Carlsbad Boulevard Realignment Program forges ahead

Carlsbad Boulevard Realignment Program forges ahead
Assistant City Manager Gary Barberio says the intersection between Tamarack Avenue and Carlsbad Boulevard is dangerous for pedestrians. The crosswalk will receive a $6 million update to be completed by June 2017. Photo by Ellen Wright

CARLSBAD — With over 6.6 miles of ocean views, Carlsbad Boulevard is popular with commuters, pedestrians, cyclists and tourists.

Assistant City Manager Gary Barberio said the expansive views along the road are “certainly one of the reasons people live here and why people visit here.”

The city is in the midst of the Carlsbad Boulevard Realignment Program, which includes $8 million in upcoming improvements, Barberio told the City Council at a meeting Tuesday.

According to Barberio, Carlsbad Boulevard was originally intended for traffic between Los Angeles and San Diego.

“Those were the destinations at that time, probably over 100 years ago. Carlsbad was a very small place. We’ve grown up. Carlsbad is now a destination,” Barberio said.

The program is part of the city’s larger goals to increase connectivity and make Carlsbad more livable.

“We’re really ready to talk about the way we move the city into the future,” Councilmember Lorraine Wood said.

Work is currently underway on the railroad bridge south of the State Street roundabout.

The project will replace the bridge rail, and improve sidewalks and bike lanes.

In order to accommodate the improvements, the car lanes will be narrowed.

The project cost nearly $1.3 million and staff expects it to be finished by June.

Another portion of Carlsbad Boulevard that will undergo improvements is the Tamarack intersection.

Barberio said changes are needed because the crosswalk at the entrance to the beach parking lot is dangerous for pedestrians.

“It’s really difficult to get through that intersection safely, as a person on a bike or a pedestrian or jogger,” Barberio said.

There is a “porkchop” which is a small island in the middle of the crosswalk. It has a bus stop, which is not accessible to people with disabilities and increases the activity at the intersection.

Between March and November, city staff will reach out to the public, design the improvements and get the proper permitting.

Barberio said no construction will be done during the summer so it likely won’t start until next September.

About $450,000 is set-aside from the Capital Improvements Project funds and the city will apply for a $270,000 grant from the San Diego Association of Governments.

The portion of Carlsbad Boulevard between Cannon Road and Manzano Drive will also undergo improvements.

Barberio joked that Shel Silverstien, who wrote “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” must have visited this particular area because there is no sidewalk.
The stretch sees its fair share of pedestrian traffic for beach access.
About $6 million has been set aside from the 2014-15 capital improvement funds for the project. It will take about 10 months of construction and Barberio said they plan to have it done by June 2017.

The final upcoming project is doing public outreach and the concept design for the three miles from Manzano Drive to the southern city limit.

Barberio said there are lots of possibilities for the stretch, including adding a roundabout or signals and reducing lanes.

Nothing has been decided yet and public outreach will happen between March and next February.

Barberio highlighted the recently completed projects that were part of the Carlsbad Boulevard Realignment Program including the State Street roundabout, which he said increased safety, the pedestrian scrambles in the Village, additional pedestrian crosswalks, and lane striping along the Boulevard which gave cyclists more space.

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