City to lower speed limit on North Coast Highway 101

City to lower speed limit on North Coast Highway 101
Before the City Council takes up the item, the Traffic and Public Safety Commission will vote on whether to certify the speed study being used to justify the change. Courtesy photo

ENCINITAS — The city of Encinitas is poised to lower the speed limit on North Coast Highway 101 from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour, following through on a pledge officials made in the wake of last month’s near-fatal bicycle collision involving a prominent resident. 

On the City Council’s consent calendar Jan. 16 is an item that would introduce the ordinance proposing the speed limit reduction between La Costa Avenue and Leucadia Boulevard.

The item would take effect one month after approval of the second reading. 

Before the City Council takes up the item, the Traffic and Public Safety Commission will vote on whether to certify the speed study being used to justify the change. 

The city performed the speed study on Jan. 9, and it showed that the average northbound speed on North Coast Highway 101 was about 36 miles per hour, and 33 miles per hour on the southbound lane, in line with the current 35 miles per hour speed limit. 

But the city is using a state law that allows cities to consider other factors — such as safety, vehicle volumes and non-vehicular traffic — to reduce the speed limit five additional miles per hour.

The city argues that the high volume of traffic along the street and the close proximity of vehicles and bicycles — the volume of which the city characterizes as a “very high volume” — justifies the 30 mph speed limit. 

At the most recent City Council meeting, Councilman Tony Kranz pointed out that the change would align Encinitas up with other coastal cities along Coast Highway 101, which are lowering speeds along the iconic drag.

The City Council’s impending action comes a week after the council voted 4-0 to install raised crosswalks at four intersections along the stretch of highway — El Portal Basil, Phoebe and Grandview street intersections — and rumble strips at the locations, including the beginning of the Leucadia business district south of La Costa Avenue.

The interim measures are aimed at further slowing speeds until the city can complete an estimated $30 million overhaul of the street. 

The council’s actions come one month after Cardiff 101 Main Street Association Executive Director Roberta Walker was critically injured when a truck struck her while she was riding her bicycle along North Coast Highway 101 near the Phoebe Street intersection. 

A blog dedicated to updating the public on Walker’s recovery recently discontinued the updates, as family members and friends “focus all our efforts on Roberta’s healing,” according to the website. 

“Thanks for understanding that we have to shift our focus and discontinue the updates,” the most recent post read.

5 Comments
  1. KIE 3 months ago

    So 101 would be 30 mph and have rumble strips and speed tables, but Vulcan would remain 35 mph and not have strips and tables?

  2. Jeremy 3 months ago

    Waiting for the appropriate body count on frontage roads and downtown to do something super minimal until a massive project can be implemented. The minimal reaction to the bodies must not be perceived as detrimental to implementation of massive project. Appropriate people will be produced to speak at council in support of minimal efforts due to bodies dying and suffering permanent damage.

  3. Tom Applegate 3 months ago

    Wouldn’t it be more prudent to wait for the Sheriff’s report on Roberta Walker’s accident before making such a knee-jerk reaction? And how about releasing the traffic incidents report for Hwy 101 for the last three years. These changes are going to divert more traffic to Vulcan and further inconvenient the very people the Council is supposed to represent. People Beware – a ‘road diet’ is coming to a road you travel too . . .

  4. Tom Applegate 3 months ago

    Wouldn’t it be more prudent to wait for the Sheriff’s report on Roberta Walker’s accident before making such a knee-jerk reaction? And how about releasing the traffic incidents report for Hwy 101 for the last three years. These changes are going to divert more traffic to Vulcan and further inconvenience the very people the Council is supposed to represent. People Beware – a ‘road diet’ is coming to a road you travel too . . .

  5. Lynn Marr 3 months ago

    According to the EIR, the goal of putting in the five roundabouts is to slow traffic down to 30 MPH, instead of 40 MPH on North Highway 101, from Old Encinitas through Leucadia. The EIR was INCORRECT in claiming, falsely, that the existing speed limit is 40 MPH. One of many inconsistencies, in my opinion.

    Moreover, once again, the City is going above and beyond what the State requires, by claiming, without evidence, that there is a very high volume of bicyclists. Other than when there are rallies, and, particularly, on weekends, I have NOT seen a high volume of bicyclists. Some kind of weekly and monthly bicycle counts should be required to justify lowering the speed limit, again, below that determined through traffic speed surveys just taken in January.

    As those who are following this public works/vanity project boondoggle know, the EIR stated that there would be SIGNIFICANT UNAVOIDABLE NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS to our Circulation Element if one lane southbound and one lane northbound were to be eliminated for motorists, and four or five narrow one-lane roundabouts were to be installed, through which all bicyclists would have to funnel. Council got around that finding by simply proclaiming and passing a “Resolution of Overriding Considerations,” again using bicyclists, who will be in MORE danger, through the roundabouts, as tools.

    With respect to again lowering the speed limit, I would accept that, as a compromise, if it meant we didn’t have to eliminate another lane southbound, for motorists, and if we didn’t have to have four or five unwanted, unneeded roundabouts installed, as traffic choking road obstructions, diverting more motorists to residential side streets, and a school zone.

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