Number of Encinitas streets could get ‘sharrows’

Number of Encinitas streets could get ‘sharrows’
The Encinitas Traffic and Public Safety Commission is requesting a list of streets that could see new striping to accommodate bicycle safety. Both sides of Coast Highway 101 are being considered. Photo by Tony Cagala

ENCINITAS — Dozens of streets in Encinitas could be re-striped to accommodate bicycle traffic, according to a plan discussed at the Traffic and Public Safety Commission meeting this week.

The commission voted unanimously for the city’s public works staff to return with a list of roads they intend to stripe for bicycle traffic, and the type of striping that will occur on the streets.

In some cases where the road is wide enough to accommodate it, the striping will create a dedicated bicycle lane. The width of the bike lane in most places will be six feet. On streets not wide enough for a dedicated lane, crews will paint symbols on the roadway to indicate where motorists share the road with bicyclists, known as “sharrows.”

The impetus of the re-striping project was the City Council’s recent approval of a large pavement overlay project, which gives the city the chance to re-stripe certain stretches of road that currently don’t have bike paths.

As part of the project, the contractor was awarded $75,000 to add bike lane striping to streets not include in the overlay project but are included in the city’s bikeway master plan.

Among the streets being considered for bike lanes or sharrows are stretches of Manchester Avenue, South Coast Highway 101, North Coast Highway 101, Vulcan Avenue, San Elijo Avenue, Leucadia Boulevard, Encinitas Boulevard, Quail Gardens Drive and El Camino Real.

The Traffic and Public Safety Commission on Aug. 8 expressed support for striping as many streets as possible, but also said they did not want the bike lanes to eliminate any street parking.

As part of the creation of bicycle lanes, travel lane widths on some streets will be narrowed to 11 feet, but city staff will address that on a street-by-street basis.

Several speakers addressed the commission on this topic, saying that the narrowing of lane widths goes hand-in-hand with the creation of bike lanes.

“With the application of inexpensive paint we can narrow those travel lanes to create an environment that will embraced by multi-modal travel,” said Elena Thompson, a real estate agent in Leucadia who is involved with several local advocacy groups, including Bike-Walk Encinitas.

Leslie Goldberg, who spoke to the commission in March during their discussion of the creation of a “complete streets” policy about the possibility of a lane diet, reiterated some of her remarks at the Aug. 8 meeting.

“I think in Encinitas we can have it all,” Goldberg said. “We can have bike lanes, accommodate traffic and accommodate parking as well.

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