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.