CARLSBAD — In October, the city will have a plan to improve the Terramar neighborhood.
City staff presented an update to the City Council on July 17 of several options regarding the Terramar Area Coastal Improvement Project featuring the bluff top across from the Encina Power plant and traffic options for several intersections including Cannon Road and Carlsbad Boulevard.
The city has narrowed down the bluff top concepts to one, which features a natural design, removal of invasive plant species, new native vegetation, timber stair access and upgraded ADA entries.
As for the intersections, Carlsbad Associate Engineer Jonathan Schauble reported the city has developed two options — a traffic signal and roundabouts — at the Cannon Road and Carlsbad Boulevard intersection and at Cerezo Drive and Carlsbad Boulevard.
The roundabout option, Schauble said, will be faster for motorists, quieter, cheaper and safer than the traffic signal solution. The preliminary cost estimates project the signal option would run about $8 million and the roundabout alternative $7.7 million.
The city has conducted four traffic studies with a fifth being finalized.
“Carlsbad Boulevard between Shore Drive (there are two entry points several hundred yards apart) is the most constrained,” Schauble said. “The travel surveys include the 2035 SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) projections.
However, three residents who live on Carlsbad Boulevard in Terramar all spoke against the roundabout option. They said the biggest challenge would be backing out of their driveways and fighting constant traffic to merge onto the roadway.
One resident said it is a necessity to keep the traffic signal at Cerezo Drive to ensure safety. They also questioned the city’s plan to introduce reverse angle parking near the southern bluff, if noise would actually be quieter and lobbed accusations the city was already all in for roundabouts.
With the roundabout option, the center lane would be removed, which worried the residents. They said it is needed to access their neighborhoods and provides safety for motorists in various ways.
Staff, though, has begun analyzing a hybrid option where roundabouts could be installed at Cannon Road, but a traffic signal remains at Cerezo Drive.
“I’m not sure the process is being done properly,” resident Susan Hollander said. “The environmental impact is a major concern.”
Along the northern bluff across from the power plant plans also include benches, wider sidewalks, crosswalks with flashing beacons, buffered bike lanes and more trash and recycling bins. As for the timber staircases, Assistant City Manager Gary Barberio said it is part of the community’s response to keep the area natural and provide a safer manner of reaching the beach.
Additionally, he said the two locations will reduce the amount of access points to protect the bluff from erosion and additional foot traffic.
The plan also calls for eliminating one southbound lane on Carlsbad Boulevard before Cannon Road, but with expanded sidewalks and buffered bike lanes. South of Cannon Road, however, is a bit trickier he said, as the road is narrow and lends itself to limited options.
Sidewalks and bike lanes will be added on city-owned property along with organized, reverse-angled parking between Cerezo and Manzao drives. Currently, Barberio said it is parallel only and “haphazard.”
Also, along Cannon Road improved sidewalks and additional parking along with landscaping is proposed in both the signal and roundabout options. With the parking, though, the traffic-signal-only option would provide more than 30 spaces compared to the roundabout. The traffic signal option would have about 112 spaces, while the roundabout alternative would add 80.
Barberio said several goals are to reduce the number of vehicles parking in the neighborhoods, reduce cut-through traffic and calm traffic speeds.
“We want to create a balanced road that is safe,” Barberio said. “We want to do it with vehicle speeds that are compatible with the area.”
For more about the plan, visit www.carlsbadca.gov.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.