Carlsbad releases updated plans for Tamarack project

Carlsbad releases updated plans for Tamarack project
City staff is proposing a three-lane road over the lagoon inlet bridge to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety The project also improves awkward bus stop placements, adds new parking and generally improves access to the beach, officials said. Courtesy image

CARLSBAD — Road improvement concepts at Tamarack Avenue and Carlsbad Boulevard have been released and the city is in the midst of taking feedback from residents.

According to the Carlsbad website, the project will widen sidewalks, improve safety, add free on-street parking and proposes a three-lane road over the lagoon inlet. The study, though, reveals it is not feasible to add a roundabout to the intersection, an aspect of the study once considered to enhance traffic flow.

A series of public meetings started Dec. 7 and continues Dec. 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon near the restrooms on the west side of the intersection.

If the city gets the green light, construction could begin as early as fall 2018 and would take eight months.

The project recommends reducing Carlsbad Boulevard from four lanes to three — one southbound and two northbound — from Tamarack Avenue to 100 feet south of the lagoon bridge.

Off the table are the aforementioned roundabout and a four-lane configuration. Technical analysis showed that the roundabout wouldn’t work in this location due to the sloping topography along Tamarack Avenue and into the Tamarack Beach parking lot. The four-lane road configuration would not enhance the experience for all users as much as the three-lane configuration and would be more expensive.

By reducing the number of lanes, the city would widen the sidewalks and improve bike lanes throughout the area, plus add new parking spaces on Tamarack Avenue and Carlsbad Boulevard.

Additionally, the asphalt island on the west side of Carlsbad Boulevard and south of Tamarack Avenue would be eliminated, while bus stops would be relocated to more accessible locations.

Other features include a new crosswalk across Carlsbad Boulevard south of Sequoia Avenue to the lagoon trailhead, and signs directing people to the Coastal Rail Trail along the railroad tracks between Tamarack and Oak Avenue.

After sharing the latest design concept with the public, city staff will complete the necessary environmental documentation, complete the preparation of construction documents and then request authorization to advertise for construction bids.

The city has budgeted $2.9 million for these improvements, which includes a Transnet Active Transportation grant from SANDAG possibly covering about $1 million.

This project, along with several others, is based on the Carlsbad Community Vision, a set of nine core values developed through a two-year public outreach process. The vision emphasizes maintaining Carlsbad’s small-town beach community character, sustainability, walking, biking and public transportation, open space and the environment and active and healthy lifestyles among other attributes.

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