Oceanside looks to future as it considers improvements to Coast Highway

Oceanside looks to future as it considers improvements to Coast Highway
The Coast Highway Corridor Study Workshop will be held Feb. 11. Plans are to make the highway a pedestrian-friendly, bicycle-friendly, vehicle-friendly “complete street. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside will weigh how Coast Highway can best serve future development as it discusses highway revitalization plans Feb. 11.

Roadway improvements will reflect the city’s Coast Highway Vision and Strategic Plan.

This plan looks to replace current street-facing business fronts with community nodes, or mixed-use business hubs, along the highway.

To complete this vision the highway will be redesigned to be a pedestrian-friendly, bicycle-friendly, vehicle-friendly “complete street” that will allow room and safety for multiple modes of transportation.

Highway revitalization will aim to improve traffic flow with strategically placed roundabouts and single traffic lanes.

Improvements will also strive to increase business parking, enhance access to public transit, and encourage economic development through greater mobility and improved public streetscape.

John Amberson, city transportation planner, said roadway improvements would follow complete street guidelines that balance the needs of multiple modes of transportation using the roadway.

It is a new way of looking at Coast Highway that Oceanside has already begun to visualize.

“It’s in direct relationship to land use and the 2010 adopted Coast Highway Vision Plan to develop four nodes of development that are mixed-use in nature,” Amberson said.

The February workshop will be the first in an 18-month-long series of workshops that will look at how Coast Highway improvements can best serve future city development.

During the 18 months the workshop series is being held studies on present and projected future traffic flow will be conducted.

Study findings will be shared at workshops to help shape the revitalization plan.

Past traffic studies only considered vehicle traffic.

Traffic circulation studies done in 2006 showed Coast Highway at a “D” and “E” vehicle traffic rating.

A “D” rating is an acceptable level of vehicle traffic on the highway, at 2,000 cars a day.

An “E” rating, which Coast Highway received for traffic from Wisconsin Avenue to Oceanside Boulevard, showed that traffic exceeded what the highway could accommodate, at 2,300 cars a day.

Amberson said it is important to note that traffic fluctuates and currently Coast Highway has acceptable levels of traffic on the entire highway, at 1,900 cars a day.

It is also essential to note that pedestrian and bicycle traffic was not counted on the highway that is flanked by residential neighborhoods.

The complete streets study will consider all modes of traffic.

This is still an emerging methodology to look at transportation.

Amberson said cities are learning as they go and Oceanside will look at the successes and challenges neighboring North County coastal cities have had in improving sections of Coast Highway.

He added that community input is essential during the planning process.

Funding for Coast Highway improvements remains to be determined. Amberson said it is too early in the process to name funding sources.

Because Coast Highway is a smart growth corridor, state and federal funding will be sought to help fund the revitalization project.

The Coast Highway Corridor Study Workshop will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at South Oceanside Elementary School, 1806 S. Horne Street.

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