Sunday, September 20, 2015

Leucadians applaud state grant for rail underpass

U-T:
By Wednesday night, word had spread through the city’s Leucadia community about the city’s grant success. More than a dozen parents and students from Paul Ecke Central Elementary, plus William Morrison — vice president of the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association — appeared at the council meeting to give their thanks to Pruim, as well as other city employees and the council members.

“For the Paul Ecke community, this underpass means way more than connecting Vulcan (Avenue) and the 101,” Rebecca Conley, vice president of the PTA, told the council. “It means connecting the parents and the school. It means connecting the families and the kids and our community as a whole.”
The large grant, following on the heels of the Santa Fe underpass grant, comes despite Encinitas supposedly "losing out on infrastructure grant dollars" due to the last several councils having failed to pass a Housing Element Update.

67 comments:

  1. "The large grant, following on the heels of the Santa Fe underpass grant, comes despite Encinitas supposedly "losing out on infrastructure grant dollars" due to the last several councils having failed to pass a Housing Element Update."

    Different source of money. SANDAG has a policy of not awarding grants to cities without a housing element. They may as well call it the Encinitas Policy. This grant is from the California Transportation Commission for Active Transportation programs. A certified housing element isn't one of the criteria. Just don't tell them our circulation element is way out of date.

    I guess as long as we get some grants, the hell with those lawsuits.

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    1. Thanks.

      For comparison, what projects has SANDAG funded for Solana Beach and Carlsbad the past few years while Encinitas has been in the penalty box?

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    2. 5:08 PM
      Again with the boogie man scare tactics of "no grants" because of SANDAG board policy 33. Read the policy. Most of the grants aren't connected with a housing element and are available to Encinitas. Those few grants that are wouldn't be something to interest Encinitas in the first place.
      Stop with the lies that Encinitas can't get grants.
      Encinitas is on the list of cities that made the cut for the final round of discussion. The Commission will vote for only 12. Will Encinitas be one of the 12? As Gus Vina would say - Stay tuned!

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    3. Here, here! Majeet Ranu and Jeff Murphy have been lying about this for years now.

      Exactly WHY should we get a new Housing Element at all? There It is better for citizens to stick with what we have since the current plan is based on MIG, Peak Democracy, and other bogus programs curtsey taxpayer's money.

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  2. Thanks councilman Tony Kranz for working to get this grant. We got nothing done with Sandag or NCTD when Jerome was on the board, so thank you for making a difference.

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    1. 6:01, At one NCTD board meeting, Stocks blamed merchants in Leucadia for the demise of the canopy of trees. I have it on tape.

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    2. Yup, his love for our slice of the world was unparalleled...

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    3. Whose? Tony's or Jerome's?

      On most important issues, Tony has voted no differently than Jerome would have.

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  3. Better to apply that nearly $5 million to the cost of trenching the tracks between Encinitas Blvd. and La Costa Ave.

    El Portal and several other ped/bike crossings would be like the ramp at the Amtrak station in Solana Beach.

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  4. For those willing to click and read the article EU links to above, this sentence is the critical one:

    "Consequently, Encinitas is losing out on infrastructure grant dollars and is more susceptible to lawsuits from affordable housing advocates, Kranz said."

    The key word that is missing from the sentence is "all." As in "Encinitas is losing out on ALL grant dollars." If Tony had said that, then EU's point would be valid, because Tony would be wrong. In fact, Tony was right. We are missing out on grant dollars. SOME grant dollars have strings attached, including eligibility requirements that include a certified Housing Element.

    EU pretends to be ignorant, pretends not to understand what Tony actually said, Pretends that this grant somehow refutes the fact that we are in fact ineligible for SOME grants.

    This is disingenuous. EU speaks on policy matters with precision and intelligence when it suits EU's agenda, so we know EU isn't stupid.

    Unfortunately, EU pretends to be stupid when the actual facts don't support EU's side of an argument.

    You are better than this EU. Be yourself. Don't pretend to be ignorant to score meaningless points here.

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    1. Sorry. I'm ignorant but willing to learn.

      What Solana Beach and Carlsbad projects has SANDAG funded the past few years while Encinitas has been in the penalty box?

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    2. 7:07- Thank you Tony for your assessment. Sounds just like some of the stuff you wrote about in the Seaside Courier where you trashed a few people. Your particular style of writing shows, and if it isn't you then it is someone who writes very much like you. Your comment about Jerome Stocks, who I also personally dislike, was way over the top in my opinion. You are an elected politician. No need to be so snippy about others. Perhaps anger management classes would serve you well if you want another term, which I am pretty sure you do. Just a thought. If it isn't you, then it's one of the many people you have convinced that we should bow down to the developers. Would love to publish my name, but I'm not interested in your anger directed toward me, as it was toward a certain person on the beach a while back.

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    3. 9:21,

      I'm 7:07, and I'm not Tony. Instead of playing Guess the Anon, why not respond to the content of the post.

      I think EU was being disingenuous, and pretending to be ignorant in his framing of this post. Do you agree or disagree, and why?

      As to be being pro developer, not exactly. I think we should restrict development as much as we legally can, but there is a broader context for the Housing Elemebt Update that shapes my personal thinking:

      • I believe we should follow all state laws, unless it would be immoral to do so.

      • I believe in democracy. I think it's the job of staff and elected officials to put a compliant HEU on the ballot. I do not blame them or get angry with them for actions and decisions that lead to the vote--it's their job. Some (many, most?) commenters here would rather not have a vote. I trust elections.

      • California has among the highest cost of living of the 50 states, and housing is a major component of that cost. This suggests a supply/demand imbalance. Companies and good jobs are leaving the state, because companies can lower their payroll costs by moving to places with lower housing costs. The health of our statewide economy affects all of us.

      •On a percentage basis, the number of new potential units implied by the HEU isn't very big. If you look at the housing unit growth in the 80s, 90s, or 00s, those were much more significant periods of growth. The proposed HEU will not change my life one iota.

      • If we can use overlays to impose actual affordability, I would support that.

      • Finally, I don't give a crap about developers, and I don't know any, don't socialize with any, don't have any financial interest in them. But I also don't blame them for pursuing profits. From the comments here, I am amazed at how many people can live in such an expensive place while working for non-profits; either that, or there are a lot of hypocrites in our midst.

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    4. Wrong because you're ignoring the fundamental point: There is no "affordable housing" in Encinitas without subsidies. There are effectively no subsidies because the list for renters is years long. Potential buyers don't have the down payment that would let them pay the subsidized monthlies.

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    5. 9:11, What I think you mean to say is that legally, the City cannot unilaterally impose affordable housing prices on developers, which is true. But overlay zones don't do that. They use a carrot, not a stick to influence the voluntary production of actual affordable units.

      The base zoning doesn't go away, so builders have a right to buy land and develop it per the underlying zone without any consideration of affordability.

      The overlay zone represents an optional package if incentives coupled with affordability restrictions. Incentives can include fast track project approvals and permits (faster time to revenue), higher density than the underlying zone, higher height limits, etc. In trade for these incentives, developers must agree to covenants on some or all units (typically 25-100%) that cap sales or rental prices based on affordability formulas (prices are tied to actual regional wages for people in various income deciles).

      It's a system that creates actual affordable units (Google San Clemente Place, in Corte Madera), without direct monetary subsidies for either the builder or the people living in the units.

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    6. If California didn't let in hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants each and every year for the past 30 years there would be more affordable housing and better schools and services for the legal citizens and legal immigrants who come to the USA following the rules.

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    7. 10:22

      Wrong again. The land and development costs make low-income housing impossible to profit by. What results is high density market rate housing. That's exactly what you and other developers want. And you're pretending to be affordable housing advocates to get it.

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    8. 11;42,

      I believe you are missing the point.

      I agree with you that straight R-30 upzoning will do nothing for affordable housing. It will result in dense development of luxury condos, just as you say.

      But overlay zones do not let that happen. If the underlying zone is R-8, and the overlay zone allows for R-30, fast track permit approvals, etc, but also requires affordability covenants on some or all units, then there can only be two outcomes:

      a.) the developer looks at the overlay incentives and restrictions, and decides he can't make money, so he opts to build at the underlying R-8 density (note that this scenario effectively results in no zone change at all--the developer must play by the rules as we have them today).

      b.) The developer decides that the package of incentives and affordability restrictions pencils out. He gets to build at R30, but by accepting the overlay, he is also committed to provide some or all units at affordable rates.

      There is no option C for high-density market rate condos. It is a forced choice between accepting the low density zoning (as it is today), and producing real, verifiable, auditable, affordable units.

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    9. "some or all units at affordable rates."

      Typical developer PR BS. Very vague. How many? What percentage? How many strings are you going to pull, demand how many exceptions and allowances, grease how many palms, compromise how many standards, screw how many neighbors, pull how many scams?

      The community is not buying what you're selling. Go away!

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    10. Thank you, 3:52! The sad fact for developers is that many, many more than the former handful are now onto them and their BS has lost its ability to persuade. Oh, and they can thank themselves for that...they are their own messenger.

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    11. 3:52,

      The portion of units that must be "affordable" to different income groups is defined in the overlay zone itself.

      Think of the overlay zone as a take it or leave it package of incentives and restrictions.

      Incentives, from a developer's perspective are the increase in density and or height. Incentives might also include an accelerated permitting process or waived/reduced fee requirements.

      Restrictions obviously include specific percentages of units that must be affordable to specific income tiers. If we want to say 100% of the constructed units must be affordable, we can. We can further break down the affordable unit targets by income group.

      The whole package of incentives and restrictions must be evaluated together. If the developer decides that the net effect of incentives and restrictions offers a better financial return than developing at the base zoning, then they will opt for the overlay. If not, then they don't.

      Here's the rub.

      There is a temptation to use overlay zones to create the appearance of a viable affordable housing option, but without substance. We could do that by making sure the overlay zone is a bad deal for developers, with crappy incentives, and very burdensome restrictions.

      This won't fly with HEU. And even if you could get it through once, the next time we go through HEU, they are going to only give us RHNA relief for overlay zones based on the actual rate of affordable into creation in those zones since the last update.

      In other words, if we poison the overlay zones to make them unusable for affordable housing, it will come back to bite us later.

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    12. IOW, the deck is stacked against the residents. Developers, the BIA and other special interest groups have succeeded at heavily tilting the playing field toward them at the state, county and local levels. Then they claim not to be serving themselves but providing affordable housing. BS, BS and more BS.

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    13. Which would you rather see on the ballot and why:

      1.) An HEU with straight up R-30 rezoning (high density market rate condos).
      2.) Overlay zones with restrictions that force developers to create actual affordable units.

      One of them is going to be on the ballot. Even if you plan to vote no on either, which one should be on the ballot and why?

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    14. Devil is in the details. How big are the overlay zones and where are they?

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    15. How many "affordable" units? How many market rate units? How many acres developed?

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  5. 7:07

    Encinitas is missing the opportunity to APPLY for some grants and to compete for them with whoever else applies.

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    1. Not sure I understand your point.

      If we can't apply, then ipso facto we are blocked from receiving grant money.

      Seems like a distinction without a difference.

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    2. Just because Encinitas applies for a grant is no guarantee that they will get it. The benefit and size of these grants is exaggerated.

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    3. Right. But being ineligible to apply for a grant does guarantee that we will NOT get it.

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    4. The implication of saying Encinitas is missing out on grants is that they're there for the taking. The fact is we might get a tiny percentage of those we could apply for.

      It's misleading to grossly exaggerate the possibilities. The intent is to make it seem that if we had an approved housing element, the grants would start rolling in. They wouldn't. Study the history.

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    5. OK then, what's an example of a grant we missed out on APPLYing for, and was it really for something we need, and what were the chances of getting it anyway?

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    6. Don't know any.

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  6. Actually, it was Mark and Kristin that brought home the bacon on the 'free' money.

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    1. Are you sure you don't mean he ate the bacon?

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    2. Yeah! Fat jokes.

      It's funny because bacon is high in fat, and eating too much might make you overweight like Mark Muir, right?

      Did I get it right?

      Good stuff. Clap-clap.

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    3. Ohhhh the PC police are alive and well in Encinitnas...sleep well.

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    4. "PC Principal" is the latest Southpark show last week. The boys and their families meet PC Principal the social justice bully, and his bully friends-

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    5. It's not about political correctness. Fat jokes are lame, stupid, and lazy, just like the people who post them.

      The fat joke shaming will continue.

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    6. 9:24 AM Better get on your oxygen to stem the trauma.

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    7. Actually 1:11 the joke is on you..Fat people are lame, stupid and lazy just like the people they are.

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    8. 10:52, I watched that episode last night. But let's let EUers decide for their self if Caityn Jenner is stunning and brave....

      http://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s19e01-stunning-and-brave

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    9. 1:11 PM Actually you encourage the fat jokes by your innane response. You're a whiner.

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  7. If it was voted on at a council meeting, then credit needs to go to the others who voted "Yes" on this issue.

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  8. In my 22 years living in Leucadia I don't recall ONE child being killed by the train at Portal nor any other crossing legal or illegal. I do recall nearly a dozen suicides on the tracks in Leucadia, but none in Solana Beach. To install an underpass at Portal is to ignore the 60-100 ton train that rips through the community several dozen times a day. It's like putting a bandage on a bullet hole.

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    1. Deaths by train in Encinitas average one per year. If the rails were below grade, that number would be zero.

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    2. As I recall, a two year old wandered on to the tracks in the early 1990's and was killed. The child lived on Vulcan south of Leucadia Blvd.

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    3. At two years of age she wasn't headed to PE School nor would she know how to use an underpass....If the tracks were below grade this never would have happened. Again, the 100 ton giant kills another.

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    4. I have been in Leucadia for over 20 years and have always wanted the tracks lowered. But unless you come up with $150 Million (or more) it's not going to happen. As far as banking the grant money towards undergrounding, those grants usually come with a "use or lose it" stipulation. So if it can't be the perfect solution, you don't want to do anything. And it's not just school kids who will use it, a lot of people going the other way, over to 101 will use it.

      But I'm willing to change my mind. Just tell us where the $150M is coming from. And not generalities, where specifically are you going to get the money?

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    5. SANDAG plans to spend $6.5 billion — that's billion with a "b" — by 2040 in the North Coast transportation corridor. Only $820 million of that is allocated for the rail right-of-way.

      By reallocating from roads to rails, the tracks could be trenched through the whole North Coast.

      One new ped/bike crossing in 2.5 miles doesn't cut it.

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    6. 11:54, I agree. It's a nown fact that suicides would end if they lower the traks.

      - Sylvia

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    7. As if Streetscape preserves Leucadia's historic scorched earth policy, 3:51. Trenching the tracks will always be possible - even after all 5 tunnels are completed. (Perhaps not probable). But the tunnels are no reason to discard the many signatures gathered to date for more at grade crossings wherever possible for the length of the corridor.
      The tunnel at El Portal is pretty essential because of better access to and from the school / Farmers Market but will work nicely with the roundabout on the highway and open a new door for hundreds of pedestrians / bikes daily. The one at Santa Fe is extremely well used and so will be the tunnel at El Portal.

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    8. Borrow the Coronado Bay Bridge net to catch suicides.

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  9. Another death knell for ever lowering the tracks, especially when we could have gotten a dozen safe at grade crossings for the same dollars and still have the tracks lowered being under consideration.

    I am sure the transportation folks are ecstatic with this newest development at El Portal. Sayonara to trenching the tracks. Too bad. Our community will remain divided when it could have been unified.

    Streetscape got their parking on the right of way, whoopee. Where were they when it comes to creating more crossings for safe access across the tracks? Rather silent on this, eh, Streetscape? The limited view of their plans and the homogenizing of our community character to look like too many other beach towns is a travesty.

    Oh yea, one last question to these proponents. Why are there so many roundabouts north of Leucadia Blvd and only one south of Leucadia Blvd.? Wasn't the intent of these clusterf......to improve traffic flow? If so, why weren't they placed at somewhat equal distance from each other along the whole way? As has been observed already, people race over the speed limit heading south from Leucadia Blvd with no stops until Juanita's. Just brilliant guys.

    5, or is it 6 now, roundabouts north of Leucadia Blvd and 1 south of Leucadia Blvd.? Answer that Carris and company. If this was allowed to be voted on by the public, it would be shelved and told to come back with some drastic changes. Spacing the roundabouts evenly along the corridor makes sense for what their intentions say they are after but is that what we get from streetscam. Hardly.

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    1. Stop worrying about streetscape, it's done. L101 is more interested in artsy, fartsy, feelgood nonsense like murals, painting SDGE transformer boxes and having "fun on the 101". Meanwhile the train continues to kill.....

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    2. Yup, we sure love all those people dying in Leucadia, what a blast! Come on, no one likes that. It will take a rather large grant from the government to get the whole route through town put underground. Short of that, it's good news that we will at least have one safe crossing down by the school.

      -MGJ

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    3. MGJ- exactly, let's concentrate on the feel good parts of Leucadia like the weeds and dirt in the center medians.

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    4. Pave paradise put up a parking lot.

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  10. 7:30, removing acres of asphalt for Streetscape landscaped medians makes your song fit better elsewhere.

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  11. We have unpaved medians already. Are they not contemplating paving the east side of 101 for more parking?

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  12. 5:29, Yes, we have unpaved medians already and they're not slated to be sealed with asphalt but enhanced with trees and various other plants. Leucadia Blvd is a great example of a variety of attractive plants (thanks to especially Sheila!) What we don't have from around 1 mile south of Cadmus St on N 101 are natural medians. They will be planted with trees, specifically to continue a green canopy (eventually) for the entire 2 mile stretch from La Costa Ave to Encinitas Blvd. A great vision to be restored and one long overdue in most people's humble opinions. Creating live medians requires the removal of literally acres of asphalt. What's not to like about that unless you work for Readycrete? Reminds me of when they daylighted Cottonwood Creek (Thanks especially to Brad!) Check out the trees in that park today. WOW. And instead of a beautiful park with a creek able to breathe again, it came so close to being Red Richies car lot. There are a lot of great things the city has done for us all in the last 29 years and I believe Leucadia Streetscape will prove to be another one. Thx....

    As far as parking on the east side of 101, I belived they are contemplating what they've done on the west side of Vulcan for cars: permeable gravel. There will be some hardscape "pop ins" at bus stops and a little at roundabouts. That's about it.

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  13. Not too surprising that the question posed directed toward the streetscam folks about the placing of the 7? [who really knows by now] roundabouts not being equally separated along the corridor was ignored. One south of Leucadia Bvd and six ? north of Leucadia Blvd. If the intention was to control traffic flows with these, then why were they not evenly spaced along the 2.7 miles? Everyone knows some speed up going south until the stop sign. The accidents that have occurred over the last year or so are mostly along that stretch. Streetscape answer up. Try to justify your plan with these traffic controls located where they are presently. Inquiring minds want to know.

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  14. Its not a scam to provide better circulation at important intersections, 3:52. Nor is it one to beautify them or make passage for cars, peds and bikes safer.

    Placing roundabouts equally apart sounds like the right thing to do, but there are variables to consider in various venues and ours requires special attention at the north end. It would probably be equal if Neptune's traffic only went south, but it only goes north. That's NOT a strategy for "cut through" traffic but for all residents ever wanting to safely exit onto the hwy making left turns (historically, the most unsafe turning direction).

    La Costa Ave - essential (and already funded)
    Bishops Gate - essential (the only exit/entrance for Sea Bluffe)
    Grandview - essential (last chance to exit Neptune safely.)
    Jupiter - minor but helpful
    El Portal - essential (and works well for the underpass)

    Don't know where the "2 more N of Leucadia Blvd are at you cite. But yes, a few more south of Leucadia Blvd might be helpful or trade off Jupiter's.

    According to a staff member, N 101 will be getting light up "Your Speed" signs in a few important places. That'll raises consciousness too.

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    1. None of the proposed roundabouts is essential.

      Roundabouts are intended for four-way intersections where the traffic is approximately equal in each direction. They're not intended for T intersections where the traffic in two directions overwhelms the traffic from the third direction. They achieve nothing positive at those locations.

      La Costa Ave: The light works great there, as it has for decades.

      Hotel entrance: Public money spent at a private driveway entrance. That roundabout would be 230 feet from the one at La Costa Ave. Who thinks that's a good idea?

      Bishop's Gate: Public money spent at a private driveway entrance. If Sea Bluff residents don't want to turn north at their driveway, they can go south to Grandview or the turnout opposite the Sands Mobile Home Park and make a U turn, which is what their next door neighbors at Pacifica do.

      Grandview: If this were a four-way intersection with ~ equal traffic in all directions, a roundabout here would make a little sense, but it's a T intersection. People exiting Grandview to go south or north will have to stop, wait for a break in the dominant traffic directions and proceed. That's what they do at the stop sign now, so a million-dollar roundabout that also requires taking private property carries no benefit.

      Jupiter: Makes no sense whatsoever. That's a no brainer. It was probably included in the plan because Keith Harrison owned the north corner property at Jupiter and Charles Marvin's motel is just south of the intersection. Prop A foiled Harrison's big plans for his corner, so he sold the property. Marvin remains and so does the plan for the Jupiter roundabout.

      The claim that the proposed Jupiter and Grandview roundabouts will make left turns safer there is bogus. Drivers would still have to stop and negotiate through the dominant north and south traffic.

      To get to those intersections, any driver from north of Leucadia Blvd. and west of 101 would have to go north on Neptune. It's a 25 mph neighborhood street heavily used by walkers, runners, surfers, dog walkers, and parents with kids in strollers. Increasing traffic on Neptune carries great hazards.

      As proposed, the Streetscape plan leaves 14 T intersections as they are now. If turning left or right from those onto 101 is a great hazard and has been for many decades, that doesn't change. Will drivers go from those T intersections to the nearest roundabout to get onto 101? If so, is safety increased by those people driving on Neptune and other neighborhood streets to do that?

      El Portal: It's 1.2 miles south of Jupiter. Now that the ped/bike underpass has been approved, traffic control there makes more sense. But a traffic light or a ped-activated light like the one near Swami's would be a whole lot safer than a roundabout, especially for kids going to and coming from school.

      Solana Beach has four traffic lights in 1.4 miles, not counting Via de la Valle. Have people felt burdened driving through Solana? Leucadia has one traffic light in the 2.5 miles between La Costa Ave. and Encinitas Blvd.

      A much better plan for Streetscape is parking in the whole length of the RR right-of-way east of 101 and ped-activated flashers at crosswalks every two blocks. Carlsbad and Solana Beach have them on 101.

      The road and crossing elements of Streetscape are not very well thought through. They're also not popular. The vast majority of Leucadia 101 corridor residents who know its features are against it. The city is colluding with the merchants' association it subsidizes to impose a plan that most residents don't want.

      Survey residents west of the freeway and between Encinitas Blvd. and La Costa Ave. Find out what they want along 101 in Leucadia. Don't impose a plan the overwhelming majority doesn't want.

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    2. "La Costa Ave: The light works great there, as it has for decades."

      They thought about keeping it, but were just tired of more fatalities and tons of gas needlessly burned.

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  15. You can't fix 8:13.

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  16. I thought this was interesting. EU asks repeatedly what grants we miss out on by not having a certified Housing Element.

    Linked below is the SANDAG policy 033 that chokes off funds to municipalities without a Housing Element in compliance with state law.

    In Table 1, one of the grant categories were are ineligible for is Regional Rail Grade Separation Program. (i.e. trenching of the tracks)

    I found this interesting, given the level of interest in trenching on this thread. It also says spice of funds for that program is TBD, but if they do identify funding, we won't be allowed to compete.

    http://www.sandag.org/organization/about/pubs/policy_033.pdf

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