OCEANSIDE — After a brief overview of three proposed road plans for Coast Highway 101, stakeholders took to the City Council Chamber podium to share their views on changes. The intention of the scoping meeting on June 23 was to gather community input before an environmental impact report (EIR) on the three roadway alternatives begins this summer.
Options for roadwork include leaving Coast Highway as four lanes, reducing it to two lanes in some sections, or reducing it to two lanes along most of the highway. Bike lanes and roundabouts are included in the two options with reduced traffic lanes.
City staff recommends highway reduction to two lanes along most of the road, with added bike lanes and roundabouts. Traffic lights and four traffic lanes would remain at the busiest intersections.
The 3.2 miles of Oceanside highway has business and residential zoning on both sides.
Business owners, residents and bicyclists shared concerns about and kudos for proposed road changes during the meeting.
Business owners who spoke were concerned with daily delivery trucks blocking traffic on a two-lane road. One business owner said deliveries to her furniture store can only be made from Coast Highway because there is no back alley. Several residents suggested sharrows instead of bike lanes to allow greater vehicle access.
Residents’ reactions were mixed. One resident said she is happy with recommended lane reductions that would reduce traffic speeds and keep vehicles moving.
Most residents opposed fewer lanes, and said it would push vehicle traffic onto adjacent residential streets and change the character of beachside neighborhoods.
“Traffic needs at least four lanes, cars are a part of life,” Nancy Gregory, an Oceanside resident, said.
Speakers also said there is little bike traffic, and suggested the Coastal Rail Trail be completed to accommodate bikes instead of adding highway bike lanes.
Avid cyclist Nathan Lovell said he appreciates the proposed addition of bike lanes and buffers on the highway. Lovell also agreed his preference would be a completed Rail Trail.
Concerns were also expressed about bikes and vehicles safely sharing roundabouts. The need for more business parking in South Oceanside and crosswalks citywide was also brought up.
City staff and consultants said they heard residents request the city analyze multimodal traffic in roundabouts, and area traffic impacts as part of the EIR study.
A draft of the EIR will be available to review in fall. City Council will vote to adopt the study in early 2017.