SOLANA BEACH — A proposal to slow traffic and increase pedestrian mobility on South Cedros Avenue moved forward at the April 10 meeting after council members authorized city staff to proceed with final design plans and advertise the project for construction bids. Representatives from the Cedros Avenue Design District Association made the initial request for a traffic calming and streetscape project in August 2011.
City staff worked with property owners to create a preliminary design that originally focused only on the Rosa Street and South Cedros intersection, where one curb pop-out in front of 415 S. Cedros was funded and installed by property owners.
City staff continued to work with the business community and the project has been expanded to include several additional improvements presented at the April 10 council meeting.
In addition to completing work on the north crossing of the Rosa Street intersection, a raised pedestrian crosswalk is proposed near 312 S. Cedros, at the Design District overhead arched banner sign. City Engineer Mo Sammak said the design would be identical to the raised crosswalk near the Belly Up Tavern.
Plans also call for curb realignment and a wider sidewalk at 111 S. Cedros and raised curb planters at four locations currently striped for demarcation of the parking zone.
Business community members also proposed fully funding and installing decorative crosswalks at the Lomas Santa Fe Drive intersection and all pedestrian crossings.
The artwork would have a theme, which currently is koi fish.
Council members had some concerns about who would be responsible for maintenance of the plants and crosswalk artwork.
“It is relatively elaborate, as far as I’m concerned,” Sammak said of the decorative crosswalks. “It requires a lot of time to paint it. … It will fade because it will be traveled over by cars and in order to make it look nice it needs to be frequently refreshed.”
City Manager David Ott said a maintenance agreement between the city and the Cedros Avenue Design District Association would be required before any work begins.
Resident Douglas Alden of Bike Walk Solana said he supports the traffic calming project, but asked that shared bike lanes, known as sharrows, and bike racks that match those being installed along Coast Highway 101 be added.
Council members also like the plans, but Tom Campbell suggested adding seating instead of curb planters. He also said he’d like to see consistency in the artwork in the decorative crosswalks.
“It would be better if it … all looked the same, I would think,” he said. “But what do I know?”
Peter Zahn said he would like the entire project design to be integrated with other areas of the city, especially the ongoing improvements along Highway 101, but some of his colleagues disagreed.
“Cedros is unique,” Campbell said. “101’s going to be unique. North Cedros is eventually going to take on its own. Coming together is enough integration for me. I don’t want South Cedros to be a cookie cutter of 101 or vice versa.”
“I don’t mind the fact that South Cedros is its own personality,” Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said. “They’ve got their act together so let them thrive.”
There are no cost estimates for the project yet, but a little more than $100,000 is currently available. The city budgeted $48,500 and the design district has agreed to match that amount. There is also a $3,500 contribution from Culture Brewing.
Council also authorized staff to convert the painted medians to raised curbs at the intersection of South Cedros and Via de la Valle.
Those traffic calming measures were installed almost three years ago on a trial basis.
“I have not really heard anything negative about that,” Sammak said. “In my opinion that particular traffic calming project is working … to slow down the traffic and provide a little bit of a buffer between pedestrians and cars.”
“I must have just heard from complainers because I heard a lot of complaints that it wasn’t working,” Heebner said. “It wasn’t slowing it down.”
Ott said city staff is seeking input from area residents.
“Just because we haven’t heard doesn’t mean there’s not issues there,” he said. “So we are reaching out.”
There is also no cost estimate for that project but Ott said “it won’t be terribly expensive.”