I read with interest the June 30 story on the “walk audit” of El Camino Real between Encinitas and Leucadia boulevards. I applaud the Encinitas City Council for taking the first steps toward making a busy stretch of road more pedestrian friendly.
But I wonder: Was a study done on how many people actually access that stretch on foot? It would be wonderful if a walker-friendly design made it safer and more pleasant for those on foot — and maybe it will encourage people to get out of their cars — but from my observations there is very little foot traffic that will benefit from the proposed upgrades.
Contrast this with the steady stream of bicyclists and walkers who negotiate Vulcan Avenue between La Costa and Leucadia boulevards. According to city-data.com figures, approximately 2,300 people live within 2 blocks of this strip, about half of them families with children. They share a narrow, shoulder-less road with a steady stream of cars and trucks that must swerve into oncoming traffic to pass. In my experience, most motorists are courteous and do their best to give pedestrians some space, but during busy morning and afternoon hours it is an unsafe and unpleasant situation for all.
This stretch of Vulcan Avenue is flanked by single- and multi-family residences on the east side and train tracks to the west, with cars densely parked between the tracks and the roadway. Six-inch-deep pits have eroded where the pavement meets the dirt parking strip due to seasonal standing-water problems. And when the street is flooded — for weeks on end last winter — pedestrian difficulties become impossibilities. Anyone attempting to traverse Vulcan Avenue at those times might as well don a wetsuit or head-to-toe rain gear.
The City of Encinitas might learn a great deal by doing a “walk audit” of Vulcan Avenue. Considering the money being spent on road improvements in other parts of the city, it’s not too much to ask.