Community Commentary

The plan now being discussed for the Leucadia 101 corridor is exciting news for downtown Leucadia. The Leucadia 101 Streetscape plan involves thoughtful and relevant planning for our community. The Streetscape plan is just that: a plan for enhancing the 101 corridor between La Costa Avenue and Encinitas Boulevard.
This is no modern brainchild of some out-of-town developer wanting to bring in big box businesses to Leucadia. This is a plan the city of Encinitas planners have been hard at work on for years. The 1997 community vision and specific plan for Encinitas and Leucadia is the basis for today’s “101 Streetscape” design and goals. The local community has participated in three public workshops, sponsored by the city of Encinitas.
The Leucadia Streetscape plan calls for some fantastic Highway 101 corridor improvements and enhancements starting with the planting of 1,000 trees to provide additional greenery and to replace the existing tree canopy now sadly reaching its end of life. It proposes bike lanes to accommodate the thousands of bike riders, myself included, who enjoy our 101 corridor on weekend rides and daily commutes. The plan includes the installation and widening of new and existing sidewalks to engender a pedestrian-friendly community that also encourages more outdoor cafes and local retail business for our merchants. It involves slowing down the traffic (originally designed for 70 mph before the I-5 was built) and “traffic calming measures” including the possible elimination of one northbound lane. It aims to beautify and preserve our downtown community in a way that while respecting our current “culture,” better supports businesses so they can prosper and thrive in today’s competitive world while better serving the community and generating tax dollars for our city. It’s about enhancing the 101 corridor. Just imagine …
While some may disagree with the proposed elimination of one northbound traffic lane (to accommodate wider sidewalks and bike lanes); they can see it works in other areas along Highway 101 (in Cardiff near Swami’s, through Carlsbad between Palomar and Cannon, and in Del Mar). Of course, there will be vibrant (and hopefully friendly and reasonable) discussion over these points. And that’s what is needed. Others may be less enthusiastic concerning the creation of “roundabouts” proposed along the 101 corridor. Afraid of change and perhaps inexperienced with roundabouts, this too is a normal reaction. In the end, as drivers affirm, roundabouts make perfect sense for many reasons: 1) they keep the cars moving, 2) they cut back on emissions (stopping and starting), 3) they keep the noise down (no accelerating from a stop), and 4) they allow for larger traffic volume compared to stop lights. The concern about the loss of our tree canopy is a valid concern. Most of these trees are at the end of their life and non-native as well, and will be replaced with 1,000 new trees. If this plan helps enhance our community and the greening of it, and makes it more pedestrian and biker friendly, this alone merits community involvement and support. Just imagine …
This is a historic opportunity for us to improve Leucadia. It could be decades before we revisit this topic again. The good of the community and the future is at stake here. Now is the time to move forward in support of the Leucadia 101 Streetscape final planning process and have some productive discussion about it in the name of the greater good and the future for your children and certainly while the city of Encinitas has committed the funds. Let’s all proactively become involved and support Leucadia 101 Streetscape so Leucadia can thrive and prosper through positive change that in the end will add more beauty, culture, life, business prosperity and overall enjoyment for all. The city of Encinitas is committed to this project and the tax payers deserve some return for their many years of property taxes. And bikers, walkers, surfers, gardeners, artists, community members, property owners, renters and visitors to Leucadia, please join in on this wonderful opportunity to support and be part of this historical moment. Just imagine …
Please visit for the date of the upcoming planning meeting.

John Thompson has been a Leucadia resident for 22 years.


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