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“Keep Leucadia funky” has been the battle cry from residents and merchants for years. But in a community where surfers live next to neurosurgeons, a major rift is occurring over the future of Highway 101.

Recently, the City of Encinitas offered a paid consultant to the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association (a quasi chamber of commerce) to gather community input on redevelopment of the eucalyptus-lined, four-lane highway.

After two community meetings with over 100 residents in attendance, the Main Street Association now has plans to reduce traffic and create a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly, art-infused curbside dining “village” from A Street north to the city boundary at La Costa Avenue.

Designs call for reducing the two northbound lanes to one lane, removing traffic signals and stop signs and installing five “roundabout” traffic circles, and increasing bike lanes by eliminating some parking spaces. As a result of these adjustments, sidewalks will move closer to merchants’ front doors.

Back-in parking spaces -- so when pulling out, motorists would better see oncoming cyclists – is a questionable plan, as curbside diners may not appreciate the spewing car exhaust over their huevos rancheros.

Over 1000 signatures have been gathered to oppose the plan, along with opposition from Encinitas’ Chamber of Commerce. Merchants are generally opposed to the plans because the upheaval would come at a time when they need customers most.

At last week’s annual Main Street Association meeting, not much was mentioned about the proposal.

Leucadia Glass owner Rick Smith, a Highway 101 merchant for decades, says, “We all want improvements, just not this.”

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