Six roundabouts are planned on Coast Highway 101 between La Costa Avenue, south to Leucadia Boulevard. Most will be placed one-fifth of mile from each other. Opponents say four of the traffic circles, at only 100 feet in diameter, will not big enough for transit buses and large trucks.
The streetscape project from La Costa Avenue to A Street includes a “road diet” for the busy highway, reducing to two lanes – one in each direction. The design includes back-in parking and new sidewalks. Also the removal of some Eucalyptus trees that have been there for almost 100 years.
Forty-seven speakers asked to address the council last week. About 40 percent of the packed chambers were opposed to the project.
After the four-hour meeting, the council voted 4–1 in favor of the project moving forward, with Councilman Mark Muir opposed.
Doug Fiske, a 49-year Leucadia resident, led the charge against the plan.
“The hired consultant, a civil engineer, has a blatant conflict of interest,” Fiske told me. “The EIR is not an objective assessment of the project’s impact. It’s advocacy.”
Fiske pointed out that the city gives $30,000 annually to Leucadia 101 Main Street Association, the project’s chief proponent. According to the group’s own brochure, Fiske says, “Only 15% of the corridor merchants are members. The council is imposing a streetscape project that the majority of corridor residents don’t want.”
Neighborhood residents point out that when southbound I-5 slows down, traffic already backs up a mile and half into Carlsbad on Coast Highway. “With one lane, it will only get worse,” said Fiske.
The funky Leucadia vibe is about to change dramatically, say those opposed. The buildings' frontage and corridor get free beautification and landscaping from the city. The rents will go up, driving out Leucadia’s funky mix of businesses and restaurants. Opponents say that’s what is happening now in downtown Encinitas as a result of its streetscape project implemented years ago.