OCEANSIDE — A group of 60 community members and interested parties took part in a guided walk along Coast Highway in order to give their input on plans for Coast Highway improvements.
The end goal was to come up with several road improvement alternatives to present to City Council for approval by the end of 2014.
The walk, led by project manager John Amberson on Feb. 22, went along Coast Highway from the Oceanside Transit Center, to Wisconsin Avenue where a roundabout may be placed, and down to Cleveland Street.
Along the way participants were asked to reply to questions about sidewalk conditions, street crossings, bicycle traffic, parking, landscape and buildings within those blocks.
Input addressed safety, comfort and appeal on a one to five scale.
The walk through the area, labeled “the transit center node”, allowed participants to weigh the relationship and scale of potential improvements to the present conditions they saw.
“They were asked to imagine the best Oceanside transit center (node), decide what it needed, and envision what might exist in the future,” Amberson said.
Participants also learned about the Coast Highway Vision and Strategic Plan that guides road improvements.
The plan divides the Coast Highway into business-use nodes, such as the transit center node the group was touring.
Amberson said valuable community insight was shared.
During the walking tour, one participant pointed out that the recommended bus route would sandwich residents on Cleveland Street between rail and bus traffic.
Amberson said the impact to Cleveland Street residents was clear on the walk and that all community comments would be taken into consideration during planning.
This is the second opportunity for community input on Coast Highway improvements.
A community workshop was previously held Feb. 11 in south Oceanside. During the workshop, participants cast electronic votes regarding a list of road improvement questions.
Most participants were supportive of a change to the Coast Highway.
When asked “should the Coast Highway remain unchanged” 61 percent of participants voted no, therefore most responders favored improvements.
The next step will be to form a steering committee to determine optional road improvement plans.
Emails were recently sent out to 21 residents, business owners, police and fire personnel, and development department staff inviting them to be part of the committee.
Amberson said once responses are received gaps will be filled where there is a lack of representation.
The steering committee will meet in March, as well as three to four additional times during the planning process, to review a corridor study and information collected from community outreach efforts.
The steering committee will come up with road improvement options to present to City Council for final selection.
Information the steering committee reviews will also be posted on the city website under Coast Highway Corridor Study.
The website will have summaries, tallies of data collected, and a record of community comments.
Amberson said steering committee meetings will be closed, and it has not been determined whether meeting notes will be included on the Coast Highway Corridor Study web page.
The next opportunity for public input will be at an open house in April or May. The meeting will share what patterns have emerged based on collected input and steering committee decisions.
Funding for the road improvement project is being sought while plans are being developed.