3/18/18: Good News on Bike Sharing, Zero Emission Vehicles and Quieter Trains

Our work on several exciting Encinitas projects continued last week. Here are some highlights:

Local bike sharing

Bike sharing is coming to Encinitas! The city authorized entering into an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with multiple coastal cities and entities, including Carlsbad, Oceanside, Solana Beach, Del Mar, North County Transit District and Camp Pendleton, to develop a regional bikeshare program where bikes can be rented at low cost in convenient locations and left in other cities without penalty.

The idea is to allow people to use bikes for short-distance transportation, such as riding from the train station to work, or out to lunch and then farther for a longer ride, without having to return the bike to the original place where it was rented. There are always kinks to work out in unveiling a new program, like how to incentivize people leaving the bikes out of the way, without cluttering sidewalks.

This program is an idea whose time has come, and I suspect it will be a game-changer for our city. Here’s the Encinitas Advocate story.

Countdown to zero emissions

At our City Council meeting, we received a plan on how to convert our municipal vehicle fleet to zero emission vehicles over multiple years. We also authorized installation of an SDG&E program called “Power Your Drive” that will install 10 EV charging stations at City Hall and other municipal buildings for charging electric city vehicles.

And thank you to the Electra Bicycle Company for donating two bicycles for lifeguards to use on the beach when they’re making non-emergency trips. The idea of lifeguards riding bikes on the beach conjures a friendly, quintessentially Encinitas-type feeling, and reducing truck trips while folks are enjoying the beach is a good idea. Here’s the Coast News story.

Quieter railroad crossings

To quiet train horns throughout our 6.1 miles of railroad track in Encinitas, it will cost the city between $11.7 and $16 million, which will include getting multiple levels of regulatory approval.

If Encinitas wants to stop train engineers from sounding horns in the city, we need to mitigate the risk of someone being hit on the track by installing supplemental safety measures, including safety gates on all sides of a crossing, barriers that keep cars from driving around (or through) the gates, channelized and raised medians and other requirements. One thing that is not required is a “wayside horn,” which is a horn affixed to the ground at crossings that sounds whenever a train comes. (There’s a wayside horn at the train crossing in downtown Del Mar).

At the City Council meeting, we heard an informative and well-organized presentation on the options for our quiet zones, which have to include start and end points where cars cross the tracks. Regulatory authorities don’t recognize our city boundaries as acceptable end points. So we authorized reaching out to Carlsbad to inquire about their interest in partnering with us for a quiet zone that would cover their southernmost train crossing at Cannon Road to our northernmost crossing at Leucadia Blvd.

One key point that emerged in the discussion is that we don’t want to hold up the currently in-progress Chesterfield Drive quiet zone to wait for other parts of the city that don’t yet have funding allotted or any infrastructure changes underway. Chesterfield’s quiet zone is supposed to be operational in 2019.

Here’s a San Diego Union-Tribune article about the Chesterfield quiet zone.

Arts Alive banners debut

Last weekend I was delighted by the huge turnout at the Arts Alive banner unveiling, despite the rainy weather. At right, Old Encinitas Planning Commissioner Kevin Doyle and I are admiring Banner #60, painted by LaMonte Lamoureux, which appears to be a depiction of Chesterfield Drive in Cardiff, or a nearby street.

Arts Alive has become a wonderful local tradition. Local artists paint the banners, we’ll soon see them displayed throughout the city, and finally they’ll auctioned off at Cardiff Town Center on Sunday, May 30 at 2 p.m. Proceeds will be split between the artist and the non-profit presenting organizations.

The banner unveiling at the bluffside former Pacific View Elementary School was a great way to utilize the outdoor space at our newly aquired city property. You can check out the dozens of colorful, creative banners to bid on in this catalog, and the Encinitas Advocate has more photos here. (Photos by Rob McKenzie.)

Encinitas Commissioner Appreciation Dinner

Last week at City Council, we approved new and incumbent commissioners for six city commissions. The link to the report listing those appointed is here. We also officially thanked our volunteers at a Commissioner Recognition dinner and shared some delicious food from Good on Ya. Click on the photo above for a larger view. (Photos by Rob McKenzie.)

Hamilton Throwdown at the library

The Encinitas Library provides our community with non-stop outstanding programming, last week featuring a “Hamilton Throwdown” for teens. The crowd of about 30 people was divided into four teams by an accomplished actress and Hamil-fan in her own right, who led us in a timed trivia game and a sing-a-long. Boy, was I impressed with the civic knowledge of some of these teens! (Our team came in second, not first, dang it!). Trivia example: “When was the battle of Yorktown?” Answer: “1781.” For those who don’t recall every detail of American history, at this battle the British surrendered to General Washington, effectively ending the revolutionary war. More photos by McKenzie Images can be found here.

Incidentally, the Blakespears are traveling to Yorktown and key parts of Virginia this summer as part of our ongoing interest in exploring the places that helped create today’s America.

Looking ahead

At our meeting this coming Wednesday, we’re hearing an update on the downtown ficus trees program, the presentation of the Leucadia Streetscape Environmental Impact Report, the final design details for our new Standard Pacific Park in Leucadia, and a mid-year budget status report for Encinitas. I’ll also be requesting that the Council approve a Gun Violence Prevention Resolution. Stay tuned!

In ongoing service,

 

 

P.S. I’m writing this week’s newsletter from idyllic Yosemite, the site of the “Building Livable Communities” conference put on by the Local Government Commission. As the snow gently falls outside my window, I’m awash in gratitude for the foresight of previous federal leaders who preserved this majestic landscapes for the benefit of all citizens. The pressures to privatize the land, or allow it to be used for profit, including livestock grazing, forestry, mining or water storage, were immense.

This closing quote seems naturally appropriate:

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

— John Muir

These two stunning Yosemite photos shown above were taken by my husband, Jeremy Blakespear, on his way to back-country skiing.