ENCINITAS — Alana Primes, 18, believes that a one-mile stretch on Rancho Santa Fe Road is unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. And she’s worked hard to do something about it.
So far, she’s met with community groups, spoken to city officials about proposed roadway improvements and launched an online petition that’s garnered 247 signatures.
Her goal is to widen the shoulder on Rancho Santa Fe Road, between Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Del Norte, with an official trail. That way, everyone from walkers to those on horseback will have much-needed room.
“There isn’t a safe trail for residents right now, and they’re forced into the street or bike lane,” Primes said. She added that there isn’t enough space between the cars zooming by and those on the side of the road.
Primes said that Rancho Santa Fe Road is the major thoroughfare for those in Olivenhain. But because many aren’t comfortable walking along the narrow shoulder, they opt to drive to the grocery store and other areas instead of walking.
Primes, who lives near that section of the road, said the hazardous conditions prompted her to take up the campaign her freshman year. Now a senior at San Dieguito Academy, she’s also trying to earn a Girl Scout Gold Award, an honor reserved for scouts who labor over community betterment, for the effort.
“Myself and others worry about being on that road,” Primes said. “We want more community support.”
The Encinitas Recreational Trail Master Plan, adopted in 2002, calls for building an expanded trail, along with retaining walls, on that portion of Rancho Santa Fe Road.
According to Parks and Beach Superintendent John Frenken, the project doesn’t have a timeline. That’s because funding hasn’t been identified for the project, which is estimated to cost $600,000.
Frenken said the project isn’t on a City Council agenda at this time. However, council members have the option of prioritizing the project during future planning meetings.
To make the project less expensive, Primes is in conversation with a landowner who is interested in paying for a portion of the improvements near his vacant property on Rancho Santa Fe Road.
Meanwhile, Primes said she would keep pushing for the city to make improvements. A petition she started at thepetitionsite/906/346/826/rancho-santa-fe-road-pedestrian/trail has gained comments like: “Many people run and bike this route daily, putting their lives at risk with the traffic. It is especially important for kids to walk to school safely.”