The Coast News Group

Pedestrian friendly upgrades slated for 101 in Solana Beach

SOLANA BEACH — Solana Beach will soon be a bit more pedestrian friendly down by the coast.

Council members awarded a construction contract at the April 9 meeting for improvements at the intersection of Plaza Street and Acacia Avenue and an extension of the sidewalk on the west side of Coast Highway 101 north of Ocean Street to the city boundary.

All four corners of the Plaza intersection will be upgraded to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The project will also include curb pop-outs to reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians, curb ramps, painted crosswalks, a minor realignment of the sidewalk and new median landscaping.

City Engineer Mo Sammak said pedestrians on Acacia cross behind vehicles stopped at the intersection, “which is a really unusual arrangement so we’re going to correct that.”

“We believe this (will be) a little bit more pedestrian-friendly intersection by the time we’re finished,” he said.

A standard sidewalk, along with curb and gutter, will be added to the northwest side of Coast Highway 101.

“There is not a sidewalk in that location and there are pedestrians that actually walk at the edge of the roadway” to access Cardiff State Beach, Sammak said.

On southbound Highway 101, there will be pavement improvements, including restriping to widen the bike lane, narrow driving lanes and slow traffic.

After the project was put out to bid on March 20 the city received 11 proposals ranging from $222,230 to $329,710.

The lowest bid was from Dick Miller Inc., the same company the city hired for the recently completed improvements along the Highway 101 west side corridor.

Project costs are estimated at $102,404 for the Plaza Street improvements and $119,826 for the sidewalk.

With a $40,000 contingency and $8,000 budgeted for inspections, the project is estimated to cost $270,230. Sammak said $400,000 is available to fund the improvements.

“So there will be some money left over for other projects in the future,” he said.

“I know we’ve been talking about doing it for a long time,” Councilman Mike Nichols said of the two projects. “I’m excited.”

Plans call to remove most of the jacarandas at the Plaza Street intersection, especially since many are not healthy.

Nichols, a landscape architect, will work with the company to spare some that are coming back to life.

“It’s a shame to take out a tree that’s starting to grow,” he said.

Nichols will also be involved with selecting appropriate landscaping for planters.

“These are going to be two improvements that are good for the community, good for pedestrians, bicyclist (and) dogs,” Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said.