SOLANA BEACH — The Solana Beach City Council reaffirmed its commitment to construct a multiuse pedestrian-and-bike path along Lomas Santa Fe Drive at its September 9 meeting.
“The intent here is to really make this a multiuse corridor that facilitates … all modes of transportation” and “to get the school kids back and forth,” Councilman David Zito said.
Council authorized an additional $15,000 for the project, underway since FY 2016, to make room for a wider path at two narrow “pinch points” west of I-5. The extra money will go toward planning to move a median by Skyline Elementary, allowing the path there to attain its full target width of 15.5 feet.
City staff will also plan to widen the path to 11.5 feet between Granados and Nardo Avenues by shaving a couple of feet from a parking lane. Council opted not to go wider along that jaunt so as not to disturb residential driveways and retaining walls.
Except for the latter stretch, the city can now build the whole path between Cedros Avenue and Solana Hills Drive — roughly, between Highway 101 and I-5 — 15.5 feet wide. That width defines a “true” multiuse path, including a 10-foot paved walkway/bikeway flanked by landscaped buffers, according to a staff report. Anything narrower comprises merely “a wider sidewalk,” requiring the city to change regulations to allow bicyclists, consultant Dawn Wilson said.
The project received a $616,000 SANDAG planning grant in 2018. The estimated total cost for improvements along the Lomas Santa Fe corridor — including east of I-5 to Highland Drive — weighs in at $12 million.
“The construction cost for this project has not yet been appropriated,” Public Works Director Mo Sammak said. “The city hopes to fund the construction … [with Caltrans] grant funding.”
Some residents questioned the need for a wider multiuse pathway.
“The bike lanes and pedestrian walkways that currently exist are more than sufficient to accommodate demand,” LaMar Going said.
“The foot traffic on the north side of Lomas Santa Fe [where the multiuse path would go] flows well with no crowding,” Craig McLeod said. “I don’t think the problem exists.”
Others disagreed, like resident Shawna McGarry, who said: “I don’t think that there will be a lack of demand when there’s the infrastructure there.”
“The project … meshes well with the city’s Climate Action Plan and other environmental and transportation objectives,” resident Peter Zahn said.