Saturday, December 16, 2006

Roundabouts Proposed for Leucadia Blvd

Encinitas considers long-awaited Leucadia Boulevard improvements

By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer

ENCINITAS ---- The first phase of a long-awaited improvement program for Leucadia Boulevard is heading to the Encinitas Planning Commission for consideration Thursday.

Ultimately, the plan calls for tan-colored sidewalks, three roundabouts and lush landscaping along both sides of the boulevard, from Vulcan Avenue east to Interstate 5.

Improvements in the first phase concentrate on the one-block stretch between Vulcan and Hermes Avenue, where the westernmost roundabout would be built.

A roundabout is a landscaped circle that separates traffic lanes and slows vehicles, usually without stopping them. It is a term used commonly in Britain.

In 2001, the city hosted workshops to gather ideas for the boulevard. Since then, some residents have demanded that the city improve the road's traffic circulation and appearance.

"It's just killing me, it's just such a mess in that area," Tony Kranz of Hygeia Avenue said Friday.

Kranz said his patience grew especially thin in 2005, when the Encinitas City Council decided to withdraw $1.9 million from the Leucadia project's budget to pay for a different road project on Santa Fe Drive.

City officials said Friday that the money has been restored to Leucadia Boulevard's $2.6 million budget.

If the planning board approves the proposal, construction could begin as soon as April, said Tom Frank, a member of the city's Traffic Commission.

Frank lives less than a block from the Hermes intersection. He has lobbied the city to proceed with plans for the roundabout.

In addition to the roundabout at Hermes, the first phase of planned Leucadia Boulevard improvements include construction of:

- curbs, gutters, sidewalks, streetlights and bike lanes on both sides of the boulevard from Vulcan to Hermes;

- a roundabout at Hymettus Avenue;

- the construction of left-turn lanes on northbound and southbound Vulcan Avenue;

- and an asphalt pathway on the north side of Leucadia Boulevard from Hermes to Interstate 5. The pathway would be replaced with concrete sidewalks during a second phase of construction.

The second phase would add a third roundabout at Hygeia, which today has a four-way stop sign. It also would bring sidewalks to both sides of the boulevard all the way to the freeway and would include landscaping on the sides and on a median for the busy road.

Leucadia Boulevard carries an average of 13,000 vehicles a day, Frank said.

Traffic increased substantially in 1999, when crews expanded the boulevard's I-5 interchange and connected the boulevard to Olivenhain Road.

Farther east, Olivenhain Road turns into Rancho Santa Fe Road, a major thoroughfare connecting San Marcos and other points east to I-5 and the coast.

East of I-5, the medians and sidewalks of Leucadia Boulevard abound with landscaping that city officials point to as a showpiece.

The architect who designed the landscaping on that stretch of the road, Marian Marum, has produced a similar landscaping plan for the boulevard west of the freeway.

Paula Kirpalani of the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association said that for her, a spruced up Leucadia Boulevard would make for a prettier drive to work.

Beyond that, "Our organization supports any improvements that make for safer access to our business district," she said.

At least one resident remained skeptical that roundabouts are the answer for Leucadia Boulevard's traffic problems.

"I don't see how they work, to tell you the truth," said Dick Lane of Hermes Avenue. "Roundabouts are a lousy idea."

City traffic engineers say roundabouts are a good way to control traffic without bringing it to a stop.

The Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at 505 S. Vulcan Ave.

Contact staff writer Adam Kaye at (760) 943-2312 or akaye@nctimes.com.

Leucadia Boulevard improvements

What: Encinitas Planning Commission to consider roundabouts, sidewalks and landscaping

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Encinitas City Hall, 505 S. Vulcan Ave.

Information: (760) 633-2600

*I'm somewhat down with the roundabouts now. Notice that this meeting does not involve the potential closing of Leucadia Blvd/train tracks/Hwy101.

I would prefer a roundabout instead of the existing stop sign at Hygeia. I still remember the first time I accidently ran that stop sign the day they put that thing in. "What the hell was that?"

Here is a question, will the big tanker trucks that refuel the 7-11 gas station be able to negotiate these new roundabouts?

Below are photos of a semi-truck that got stuck on the Santa Fe Rd roundabout





click images for larger view

40 comments:

  1. I avoid Leucadia Blvd as much as possible, anyway. This roundabout idea could make things worse. Especially while it's being built. What a nightmare!

    Good question about the big semi trucks, JP.

    Seems like there is more foot traffic on 101 than on Leucadia Blvd. Funny that permanent tan sidewalks, rather than interim sidewalks are planned to go in on Leucadia Blvd., first.

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  2. Adding sidewalks to BOTH sides of L Blvd is a great idea, long overdue. What will the impact of the roundabouts be on a Saturday morning with big swells at Beacons?? A line of cars backed up to the I-5?? Can't be much worse than it is now. Very dangerous walking conditions currently, sidewalks will make it safer for all, including children coming and going to school.

    Semi-trucks will have to use LaCosta or Enc.Blvd. no doubt about that!

    Let's all support the planning commision on this proposal for this is GOOD for Leucadia.
    RSPB

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  3. Our hero has returned, the world no longer wonders!!!
    RSPB

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  4. Some Facts and a few questions-

    The street is not a truck route so hopefully the roundabout will deter even more trucks from using Leucadia Blvd. and reduce the number of trucks getting creamed at the crossing. The gas trucks and others should use Encinitas Boulevard to Vulcan Avenue. Even though they shouldn't, truck can still negotiate the roundabouts. I see it all the time on Santa Fe.

    That stretch of roadway is very dangerous and will greatly benefit from the roadabouts and Sidewalks. Go out there today and see the high pedestrian use.

    The project begun in 2000 well before anyone even mentioned interim sidewalks on HW101 and before the Santa Fe project. Why is the Santa Fe project built and we are still waiting for our improvements?

    Sante Fe doesn't even connect to HW101. Why do we only get half of our improvements built when Sante Fe Avenue got the whole thing done?

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  5. Thank the lord. The area has hope. I welcome the improvements. I have almost got killed trying to get out on Leucadia Boulevard from Hermes Avenue several times. The roundabouts are needed to address the crappy 10% of the drivers that disregard all laws and are reckless.

    Why are people going 50 mph to get from a stop sign a Hygeia to a gridlocked intersection at Vulcan?

    Answer- Because they are on crack!

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  6. Finally, Leucadia gets some love. Unfortunately, the reporter didn’t interview the 60 plus people that signed the petition to get the project approved. I signed that petition and know the person who submitted it to Council. Shes a smart lady.

    I know that the traffic has tripled since the connection to El Camino Real and the improvements will mitigate the increased traffic speeding through the area. I just hope the improvements keep my children alive walking to Paul Ecke Central Elementary school.

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  7. The traffic calming is well overdue and should have been completed when the council completed the connection to El Camino Real. The residents of the area overwhelmingly support the project. The article should address all the pedestrians who have nearly lost their lives from speeding vehicles on Leucadia Boulevard since the connection to El Camino Real. Check the statistics and let’s report an accurate story.

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  8. Its about time, the City finally addresses the nightmare on Leucadia Boulevard. I just hope they complete the entire plan that was approved in 2002 after numerous public workshops. The whole project should have been constructed to mitigate the increased traffic caused by the connection to El Camino Real. If this is the first phase, when will the second phase be completed?

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  9. This is a huge improvement for Leucadia. It will solve numerous existing problems, and it will be beautiful to boot. Let's support this through the Planning Commision, but let's not be cheap. Look the plan over carefully, and make recommended changes where needed.

    These improvements will stand for a long time and we should make it right. The improvements to the lower part of Leucadia Blvd. are modeled after the upper improvements. Many of the same materials and plant selection will be used including many flowering trees and hardscape elements.

    The roundabouts will have plantings at the raised center sections. I'd really like to see local sculpture, perhaps a life sized or larger surfing themed family. We have local artists, T.J Dixon comes to mind, who do this kind of thing in bronze (you can see her work in Del Mar Plaza). These center areas are perfect places to make a statement about Leucadia. These are the kind of things that make a great city.

    One problem that I see on the horizon, is the underfunding of this project. I am concerned that the city has not set aside enough to complete the project properly. The really meaningful stuff could get gutted, or worse, not executed at all. I'm being cautiously optomistic.

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  10. "Why are people going 50 mph to get from a stop sign a Hygeia to a gridlocked intersection at Vulcan?"

    Because there is so much damn congestion that every little opportunity to cut a fraction of commute time is worth the brake wear and fuel consumption. The delays in commuting come from all the new people on the roads AND all the damn "traffic calming." More traffic calming means longer commutes.

    End the INCREASE in cut through traffic and speeders by ending the upzoning and densification of the north county population.

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  11. I love the Art Concept for the center of a Round about. Lets plan an art piece for the center median at Hygeia in the 2nd phase. It will take awhile to get public consensus on the art piece.

    I agree- a larger than life sculpture of a a family walking to the beach with surfboard in hand would be world class. A piece like that would go down in the history books and would be huge for Encinitas.

    LeftCoast has a creative mind which I fully support. I hope our Council Members understand the importance of the project and the dramatic improvement the project will make for Encinitas. I hope at least one council member picks up on the Sculpture idea as their pet project. A project like that could get you recognized throughout the state and would improve your chances of being elected to a higher office. Leucadia- The Art and Soul of Encinitas.

    I just hope the City is currently designing the 2nd phase considering how long it is taking to complete the first phase.

    Please go the planning commision meeting and support this long overdue project.

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  12. Speed- Move closer to your Job and stay on I5.

    Thanks.

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  13. Speed- Less traffic calming means more like LA. I dont like the LA model. I like the laguna beach, Del Mar, Berkely Pedestrian oriented model for Leucadia.

    I5 was built to get commutors and interstate traffic off our local streets. So use it.

    If you think your commute is to long, move closer to your job or get a job close to your home.

    Finally, take a few deep breaths and go swimming in the ocean. You'll feel much better. You might even be able to change your name from Speedy to "Peaceful Living"

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  14. Public art can and is very devisive at times!! Who will ever forget the "Bars" in Carlsbad!! Yes there were people that thought the Bars looked fine. Not many but a few. I could never understand those metal Bars, where was the art?? And then having to negociate with the artist to remove the bars, one headache after another!!

    I say we put in a lovely tree or perhaps raised levels, each level with different flowers. Something that makes people say....ahhhh.

    JP, welcome home we missed you, high surf keeps JP from his blog. We understand!!

    RSPB

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  15. JP has his priorities straight.

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  16. JP- Check out the new concrete driveway on the southside of Leucadia Blvd on your way up to Beacsons... they used a crushed glass aggregate....looks great and recycles old glass.... this could be used on the sidewalks in Leucadia. Could you possibly take a picture of it when its sunny and post it on the blog to let others see how cool looking it is?

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  17. I wish we could finish our library before they start this fiasco.

    I think a bunch of posts here are by the same person, or same few persons.

    The round about would look nice, maybe, but it will not "calm" traffic, but will create more delay, more frustration. We are not a gated community.

    I know there are a couple of walking groups in "greater" Encinitas. They don't walk along Leucadia Blvd. How many businesses are there, anyway? And we could have those sidewalks without another roundabout. Put in another stop sign if you have to. Roundabouts don't work here; it's not working on Santa Fe, and that has a lot less traffic than Leucadia Blvd.

    We could still have art. I like the fountain on Plaza St. in Solana Beach, off of Lomas Santa Fe.

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  18. Round a bouts are silly. Santa Fe does not work. Leucadia Blvd. will be even worse. what are you folks thinking. Christy wanted a roundabout and we got one. Now, leave it alone.

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  19. Yeah right. the round about at doesn't work. All I hear is praise about the round about.

    The last poster obvoiusly does not live in Leucadia so they don't see all the pedestrians on Leucadia.

    Roundabouts work great. Its the signals that don't work well and are deadly.

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  20. The library is under construction and suckec the life out of the City at $20 million for up to a hundred people to use the faciiity per day. Leucadia Boulevard has hundreds of pedestrains and bicyclist and 13,000 cars a day. I would say the cost to benefits received from Leucadia Boulevard are far better than the cost benefit ratio for the library.

    I love the Sante Fe round about and want them to move forward fast with the Leucadia Traffic Safety Improvements.

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  21. We have a great library in Encinitas already in Cardiff. The Encinitas Library is a trophy project. The fire stations should be value engineered to keep the costs down and spread out over 10 years like all the other City Projects.

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  22. Roundabouts are great. Better for the envirnment because cars keep moving and therefore don't use as much gas. They look great. They are much safer for pedestrians and the increase efficiency of the roadway.

    I think people that don't like roundabouts either have never seen one, love the nonfunctional street design of OC and LA, or are just silly.

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  23. This plan is just more crap from Stocks. Don't trust him! He's up to something!
    He's carrying someone elses water onthis and is not to be trusted. He says he wants to help improve the cut-traffic but what does he REALLY want? HUH? HUH?

    I bet the city will plan on spending more than $5,000 per month on "native" plant maintenance. A huge waste of our dollars! We MUST oppose this! Don't be fooled!

    Encinitas Taxpayer group, bob, where the heck are you when we need you?

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  24. They City have finished this project before 1999 when they opened up Leucadia Blvd. to El Camino Real and screwed Leucadia.

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  25. Anonymous blasting Stocks-

    You have to lay off the crack. If you don’t, move to Vista, LOSER. If Stocks supports this, he is getting smarter. Hopefully, he'll adopt the public art piece on Hygeia round about.

    Whoever opposes these great improvements does not like the inconvenient truth that they are good for all of Encinitas. Get out of your car and walk a little fat boy.

    The ETA sees that these improvements will help Leucadia businesses along HW101 prosper and raise property values and therefore tax revenue for Encinitas. Hence less pressure for other Council directed taxes. The proposed improvement is good for all.

    The nay -sayers are showing their pure ignorance and presenting no facts. Just old out of date crap which is where their lives will always reside unless they change their thinking. Step up and step out, park your car and walk to the beach. Enjoy life. Enjoy yourself. Breathe the air and appreciate living near the glorious Ocean. Appreciate Life!

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  26. I ride my bike from east of 5 Leucadia down to the beach when I think the waves aren't going to be good just to get some exercise. I was talking with another long time local surf cat and we both felt that every time we ride our bikes on Leucadia blvd. we are taking our lives into our own hands. Sidewalks and bike lanes are crucial for this corridor and are so long overdue its sad. In the summer I can ride my bike down to the beach much faster than driving but when you get past the gas stations and the road pinches from two lanes to one, it is a near death experience if you get some jack ass trying to pass everyone right at that point where the curb sticks out and forces you into the traffic.
    Don't worry about my family, I upped the life insurance, but I think i've got some good years left and want to be around for a while so fix the freakin road.
    When I go down to see my old friends and neighbors by my old house on dewitt ave and check out the killer sidewalks they have down Santa Fe which lead to nowhere but the train tracks/illegal crossing/ you gotta wonder what the hell is going on at city hall

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  27. Seems Jerome Stocks has a groupie. That's sweet. Or maybe he is just lovin' himself up.

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  28. I am all for the Leucadia Blvd plan. But i think it is out of order. Why don't we try to make 101 pedestrian friendly first. Not just because i live on Cadmus but because 101 is where most of the pedestrian traffic is.

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  29. Has anyone compare the number of ADTs of Leucadia Blvd. and Santa Fe Drive?

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  30. Cadmus- Go out in Front of 7-11 today and watch all the pedestrian traffic. This stretch of roadway links the entire neighborhood east of the tracks to the Business Corridor and beach and is a major pedestrian pathway. The improvements are badly needed and do not preclude the City from moving forward with making HW101 more walkable. Get involved and attend council meetings asking City Council to get moving on the HW101 streetscape program.

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  31. Cadmus- Go out in Front of 7-11 today and watch all the pedestrian traffic. This stretch of roadway links the entire neighborhood east of the tracks to the Business Corridor and beach and is a major pedestrian pathway. The improvements are badly needed and do not preclude the City from moving forward with making HW101 more walkable. Get involved and attend council meetings asking City Council to get moving on the HW101 streetscape program.

    I rather spend the money on improving that situation than on stinking law suit costs when Prof Presley or a child on they're why to school gets killed. The existing condition is a known hazard and a huge liability for the City. The City should have addressed the issue before they opened the flood gates to El Camino Real.

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  32. Okay, maybe there is pedestrian traffic along Leucadia Blvd. But I don't know that the sidewalks at Hygeia will fix the problem with the crossing at the train tracks?

    We, that is the City, could put in a sidewalk without putting in a round-about. I really don't see how the round-about, itself, would help the pedestrian crossing problem, or the traffic calming problem. The pedestrian crossing over the tracks is unsafe.

    Whoever is calling names, you only detract from the point you are trying to make. I suspect a Guerin or Aceti.

    I'm sure Stocks wouldn't be calling other people fat, would he?

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  33. I agree with the idea that the library is a trophy project. Wish we could have kept our old library, just added on a room for more computer access. But now we had to borrow a bunch of money that is not going to cover all of the capital projects in the works.

    The old public works yard could have been improved, too. I don't think it was a tear down, as the City wants us to believe.

    We can't do all of these projects at once and continue to pay all the benefits to our public servants. Plus many of them are going to start retiring now, as 20 years is up, for those here from the beginning.

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  34. We have some roundabouts out in Carlsbad. These are mostly in residential areas, but they do keep the traffic down. We also have some nice sidewalks that curve inward to prevent speeding.

    Not too sure how they would work or look on the 101, but it is worth a try!

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  35. I was very skeptical of the roundabout on Santa Fe and thought that the city was making the
    maneuver strictly to handle the increasing traffic from the hospital and the Hall property. I do drive it at least twice a day. The thing does seem to work except for the occasional driver that
    doesn’t know it’s there and drives up on to the center of it. I was concerned about fire trucks and
    commercial truck access but the fire dept. has been practicing and seem to handle it OK. The big
    rigs that have had problems will either have to get more skilled drivers, smaller trucks, or take an
    alternate route.

    The library is a done deal. That location for a PW yard is past history.

    It seems to me that the improvements make the route safer but perhaps less convenient for those using it as a commute shortcut, I like that.

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  36. The roundabouts are good because they keep vehicals traveling but prohibit cars from traveling 50 on the roadway. They also make it much safer for pedestrian crossings because the distance a pedestrain is crossing a vehicalur lane is greatly reduced.

    -Round-abouts provide efficient traffic control at intersections with less delay and at a lower operational cost than signalization.

    · Through proper design, round-abouts can easily accommodate emergency and large sized vehicles. The “truck apron” while not designed to be traversed by smaller vehicles is available for these larger vehicles

    · Round-abouts are safer than intersections controlled by signals and stop signs. Because the only movement allowed upon entry or exit from a round-about is a right turn, the occurrence of serious crashes that result in injury is substantially reduced. Small-angle
    collisions, the type of collisions that can occur as a result of a right-hand turn, are typically less severe than other types of collisions.

    · Round-abouts are not unique to Encinitas. More and more cities throughout California and across the country are utilizing round-abouts. CALTRANS is now using them in conjunction with intersections between off-ramps and surface roads. Within the coming years, they will be more and more common place.

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  37. JP --you are slowing down --why no post on the lovley artcle by the UTC on our OWN EX Mayor Christie --
    it is enough to make you sick

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  38. If the Leucadia blvd roundabouts deter commuters cutting thru to the coast that is okay with me.

    I don't know about the 7-11 fuel trucks taking Vulcan though, that seems sketchy.

    Pulbic art like the old art deco Solana Beach fountain would be neat. Be careful of public art distracting drivers.

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  39. Roundabouts, while incredibly safe and efficient, work even better when there aren't any drivers taking extra laps while filming ugly poinsettias in the passenger seat.

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  40. Plannning commision unanimous approval- 5-0. All very supportive of walkable community improvements and roundabouts. Thanks planning commission.

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