CARLSBAD — Foresight is an important quality for elected officials.
It’s no different for the Carlsbad city council, which laid out its 2016 objectives last week during its annual workshop prioritizing short- and long-term goals and projects.
With dozens of options, the council whittled down them down to six as the coastline, transportation, the Village and Barrio neighborhoods and trenching train tracks, facilities and education as their focus for the upcoming year.
Mayor Matt Hall said the train tracks is the long-term project, opposed to a goal, as it is estimated to cost more than $100 million with a timeline of several years between approval and completion.
Hall said the council began the workshop in 1994 with an objective of tackling the most important issues facing the city for the upcoming year.
“It’s something, that for the council, it’s one of the more exciting times of the year,” he added. “We all get to sit in a room and listen to what each other’s visions and dreams are, how much those dreams align.”
The coastline, meanwhile, is an ongoing goal for the council as they aim to improve a variety of factors along the city’s shoreline. In years past, Hall said, the city primarily focused on chunks of the shoreline, but this year the council is taking aim at the entire coast.
As several projects were completed last year to alleviate traffic and better conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, the council aims to continue improvements.
“In our discussions, we’ve taken it to the entire coastline,” Hall said. “And having a closer working relationship with the state of California to enhance the coastline.”
Some of those prior projects include the parking lot at Oak Street and improvements of trails and bathrooms between Tamarack Avenue and Oak Street.
“When we get south of Tamarack, it’s going to take considerable monies,” Hall said. “Most likely, you are going to see something on the ballot in November that would allow us to spend in excess of $1 million to start those enhancements. That hasn’t been voted on, it’s just my speculation.”
As for transportation, Hall said it is the focus of the council to improve the infrastructure as well as continued emphasis on safety. In addition, the growing train traffic is a concern for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians moving throughout the Village (Hall owns property in the Village) and Barrio.
Nevertheless, he said creating greater connectivity will allow better relationships between business and residents.
In addition, community feedback about transportation, which ties in with trenching to a degree, is a must to create a more efficient system.
“We can connect the lights and get people through the community,” Hall said. “When you think about the Village and Barrio and trenching, trenching is more of a project. It has both transportation and the Village and Barrio. It also has safety (components).”
Trenching would open up access on Chestnut Street, improve safety and allow for better emergency response.
“The trenching project we would have that connection and maybe one more at Oak Street,” Hall added.
As for facilities, the city already has done work to consolidate buildings, but Hall said the council and staff will continue those efforts. In addition, he said a new City Hall is being referenced as the current building was erected in the 1950s.
“The real focus is we want to study what that would look like in the next five to 10 years,” he added. “When is the right time to build a new City Hall? That needs to be part of an ongoing conversation.”
Continuing the city’s economic growth, Hall said building and strengthening educational goals is in line with the council’s goals.
Companies such as ViaSat, Thermo Fisher and Genoptix are part of the city’s mission to bring educational opportunities to the city along with retaining the workforce. In addition, Hall said communication and developing and building on relationships with MiraCosta College and the California State University San Marcos is critical for job growth and creation.
“It’s looking at how we can create better working relationships from K (kindergarten) through college,” Hall said. “When you are raised in Carlsbad, you through the education system, you should be able to have job opportunities so you can live here or very close. It doesn’t make sense that you should have to move away to move back.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.