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The four-lane, tree-lined Coast Hwy. 101 through Leucadia — a roadway that’s facilitated nine decades of cruising — changed on Wednesday, February 6.

Since the 1930s until 1964, the highway served as the only arterial highway between San Diego and L.A. When I-5 opened up in November of ’64, the road became a less-congested drive to neighborhood shops, restaurants, and surf spots.

On February 6, the City of Encinitas debuted the first phase of its Leucadia traffic improvement plan, reducing the Coast Highway’s two northbound lanes to one and reserving the right lane for a wide bike lane.

Going northbound from A Street to Leucadia Boulevard, motorists in the right lane will now see signs and bike symbols on the pavement — what traffic engineers call “sharrows.” Basically, motorists must share the complete right lane with bicyclists. North of Leucadia Boulevard, to the city limits at La Costa Avenue, the entire right lane has become a dedicated bike lane, reducing vehicular traffic to one lane.

Opponents and small-business owners made a final effort to stall the project as the Coastal Commission noted its objections to the narrowing of the road that extends from Oceanside to La Jolla. Even with the advice of city staff, which feared the Coastal Commission may levy financial penalties, the council voted 5-0 at their January 30 meeting to proceed with the new lane markings.

The ten-year “improvement” plan, originally promoted by the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association (a quasi-chamber of commerce), may eventually include five traffic roundabouts, the realignment of sidewalks, and the replacement of eucalyptus with smaller, less invasive trees, all in an effort to create a reduced-traffic, bicycle-and pedestrian-friendly, art-infused, curbside dining “village.”

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Comments

mngcornaglia Feb. 11, 2013 @ 7:43 p.m.

much safer for the bikers, but it'll take awhile for drivers to get used to this...

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 12, 2013 @ 12:21 p.m.

Wow, what history lesson, that I-5 opened in November of 64!!! And that Coast HYWY was the ONLY route to Smell-A.

Good stuff, wonder how you researched it or did you remember that from memory or school???

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Ken Harrison Feb. 15, 2013 @ 5:04 a.m.

I remembered, was in the 4th grade and we could see a little piece of the freeway. We all rushed to the fence at recess to watch the cars. Before it opened we used to ride our bikes on it.

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GDCarter Feb. 16, 2013 @ 4 p.m.

I am having trouble understanding how this move by the City Council serves the citizen of Encinitas. It seems that their agenda for the city is not aligned with the needs of people who live here.

Most road improvement projects are intended to help relieve traffic congestion. This one is clearly intended to permanently restrict the flow of traffic. The vast majority of citizens will now be stripped of their rights to access a much needed transportation corridor in favor of a handful of bicycle enthusiasts (who, for the most part, only ride bikes on the week-end, and who could easily use San Elijo, and Neptune as safer, alternative routes).

  • Can you imagine what traffic on the coast highway will be like this summer?

Does anyone believe that I-5 will be able to absorb the number of cars trying to avoid the new Coast Highway crawl?
What will the Coast Highway look like when I-5 is stalled?

Will anyone brave the bottleneck to patronize businesses in the coastal areas?

I am environmentally sensitive, but this concept is horribly mis-guided. The additional carbon monoxide added to our atmosphere by unavoidable, non-stop traffic jams will certainly offset any potential benefit.

Encinitas City Council: You are responsible for the effects of poorly managed growth over the last 30 years. You invited the additional traffic that needs to navigate through our coastal cities every day. You can not undo these real problems with wishful thinking (let's reduce traffic by making everyone rides bikes). You are just compounding the mistakes of the past by making incredibly short sighted transportation decisions.

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