Encinitas is out of balance

KPBS radio recited an Afghanistan proverb: “A tilted load will not reach its destination.” 

Considering the imbalanced load Encinitas is attempting to force on unwilling adjacent residents and local commuters, an Historic State Highway 101 “streetscape” from A Street to La Costa Avenue, with five roundabouts, more old growth tree removal, and lane elimination, citizens can see, for ourselves, how badly out of balance the plan is; so much so that we could never arrive at a successfully completed project.

Council’s attempting to make Encinitas a “Nanny City,” whereby council members “know what’s best” for so-called “obstructionist” citizens, overlooking that those objecting comprise a majority of voters! When ballot measures were discussed at the “all things election,” Oct. 2 City Council meeting, Councilmember Mark Muir’s suggestion seemed disregarded.

Mayor Teresa Barth asked Muir if he thought they should bring back the N101 Streetscape as a future agenda item with discussion of a ballot measure for the General Election? Muir stated, “Yes.” When the ballot measure discussion comes back, as promised, as a separate agenda item, the Highway 101 roundabouts, lane elimination and tree removal, should be included. Council has pledged to honor every council member’s request for future agenda items, and consistently has, since before our “new council” was seated.

The reasons this project is out of balance are numerous. There’s never been a valid cost-needs/effectiveness-analysis/assessment. Just as methodology was flawed for the General Plan Update through MIG, whereby data quantified and qualified is not statistically significant, so is Peltz and Associates methodology flawed, with disinformation being disseminated, distorting facts.

Councilmember Kristin Gaspar lives closer to, or in Encinitas Ranch, as does Deputy Mayor Shaffer. Gaspar voted, with previous council, to reboot the GPU, because it wasn’t popularly supported and because of flawed methodology. Yet, had Gaspar lived adjacent to N101, she would have to recuse herself, as Dan Dalager did for the Jan. 13, 2010 roundabout vote, before Gaspar was elected.

Citizens have been promised we will vote on the GPU. Similarly, we should be encouraged to vote on the N101 Streetscape before more money is wasted. Over $1 Million was wasted on MIG’s derivative update, composed of templates for updates the contractor had facilitated for dissimilar cities. We’ve paid Peltz and Associates at least $557,000+ for propaganda, and marketing parlance, not valid surveys. If the City insists they’re valid, insists the community supports five roundabouts and lane/tree elimination, then why not put the matter on the ballot for only $23,000 to approve a $20 million+ project?

The proposed project is out of balance in that it would bottleneck lanes for motorists, from two northbound/southbound, to one lane, each direction, through four one-lane roundabouts, slowing traffic from an already reduced 35 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour. Roundabouts aren’t recommended by the U.S. Department of Transportation where cross-street traffic is significantly less than the main thoroughfare, such as at three-way intersections, with no cross-streets. Nor are roundabouts recommended where they could affect traffic flow at railroad crossings. Emergency response times absolutely would be reduced in a zone already subpar according to City standards. More traffic cutting through schoolzone/beachside residential/recreational access/egress streets would create additional health and safety concerns.

Also imbalanced is that Phase II of the Leucadia Blvd. roundabouts, with a roundabout at Hygeia, and more sidewalks and landscaping, was never initiated. But “beautification” improvements were how Leucadia Blvd. roundabouts were “sold” to the public. Were that project to be completed, and five more roundabouts added on 101 that would be a total of eight roundabouts through Leucadia, and only one anywhere else in the city, on Santa Fe. That Cardiff roundabout is built incorrectly, with improper grading that creates visibility issues. More collisions have occurred at intersections with roundabouts after their installation, than before, in Encinitas.

Muir said he favors a general election ballot measure for the project because it’s a “high ticket item” and “there’s been a lot of controversy.” Adjacent residents and those who actually use 101 for daily commuting, want to make sure that besides support of the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association and a “compliant” city staff, council must determine whether the public needs and wants a project that would include five roundabouts, further destruction of our canopy, more cut through traffic, and slower emergency response times.

Lynn Marr is a Leucadia resident.



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