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The sleek design includes an option of either a sheet rock or cobblestone base and a gold lotus akin to the one atop the Self Realization Fellowship would sit atop the three monument signs. Artwork by Todd Anderson/Switchfoot Creative
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New wayfinding signs proposed for downtown Encinitas

ENCINITAS — Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists could find their way around downtown Encinitas a little easier if the City Council approves a series of new “wayfinding” signs and monuments proposed by the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association.

The City Council is considering approving the monument and directional sign network at its Aug. 15 City Council meeting.

The freshly designed signs and monuments would guide visitors to destinations such as the beach, parking lots, City Hall and the library; landmarks such as the Boat Houses; preferred bike routes and the downtown business district.

Most prominent among the new signs would be three so-called “monument signs,” located at the northern and southern edge of downtown at Coast Highway 10 and Encinitas Boulevard and the Santa Fe Pedestrian undercrossing, respectively, and one at the corner of Vulcan Avenue and Encinitas Avenue, the vehicular gateway to downtown.

The sleek design includes an option of either a sheet rock or cobblestone base and a gold lotus akin to the one atop the Self Realization Fellowship would sit atop the three monument signs.

Encinitas 101, which represents downtown’s merchants and businesses and promotes the city’s core, created the new monuments as part of a $15,000 grant it received in October 2017 from the San Diego County Neighborhood Reinvestment Program.

According to a city staff report, residents have frequently complained to Encinitas 101 about the lack of a cohesive directional sign network in downtown.

“The current signs, including parking and historical signs, are sparse and not comprehensive,” the city staff report states.

The group’s board of directors in January 2018 established a Wayfinding Committee — which included board members and interested members of the public — that coordinated the design efforts and locations of the various signs.

Encinitas 101’s board approved the proposal on June 20. If the City Council approves it, it would accept the signs and monuments as a donation, but would have to determine how to pay for future sign replacement and maintenance.

“E101 is thrilled that our Wayfinding signs and monument designs are going to City Council for approval this month,” said Irene Pyun, the group’s executive director. “As an organization that promotes downtown businesses, it is important to have effective signage that helps visitors navigate the town.”

Pyun said the signs have a tangible financial benefit to the city.

“Wayfinding signs improve the local economy by encouraging exploration of an urban area while providing useful information to make the urban experience more enjoyable,” Pyun said. “We are excited to put a modern twist on the designs to reflect our unique beach town.”


Chris Ahrens August 28, 2018 at 2:13 pm

As a 50-year resident of North County, I found Aaron Burgin’s “New Wayfinding Signs Proposed for Downtown Encinitas” piece both enlightening and disturbing. Enlightening because it illuminated the signs of the times and the current push of catering to businesses and tourists at resident’s expense. Disturbing for several reasons, including cost, clutter, and overexposure. What makes Encinitas unique is not signs but a lack of them. Pointing out the few remaining nooks and crannies to tourists is both embarrassing and expensive. $150,000 for signs? Ask the people who live in or near the boathouses for a vote. Beware council members, your backyard could be next!

Todd Anderson August 30, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Hey Chris – I understand where you’re coming from, I’ve been surfing in Encinitas since I was a kid, lived in Leucadia for many years and currently work in the downtown 101 corridor. All my usual breaks are crowded, there are too many soft boards in the water, and parking is a nightmare. It’s our town every day and the crush of seasonal tourists during the summer is enough to make any resident check their sanity. But the fact is we live and work in a coastal neighborhood where 4 months out of the year, visitors arrive in droves and they want to go to the beach. Good things love water, right? You can’t fault them for that; Encinitas is a wonderful, beautiful, seaside paradise that offers much more than a sunburn and sand wedgie at the end of the day. There are so many cool things to do and see along the 101…my hope with these signs is that they encourage people to get out of their cars, grab a bike or take a walk, and learn to love Encinitas like we do. Slow and easy, and preferably on two wheels while wearing flip flops.

We should support the local businesses and eateries that work so hard during the 8 month “off-season” to keep their doors open for us locals. If these signs and wayfinding structures can help guide visitors around town, get them into the local stores and restaurants and drum up more business during the June-September bonanza, it’s a win-win for the community. If the signs also provide visitors with a sense of the unique history of coastal Encinitas and help them appreciate the City’s efforts to preserve local historical landmarks, it’s hardly an embarrassment, rather something to be proud of. The tourists will continue to come, hopefully this signage project will enhance their experience and help them remember that Encinitas is a rare and special town.

Also, it is a $15,000 grant that is paying for the project, I think you added another zero to your cost estimate.

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