Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Power to the Sharrows Everywhere



Full Disclosure: The Leucadia Blog spoke with members of the Leucadua 101 Main Street Association  (the author is board member of this organization) and the Encinitas Bike and Ped Committee to create this op-ed piece.


The beautiful 101 corridor from downtown Encinitas through Leucadia is an irresistible, if not unavoidable stretch of pavement for the spandex set. Every weekend, throngs of bicyclists of all shapes, speeds, sizes and levels of experience take to this highway despite the many dangers that wait hidden like roadside IED's.
This is fact: most of the highway lacks marked bike lanes, which forces bicyclists to choose between braving the deadly 'dooring zone' (where a parked driver might unwittingly open a door into the biker's path) or taking up the full right lane, which often leads to honked horns, middle fingers and other forms of road rage from automobiles directed towards bicyclists. It is the bicyclists' right under California state law to take up the right hand lane where no bike lane exists and it is unsafe to ride to the far right, but few drivers are aware of this fact. Some bikers also fail to realize how dangerous it is to hug the far right lane. When there are lines of parked cars, the biker hugging the far right is often invisible to drivers from side streets until the last moment of approach.

Bike vs. car is a scene all of us 101 dwellers, drivers, pedestrians and bikers have at least witnessed, if not had a first hand experience with. And it's one experience I think we'd all be lot safer and better off without.

Imagine...all the bikes and cars...sharing all the road...
The Leucadia 101 Streetscape project aims at such a utopia and the actual, community and City Council approved PLAN includes reduced car lanes (aka “road diet”), comfy 8’ bike lanes both south and north bound, traffic calming measures, diagonal parking and plenty of additional features designed to keep bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers a whole lot safer along the coast highway 101.  However, the new Streetscape is still a long way off. Breaking ground in 2016, the project is a well deserved, but overdue improvement to our little corner of the world where foot power rivals oil as a means of transportation.

But the citizens of the Encinitas Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee are not waiting around for a Streetscape project or the next tragic accident to make our highway safer for all. In fact, they pointed out a great opportunity to make things safer--on the cheap--and rather quickly. This Fall, the City of Encinitas will be repaving  the coast highway from La Costa to North Court (Pannikin) for 'slurry seal prepping'. A tried and true method for getting cars and bikes to share the road more peacefully called 'sharrows' dovetails beautifully with this regularly scheduled repaving project.

Sharrows are chevrons (>>) with a picture of a bike painted onto the road. These sharrows will indicate that cars and bikes must share the right-hand lane. Additional signs reinforcing this law are to be implemented every 1/8 of a mile on preexisting traffic directing structures such as light-poles.
Sharrows have been the toast of downtown Long Beach for 3 years now. In addition, neighboring Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Solana Beach will be implementing sharrows on their roadways in the near future. Funding for the portion of the proposed project between North Court and La Costa would be fully covered by the City’s repaving effort. The cost for the sharrows and signage for the portion of Coast Highway 101 between North Court and K Street is estimated to be $7,500, and funds for those improvements are available from the Traffic Safety and Calming Program Fund through the City.

At the June monthly hearing, the Encinitas Traffic Commission approved a plan to add sharrows and “share the road” signage to the Highway 101 during the slurry seal repaving project. The goal of the sharrows is to spread a little education and awareness, which will lead to a whole lot more sharing of the road between bikes and automobiles.

It is important to note that this plan still needs approval from Encinitas City Council in order to be fully implemented. The sharrows plan is on the Council agenda this Wednesday, July 18th at 6:00pm.
The concept, put forth by the Encinitas Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee and City staff, has garnered support from DEMA (Encinitas 101 Main Street Association), Leucadia 101 Main Street Association, the San Diego Bike Coalition, SANDAG’s Regional Bike Representative and many other concerned citizens. The Traffic Commission voted 5-0 to approve this plan as well. Rob Blough, head of traffic engineering for the City of Encinitas has been credited for genuinely listening to the concerns of the Encinitas Bike and Ped Committee and helping to push the plan forward. 

This vote should be a no-brainer. Having the sharrows plan approved would be a big win for safety and democracy both and hopefully encourage more initiatives to originate from the citizens of Encinitas.

10 comments:

  1. I am way to old to be part of the "spandex set", but I do ride my bike on 101 in Leucadia several times a week to do errands. This signage will be very helpful to inform motorists that bikers are on the road and we all need to share it. I will be at the city council tonight to support this change.

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  2. Thanks City Council The proposal passed unanimously with Mr. Stocks absent. The new signage should be painted this fall and will increase safety for bicyclists in Leucadia.

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  3. The plan would be better with TWO lanes, & Sharrows, like the rest of the corridor. Why is Leucadia being singled out for the lane diet? No one seems to care about the Court's ruling that a project, such as the North Hwy 101 Corridor Streetscape must go through environmental review for the ENTIRE PROJECT. Cities or other entities are not allowed to separate a project into phases, or "tiers," & thereby begin part of the project, lane diet, WITHOUT A COASTAL DEVELOPMENT PERMIT.

    If you lived near this corridor, as we do, you would see that traffic, particularly in the summer, is clogged, already, ESPECIALLY during rush hour, & any time there's an accident or blockage on I-5. The City, on the recommendation of the traffic engineers, NOT the traffic commission, and not Planning, who is overseeing the North Hwy 101 Streetscape project as a whole, is trying to do an end run around State requirements. The city & the state are already fighting over jurisdiction of the Flower Hill Mall improvements. The people who too often get left out of the equation are we, citizens, residents & commuters.

    The lane diet will cause more cut through traffic racing through our neighborhoods. It will further slow emergency response times. Both of these will occur during peak traffic periods. Also, El Portal, because it is between a stop sign, that"s NOT SCHEDULED to be removed, & a signal that can take three cycles for cars to get through, is the LAST place a roundabout is needed.

    We fully support the Sharrows and additional bicycle safety signage, NOT the lane diet!

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  4. Roundabouts will be the "second phase" of the project. The first one is scheduled at El Portal, by Leucadia Glass. The owners of Leuadia Glass and Sub Palace had collected well over a thousand signatures of those opposing the lane diet and 5 roundabouts in a little over 2 miles on Historic North Hwy.. 101.

    Also, the majority of people at the City Hall workshop, when the MOST people, of all opinions participated, responded to surveys at a nearly two thirds ratio in opposition to the lane diet and five roundabouts. An additional, final workshop was added, Peltz and Associates lobbied even harder, less of the opposition knew to attend, and a bare majority, including those who said roundabouts "deserve consideration" (most in attendance were from outside the neighborhoods which will be impacted by gridlock and cut through traffic) were counted as "favoring" the roundabout and lane diet plan.

    The vote was "rigged, as the data was massaged. People didn't understand that a "deserves consideration" would be counted as a YES to five roundabouts and a lane diet. The data was interpolated as "yes or no," when the survey actually offered more than those two options . . .

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  5. The bicyclists did NOT request a lane diet at the Traffic Commission hearing, where they requested Sharrows and additional signage, on 6/11/12. The lane diet has not been "vetted" through Planning, our traffic engineers, or CalTrans, which requested more traffic studies as part of Encinitas' issuing a LCP Coastal Permit, for the Streetscape project AS A WHOLE!

    Council just authorized, on 6/27/12, an additional $75,000 for Peltz & Associates, bringing their contract total to $527,000, to answer questions posed by CalTrans, and the City of Carlsbad, as part of the environmental review process.

    Now the "lane diet" has, in effect, been pulled out of the streetscape plan, and initiated through our traffic engineers, without actual analysis of "Major Roadway operational characteristic adequacy," rather than through Planning, TO AVOID PROPER INTERNAL REVIEW of the project as a whole, before the Streetscape Project is issued a Coastal Development Permit.

    The reason for required review, for the project as a whole is that coastal access is affected by gridlock, backups, neighborhood cut through traffic, as well as reduction of already subpar emergency response times. The lane diet is to be considered within the context of the entire streetscape project for the North Hwy 101 corridor.

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  6. Lynn,

    Your such a fool. I am surprised you can get by in life. I bet you can't and are collecting social security and are a tick on society.

    The traffic study has been completed and there will not be a back up. The City could be and should be sewed for not addressing the inadequacy of its infrastructure for bikes and other modes of transportation.

    Why don't you get your fat ass out of your car, get on a bike and ride down Hwy101 to breath some fresh air and clear your head.

    You will find the exercise does wonders and may actually help you lose some weight, so you don't grow even bigger, get Type II diabetes and cost us tax payers even more money.

    You are so backwards on this issue and you are soooo BAD for our community. But I'm glad your able to vent your rambling BS, because it means we are still a free society.

    I just wish us taxpayers didn't have to carry your fat ass dead weight soooo much.

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  7. Jack, it's cyberbullies like you, with your name calling, that ruined Leucadia Blog for many for some time. You would be just as happy if those who differed with your points of view went away, we realize.

    You haven't refuted any of the points I've made. You simply resort to character assassination, ad hominem attacks and your usual foul mouthed hyperbole and "rhetoric."

    The "traffic report" has NOT been completed with respect to the further analysis requested by Caltrans relative to the lane diet. Why did we just pay Peltz and Associates $75,000 more, bringing their total to $527,000, to date, to provide further traffic reports? The Leucadia 101 Streetscape Project has NOT YET RECEIVED ITS COASTAL DEVELOPMENT PERMIT.

    I do ride my bike; I'm not on Social Security, but when I do reach retirement age, I like millions of others will be happy to claim what I've paid into.

    Your hateful remarks only reveal your bitterness and your lack of any real argument against the valid points I've made.

    I'm very seldom in my car, and you really don't know WHAT you're talking about. Stay off of me, and on the subject of Kevin's blog post.

    I suspect you are Charles Marvin, a commercial property owner who pays low taxes for his properties along the North 101 Corridor, because he purchased them in the late 70's, but expects big gains in terms of more (angled) parking, higher rents, increased property values and more business.

    We local residents and commuters will be subjected to gridlock, traffic cutting through our neighborhoods, reduced emergency response times, and lower city reserves should the roundabouts be built.

    Jack S, this is the last time I will respond to any of your cruel, hateful remarks. When I see one posted from you, I won't bother to read it, in the future. Your rants aren't helpful or edifying. I won't allow you to bully me again, as you have attempted, posting "anonymously" in the past.

    Jack, your sole purpose appears to be to attack me, personally, and to try to drive me away. You bring down the quality of the Leucadia Blog as a whole, and have caused many others to stop reading or posting, imo. Your hateful comments only reveal your own bitter, bullying nature.

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  8. Blaaa blaaa Blaaaa. you are one twisted sister Lynn. I guess it takes all kinds.

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  9. There is no "lane diet". That is just a word. There are plenty of places along the coast in all towns where the road narrows from 2 to one. Just south of Swami's for one. This is just adding a bike lane. Which is a good thing. It's what the community wants and wish there was more room for. Since putting bike lanes on both sides the whole way would also require roundabouts so as not to slow traffic at stop signs, this was the perfect temporary measure. Creating a bike lane in 1 northbound lane where there are no intersections will cause no additional traffic. There will be no back ups in your neighborhood or cut through traffic because the road leaves Encinitas and goes to Carlsbad where there are nice wide lanes to accommodate bike lanes. There are no intersectons cut through. You won't be inconvenienced in your car at all. Not any more than you would be if you had to change lanes to give enough passing space to a bike. Now you don't even need to slow down. You don't even need to share the lane. You can drive it in your car all by yourself.

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  10. This is a long post. If you don't want to take the time to consider my points, our community issues, you're free to skip it.

    Judy, lane "diet" is a word that refers to reducing what is considered to be a Major Roadway from four lanes to three lanes. The term came through the staff report by Encinitas traffic engineers re Agenda Item #10 on 7/18/12. If you don't like the term, complain to the City.

    The southbound lane diet in Cardiff is completely different than the one proposed for North 101 north of Leucadia Blvd., for now, but beginning at El Portal, one block north of the three-way stop sign at Marchetta and south of the Leucadia Blvd trafic light, when and if the initial traffic circle is installed. Yes, the engineers recommended the lane diet should only begin NORTH of Leucadia Blvd. DUE TO TRAFFIC BACKING UP NOW, FROM THE STOP SIGN TO THE TRAFFIC LIGHT! To plan a traffic circle one block north of a stop sign does seem crazy. Having one a block west of the stop sign on Hygeia on Leucadia Blvd has further slowed emergency response times to our community, here, west of North 101, which is already subpar due to narrow streets.

    Cardiff has NO RESIDENTIAL STREETS WEST OF HWY 101! In Cardiff, there is no issue of truckers unloading their wares and hand trucking them across the highway

    Traffic circles are NOT the same as roundabouts, which require two lanes. If you lived adjacent to North 101 in Leucadia, you would realize we already have issues with slower emergency response times and cut through traffic when I-5 and North 101 become clogged, when there's an accident on the freeway, during rush hour, during the Fair, or Racing Season, any and all peak traffic periods, there is back up and congestion on North 101 ALREADY, particularly in the summer.

    A lane diet would only make matters worse. 81% of residents adjacent to North 101 surveyed by an independent firm, do NOT favor traffic circles or a lane reduction. We are very concerned about cut through traffic racing through our neighborhoods, particularly along Neptune, which is one way, northbound only, and which is used extensively by pedestrians, bicyclists and beachgoers. The beaches are only 350 yards away from North 101, and adding a lane diet, and traffic circles is NOT WHAT OUR COMMUNITY WANTS.

    This doesn't make any sense to me: " There will be no back ups in your neighborhood or cut through traffic because the road leaves Encinitas and goes to Carlsbad where there are nice wide lanes to accommodate bike lanes" Because there are "nice wide lanes" in Carlsbad does NOT mean there won't be back ups and cut through traffic through Leucadia, along North 101 with a lane diet. There are NO PLANS to eliminate the stop sign at Marchetta. We don't need further slowing, which does lead to congestion during peak traffic periods. Where traffic circles have been installed, already, on Santa Fe Dr., and on Leucadia Blvd., the number of accidents has increased, including the fatality of an off duty fireman at Santa Fe.

    The same number of cars that are already clogging up two lanes, will be further congested into one lane. There was no needs assessment done for the lane diet; the issue was NOT vetted before the Traffic Commission as the sharrows were. The bicyclists asked for sharrows NOT a lane diet!

    I'm disgusted by Jack S.'s comments to Lynn. A lot of people no longer post on this blog because there seems to be so little moderation. It takes courage to stand up to a bully who calls names and disparages the person commenting, rather than addressing the issues being discussed. I feel people witnessing the bullying should also "speak up." Cyberbulling and flaming to distract and discourage, to show disdain and disrespect, is not ok.

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