The proposed Leucadia Highway 101 Streetscape plan reflects the continuing desire of our community to create a tree-lined, walkable, pedestrian, bicycle and driver friendly Leucadia Highway 101 corridor.
Some of the concerns that have been expressed about the Streetscape are the community does not favor roundabouts; the community does not want to reduce northbound traffic to one lane; private property will be taken by city encroachments; businesses oppose the plan; as an alternative, the city should install one or two more stop signs, instead of roundabouts; and the project would involve wasteful city spending.
The reality is that the community appears to favor three roundabouts and will support one lane northbound to pick up the right of way necessary for a median with a tree canopy, additional landscaping and a northbound bike lane. The Streetscape consultants, city staff, and community have never supported taking private property. There is sufficient right-of-way so no property will be taken from the owner of Leucadia Glass relating to the installation of a roundabout at Highway 101 and El Portal.
Furthermore, once the Leucadia businesses become aware of the true facts relating to the Streetscape plan, they become strong supporters of the project. Merely installing one or two more stop signs is not going to solve the problems that exist on the Leucadia Speedway. Why should Leucadia be required to accommodate cut through traffic from other cities? raffic calming is necessary. It can only be achieved by narrowing the drive lanes, installing three roundabouts and reducing the roadway’s design speed to 25 to 30 mph similar to downtown Encinitas. These roundabouts will keep traffic moving, but not at the present excessive, dangerous speeds. The roundabouts will also reduce exhaust emissions which result from the installation of stop signs and stoplights
Finally, one of the most pervasive myths propagated by those who are not comfortable with the Streetscape plan is that it constitutes potential future wasteful spending by the city. To the contrary, the city has already set aside almost $2.5 million for these improvements.
Furthermore, as we have all witnessed with the downtown Encinitas streetscape enhancement, the city has been the benefactor of much higher property taxes both along the downtown 101 corridor and for all of the adjacent properties because of increased property values directly attributable to the Streetscape improvements. There also was an immediate surge in sales taxes collected by the city due to the downtown improvements. The same city revenue enhancement phenomena will occur in Leucadia, following the completion of our streetscape. It has been calculated that the city of Encinitas will have recouped its entire investment in the downtown Encinitas streetscape improvements from increased sales and property taxes, within six or seven years of the completion of that project. I’m sure we all wish that our own 401(k)s had that type of investment return!
The entire Leucadia community encourages and invites all of the Encinitas residents to participate in planning the Leucadia Streetscape. From 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the Banquet Room at the Encinitas Community and Senior Center there will be an educational session put on by the city and the consultant to bring the attendees up to speed with the progress of our previous workshops. From 4 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 there will be an informational open house concerning the Streetscape in the Community Room at the Encinitas Public Library. Finally, from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 10 there will be Workshop 4 held in the Banquet Room at the Community Center, to obtain final community input for the proposed plan.
The Leucadia Streetscape project will be an important part of our legacy for the future of the city. It will still be in place for the benefit and enjoyment of our children and our grandchildren. Let’s take the national award-winning downtown Encinitas Streetscape north to La Costa Avenue and create a legacy of which we can be proud.
Charley Marvin is president of the Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association