SOLANA BEACH — A well-traveled connector route between Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Via de la Valle will receive major improvements after council members at the May 25 meeting approved proposed plans and authorized the city engineer to advertise for construction bids.
Stevens Avenue and Valley Avenue south of Stevens carry more than 13,000 vehicles a day. The corridor is also a North County Transit District bus route.
Several schools, La Colonia Park and Community Center, homes, businesses and retail centers are served by the approximately 1-mile stretch of roadway. Considered adequate for cars in general it is not seen as optimal for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The city unsuccessfully applied for various grants in the past, but late last year received $500,000 in funding from the San Diego Association of Governments to help pay for the $750,000 project.
The main goal is to use the public right of way to better serve pedestrians and bicyclists. Design elements include the addition of missing sections of sidewalks on both sides of the street, a 6-foot-wide bike lane with pavement markings and 87 parking stalls.
The city is collaborating with the school district as it works to replace Earl Warren Middle School on improvements south of San Rodolfo Drive. The sidewalk will be reconstructed and widened to eliminate the dirt parkway and accommodate high use.
The district also agreed to relocate an existing guardrail along Lomas Santa Fe west of the Stevens intersection.
Key intersections on Stevens and Valley will be enhanced with more clearly marked crosswalks and audible count-down signals. A bench and bus shelter will be added near La Colonia Park if funding is available.
Traffic lanes will be reduced except near Lomas Santa Fe, right- and left-turn lanes will be added at key intersections and the pavement will be resurfaced or slurry sealed.
The city received about a dozen emails supporting the project.
“This corridor is ripe for improvements and is a key walking path between schools, the Boys & Girls Club, businesses, and La Colonia Park,” wrote Kristine Schindler. “There are so many reasons to improve this roadway and adjacent pedestrian infrastructure, including safety of all users (especially children, our Latino community, and older adults) and promotion of active transportation.
“This is a project to help create ‘Safe Routes to Everywhere,’” she added.
“I think it is very important that we improve this entire corridor to make it safe for pedestrians and bicyclists,” stated Kristin Brinner. “My daughter will be attending school in several years and I wouldn’t be comfortable letting her walk or bike to school given the current situation on Stevens.
“Cars go much too fast, the bike lanes and sidewalks appear and disappear, and generally this road is not in good condition,” she added.
The city will use TransNet funds to make up for the $250,000 estimated gap. Construction will not begin until late this year, possibly in December, the city engineer said.