Reimagining Streetscape – the Devil’s in the Details!

May 23, 2021

You’ve probably heard the expression, “the devil is in the details,” meaning that concepts which seem pretty straightforward often take more time and effort to satisfactorily complete than expected.

At the City of Encinitas, the City Council is working hard to get the next phase of Leucadia Streetscape hammered out. We spent the bulk of our City Council meeting last week on the specifics of this complex project. 

It came as a surprise to all the councilmembers that a continuous bike lane was not part of the “reimagined Streetscape” plan that was presented, which aims to accomplish the core Streetscape goals for $20 million, reduced from an original budget of nearly twice that amount.

I believe that everyone involved has the right intentions, but we’re in a difficult period of trying to reconcile a reduced budget, existing plans, the city’s goals, community desires, and regulatory approvals. Streetscape will be a fantastic improvement for Encinitas, but it’s been a consistently thorny endeavor.

The graphic above from our City Council meeting was extensively discussed, and demonstrates the difficulty in understanding the features proposed in each phase. You can get more information about the complexity by checking out this Power Point.
 
Streetscape’s goals have always been about safety, mode-shifting from car trips to bike and pedestrian trips, reducing cut-through traffic from the freeway, revitalization and strengthening the connection between people and the places they share (sometimes called “placemaking”).

A bright spot is that Phase One around El Portal Street, with a roundabout and a railroad undercrossing, is currently under construction. It will be transformational for that area. Here’s a fascinating time-lapse video of the railroad bridge being put into place, as seen above.
 
I remain hopeful that the next phase – between Leucadia Blvd and La Costa Ave – can be presented to us in a scaled-down way that is within budget, includes a bike lane, stays within a reasonable time and regulatory process, and accomplishes the main goals of the project. As of now, it’s still a work in progress.
 
Our new food waste collection system is here! 

Did you know that Encinitas residents produce 1.3 million pounds of food waste each month? Jessica Toth, executive director of the Solana Center, shared this staggering statistic with us. That is so much food! The message to “Reduce, Reuse and Recyle” is needed more than ever. 
 
As of June 1 in Encinitas, we can dispose of food waste in our green yard waste bins, instead of landfilling it in our trash cans.

I was really excited to get my kitchen caddy (seen above) delivered to my door as part of my weekly trash service from EDCO last Friday. Looking down my street, I could see that every home had one delivered to their door as well. 

When we unveiled this program, we wanted to ensure that all residents have every chance to make the needed change to how we dispose of our food waste – so the City Council decided to include these 1.5 gallon sealable kitchen caddies. They’re designed to fit discreetly inside a cabinet door, on a counter top, or in the freezer.

Inside are compostable bags that make it clean and mess-free to transport the food waste from the kitchen to the outside bin. Encinitas is the only city that includes these caddies as part of the program, and I’m proud we put in the extra effort to make that happen. 

This program will transform how we manage waste – if people follow through and dispose of it in their green bins. I hope we’re able to stop landfilling so much food. As a reminder, you can put bones, egg shells, dairy, prepared food waste and used pizza boxes in your green waste container. You’ll find more details in this article.

Encinitas Equity Committee launches

This week we held the first meeting of our newly created Encinitas Equity Committee, which appears to be off to a great start. In addition to talking about how to structure the committee, members shared thoughts on housing, transportation, policing, overall culture, and other ideas about topics that need an equity focus.

I expressed my belief that we need to do more than just “admire the problem,” and will be dedicated to creating some actionable suggestions for the City Council to consider. I have high expectations about where this can lead us!

Bike Share program coming this fall

I’m delighted that Encinitas will have a Bike Share program this fall, provided by a subsidiary of a local bike shop, Electra. This is the electric power assist bike that you’ll be able to rent for several hours, ride around and return to one of several different docking stations around the city. This Encintas Advocate article has more.

Honoring a gay rights pioneer

On May 22, 2010, the first Harvey Milk Day was held, honoring the first openly gay elected official in the history of California. Much LGBTQ+ progress has been made since his 1978 assassination.

(Photo by Aimee Monahan.)

I applaud residents in Rancho Santa Margarita for rallying on Saturday in front of their City Hall to urge the City Council to fly the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag during the month of June, as seen above.

Encinitas was the first city in San Diego County to fly the Pride Flag in 2019 when we issued a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month. Since then, a number of other cities have joined us. I hope that one day all cities will celebrate Pride Month. 

Finally, the state, including San Diego and Orange counties, will drop social distancing requirements on June 15. There’s a lot to look forward to as the pandemic continues to fade and we savor the promise of back-to-normal summer fun.

I hope you have a great week! 

In service, 

P.S. So glad that we visited the Blueberry picking patch on the last day it was open at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. What a cool and fun thing they introduced this year! They’re organic and easy to pick. We all loved the experience, and the blueberries were delicious!