ENCINITAS — A traffic island at K Street and Coast Highway 101 is being transformed into a large landscaped area, complete with plants, trees, a concrete path and a bench.
Construction of the landscape area began on Monday, and the project is expected to be finished in several months.
The beautifying effort is also intended to improve the safety of the intersection.
The traffic island had a bus stop in it. Lane striping serves as the only buffer for those waiting for the bus, making the area potentially dangerous, said Stephanie Kellar, associate civil engineer with the city.
“It’s kind of a no man’s land,” she said.
The project will also make it easier to cross K Street while walking on Coast Highway 101. Because the sidewalk on the south side of K Street will line up with the landscaping’s concrete path, there’s less distance to cover.
“Right now, residents have to jog across the street in a weird pattern,” Kellar said, adding the intersection is “misaligned.”
The bus stop will move roughly 190 feet south, in front of the Self Realization Fellowship. Until then, residents can catch the bus at a temporary stop a bit farther south near the Santa Fe undercrossing.
Four parking spaces will be eliminated to make room for the landscaped area. Further, putting in the new bus stop calls for the removal of six more spaces to meet transit requirements.
Although considered by the city, the landscaped area won’t include a streetlamp; it was determined the area is already well-lit.
The city was given a $96,200 community development grant from the federal government for the $296,000 project. The remaining $199,800 will come from the TransNet program, a county infrastructure fund that is supported by sales tax.
K Street and Coast Highway 101 won’t be closed during construction, though workers will periodically direct traffic.
As for the project timeline, over the next month, a crew will put in cobble, a curb and gutter, a sidewalk and relocate the bus stop. In late September, the landscaping process will start, which is expected to take two months.
The city has yet to identify what kind of trees and plants will go in at the landscape area.
At its longest point, the area will measure 180 feet, and 60 feet at its widest.
The project’s concept was approved as part of the “streetscape” revamp for Coast Highway 101 nearly eight years ago.