CARLSBAD — In the next several months, a new arterial will finally be connected after decades of waiting.
Poinsettia Lane, otherwise known as the Poinsettia 61 project, is expected to be completed in mid-2020 with a bridge and three stoplights connecting the roadway from just east of El Camino Real to the Cassia Road intersection.
Deputy City Manager of Public Works Paz Gomez and John Kim, a traffic engineer, reported to the City Council during its Dec. 10 meeting the bridge connector will feature three stoplights and the study reveals traffic volumes should decrease on Ambrosia Lane, Aviara Parkway and Cassia Road.
“The report was finalized in November 2019 by our consultant,” Gomez said. “We held a public meeting Nov. 21 … to present the report and its findings.
In 2017, the council authorized staff to develop traffic-calming measures using the Residential Traffic Management Program. One of the goals is to discourage pass-through traffic along Cassia Road, which is the only pathway between Aviara Parkway and Palomar Airport Road for motorists and cyclists to access El Camino Real.
Other aspects of the study researched a traffic control analysis at the intersections and the responses from residents, Gomez said.
Kim said the study evaluated 11 intersections in an area covering Aviara Parkway, El Camino Real to Poinsettia Lane west of the open space. Data points included 10 years’ worth of traffic collisions, speeds, delays, traffic patterns and potential cut-through traffic, Kim said.
“The Poinsettia traffic study used both the city’s previous traffic study guidelines as well as the current traffic study guidelines,” he said. “The report also considered a vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, analysis consistent with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) guidelines.”
One other consideration was adding a southbound right-turn lane from El Camino Real to Poinsettia Lane, Kim said. However, the analysis showed no lane is needed and the level of service would not be affected.
It would require widening El Camino Real, adding a retaining wall and encroaching on a hardline preserve in the Habitat Management Plan for Natural Communities.
The plan to connect Poinsettia Lane was years in the making and spurred by a lawsuit North County Advocates filed in 2015 over the city’s General Plan, California Environmental Quality Act and the Climate Action Plan.
The city of Carlsbad, along with Lennar Homes, Friends of Aviara, Friends of the Buena Vista Reservoir, Preserve Calavera and North County Advocates settled the suit and presented the plan to residents in early 2017 and it was approved by the City Council months later.
The plan includes Lennar Homes constructing 123 detached condos along Ambrosia Lane, finishing the Poinsettia Lane connection, and adding a 3.1-acre park at the Buena Vista Reservoir and about 25 acres of open space to the city’s Habitat Management Plan at Veterans Park and off of Poinsettia Lane. Additionally, the bridge was included to ensure a wildlife corridor runs underneath.
To address environmental impacts of the project, Lennar Homes protects habitat in the project area and restores habitat near Aviara Community Park and the future Veterans Park, according to the city. About 6 acres of land is added to the city’s habitat preserves, beyond the amount already in city plans.
The city also reclassified about 3 acres of land currently slated to be developed into a park as habitat preserve. The land is located at the future site of Veterans Park off Faraday Avenue near Cannon Road.