars to drive down their one-way street.

Some neighbors who spoke to The Coast News, however, said they had mixed feelings about the striping, saying that it channels too many competing nonvehicular modes of transport into too narrow of a space.

One neighbor, who chose not to give her name, said the neighborhood “got along fine without” the new striping.

Lorch, however, said that vehicles had been driving faster and more hurriedly along the stretch, some using it to bypass traffic along Coast Highway 101.

“This is not the street you want to be using if you are in a hurry,” Lorch said.