Friday, February 15, 2008
Keeping it Funky, Not Junky
SignOnSanDiego.com story: Leucadia plans streetscape workshops
By Her name was Lola and she was a dancer Sherman
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
ENCINITAS – The mantra remains: Keep Leucadia funky.
Representatives of a consulting firm hired to formulate a “streetscape” plan for the area along North Coast Highway 101 between A Street and La Costa Avenue say they'll keep that in mind during two public workshops set for next week.
“We've actually been at it for about a month,” consultant M.W. Peltz, head of the consulting company that bears his name, told the Encinitas City Council during a presentation Wednesday night.
He said he has walked the entire 2 miles of highway, hearing often about the need to retain its artsy, surf-town appeal. Peltz's firm has been hired for $231,000 to draw a plan for landscaping, sidewalks and street design. The workshops on Thursday and Feb. 23 will give the public a chance to offer suggestions.
Peltz, in an update to the council on his firm's efforts, described Leucadia as an area of “an eclectic mix of architecture, business types and trees,” plus traffic from cars, pedestrians and bicycles.
“Leucadia likes to present itself as very artsy and funky,” said Mike Nichols, an associate of the Peltz firm and a Solana Beach city councilman.
“It's very important to listen first and design second,” he said.
The consultants offered no specific plans, although Peltz said he had heard a lot about a desired return of the “canopy of trees” that once lined the boulevard and helped define it. Many of the old eucalyptus trees have been removed after succumbing to disease.
Several members of the audience supported the idea of a streetscape plan.
“Leucadia's time has come,” said Morgan Mallory, a member of the Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association and a business owner along the highway.
Mallory, who described the area as an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and a mobile home park, asked the council to “maintain the identity, community character and scale” of Leucadia while fostering improvement.
“This is like the most wonderful thing,” said Rachelle Collier, president of the Leucadia Town Council. Residents want a plan that creates a walkable community and slows down traffic, she said. And that canopy of trees.
Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan said “a great chapter is opening” with the preparation of the streetscape plan. But she, too, told the consultants to “be sure it remains artsy, funky.”
Houlihan suggested the addition of a forum area – a poet's corner – and places for people to sit and relax. “We want it to be enhanced, we just want it to be cool,” she said.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth had one specific request: “We just have to put the canopy back,” she said.
Nichols said he expects 100 to 200 people to attend the workshops. The city has mailed out 4,000 invitations to homes and businesses within 500 feet of the highway.