Historic Preservation Meets Revitalization on North Coast Highway 101
Streets are not timeless blanks. They evolve as cities and societies do, shapeshifting as needed...
Davidson, Justin. “What Is a City Street? And What Will It Become?” New York Magazine 18 Jan. 2018
The Leucadia Streetscape plan focuses on preserving and revitalizing the N Coast Highway 101 Corridor. It strives to restore the landscape of the corridor while evolving the design of this former highway to better serve the community.
The project vision is to create an environment that enhances the safety and lives of residents and visitors in a wide variety of ways. This includes encouraging community engagement, offering space for community gathering, sidewalk dining, the display of retail goods, outdoor public seating and the showcasing of public art. The aim is to achieve these goals while providing vital improvements to safety and accessibility for all residents and visitors.
The Leucadia North Coast Highway 101 Corridor encompasses the approximately 2.5-mile stretch of N Coast Highway 101 from A Street to La Costa Avenue. When Highway 101 was first established in the early 1900’s its primary function was a state highway to connect Los Angeles and San Diego. Since then much has changed, with the construction of the Interstate 5 freeway serving as a high speed replacement artery between the two major cities.
Over time the communities along Hwy 101 have grown and the historic 'highway' has become the local main street for coastal towns, providing a central location for the business district serving both residents and visitors. Today it has evolved into the core of Leucadia’s thriving business district. The Leucadia Streetscape aims to support the growing, diversified use of Hwy 101 while preserving and restoring its history and vitality, and enhancing public safety. This legacy project will benefit Leucadia generations to come.
Businesses like mine thrive when the main street is safe and welcoming to foot traffic. All members of the community benefit from the vibrancy of a gathering place for commerce, art and creativity.
Venessa Johnson, Owner VIXEN Boutique
This legacy project will benefit Leucadia generations to come. Click on the tabs below to see how Leucadia Streetscape will benefit our community.
- Leucadia Streetscape will enhance safety on our highway due to the following factors:
• Anticipated reduction of accidents for all modes of transportation; motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and transit users
- • More efficient roadway design, wider sidewalks for pedestrians, and dedicated bike lanes to separate motor lanes
- • Increased network of sidewalks and crosswalks at all roundabouts and at Leucadia Blvd, Avocado, Phoebe, Daphne, Basil, Marcheta, and A Streets, plus Hawk Pedestrian Signalized crossings at Diana Street and North Court
- • Installation of historic-style street lighting to support nighttime pedestrian use, crossing, and activities
- • Wide, well-marked bike lanes created to increase safety and support bicycle riding for all abilities, resulting in fewer motorist distractions and bike-car conflicts
- According to the Federal Highway Administration: 'Roundabouts improve safety with 90% reduction in fatalities, 76% reduction in industry crashes, 35% reduction in all crashes'
Quality of Life Enhancements
- • Transforms the Highway into a linear park, similar to the Solana Beach Rail Trail; with recreational opportunities, heritage trees, and botanic enahancements throughout
- • Improves access to Highway 101 businesses and the beach, either on foot, or by bike for all users, without the hassle of parking
- • Improves bus stops for users of public transit with overhangs, seating and safe Highway 101 crossings
- • Increases network of sidewalks and crosswalks, and will provide easy access to new parking areas on the rail corridor
- • Gives new opportunities for public art installations, community seating, and historic markers
- • Addresses much-needed updates to the rail corridor such as native, drought tolerant landscaping, ponding and stormwater retention basins
- 80% of Leucadia residents surveyed want to walk or bike to Highway 101 businesses and the beach, but don't feel safe or comfortable getting around on foot or bike.
- • Natural extension of downtown Encinitas Streetscape completed in 2003
- • The plan will create positive community-based economic development within Leucadia
- • Property values are forecasted to increase and promote investment in quality projects
- • Considerable TOT (tourist occupancy tax) increase is anticipated, as a return on investment
- • Welcomes high-quality projects that add to community character and economic vitality
- Downtown Encinitas experienced a 300% increase in sales tax revenue following their downtown streetscape improvements; furthermore validating the potential success of these plans.
- • Reforests Highway 101 with nearly 1,000 new trees, creating a negative carbon offset with the 'linear park' design
- • Reduces carbon emissions as a result of traffic-calming measures and increased pedestrian & bicyclist access
- • Accomplishes many of the City’s ambitious Climate Action Plan goals with a single project
- • Addresses Leucadia’s long standing drainage issues, while reduceing run-off from polluted storm water into our beaches and lagoons
- • Adds drought tolerant landscaping
- Street-scale urban design projects can provide safer, more inviting environments for outdoor physical activities.
Traffic Management & Parking
- • Reduces driving speed
- • Increases the existing parking by nearly 25% through the use of drive lane narrowing and diagonal reverse angle parking
- • Narrows auto travel lanes to 10 feet, and reduces select stretches to one-lane in order to accomodate a dedicated bike lane, park-assist lane, wider sidewalks, and landscaped medians
- • Adds east-side Highway 101 parking pods in the NCTD rail corridor at North Court to Basil Street, Leucadia Blvd. to Diana Street, and Jupiter to Avocado Streets, thus benefiting businesses by increasing safe parking options for customers
- • Increases crosswalks at Leucadia Boulevard, Phoebe, Daphne, Basil, Marcheta, and A Streets
- • Adds Hawk Pedestrian Signalized crossings at Diana Street and North Court
- • Adds Roundabouts at El Portal, Jupiter, Grandview, Bishop’s Gate, La Costa (optional) and New Road (optional)
- • Incorporates lane configurations including:
- • One lane Southbound from La Costa Ave. to Phoebe St.
- • One lane Southbound from Leucadia Blvd. to A St.
- • One lane Southbound Northbound from Marcheta to Europa Streets
- *Two lanes remain for the 350ft approaching and exiting La Costa Ave., Leucadia Blvd., and Encinitas Blvd allowing autos to cue leading in and out of signalized intersections
- • Planting of close to 836 new trees throughout the corridor
- • Preservation of 90.5% of the existing tree canopy
- • Total of 1,000+ trees along the corridor
- • Tree types: California Sycamore, Monterey Cypress, Coastal Live Oak, Torrey Pine
We tend not to like open, scary places, and we try to get through them quicker. Somehow the canopy effect of tree-lined streets slows traffic.
Dan Burden, Co-founder and former Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities (WALC) Institute
Downtown Encinitas Streetscape Completed
Initiation of Community Visioning for Leucadia's Streetscape Project
City Council Approval of Leucadia's Streetscape
2010 - 2018
Gathering Community Input, Property Owner Feedback , Study & Fine Tuning
March 1, 2018
Planning Commission Approval of Permits to Proceed
March 21, 2018
City Council Approved Permits to Proceed
Unanimous Approval by the California Coastal Commission (October 11th)
How many lanes are in the plan?
After construction, Hwy 101 will be a 3 lane highway. This allows for turn pockets on and off the Highway to access businesses and neighborhoods without stopping cars behind. The configuration alleviates 'friction' between bikes, cars and parking. The three lane configuration allows for a ‘park-assist’ lane. This means parking cars will no longer stop traffic behind. There will most likely only be 4 roundabouts through the corridor because La Costa Ave roundabout and 'New Road' roundabout will not be constructed if the Encinitas Beach Resort stays on track to begin construction fall of 2019.
Won't reducing the lanes lead to more traffic jams?
Bird Rock La Jolla's Streetscape project gives us very good insight into how Leucadia's Streetscape will function. After construction, Bird Rock's 5 lane road with 5 traditional Intersections became a 2 lane road of smoothly moving traffic that no longer has to stop. Birdrock also saw average daily trips decrease from 21,000-24,000 to 19,500. Bird Rock was a more heavily used corridor than ours. A major goal of the Streetscape project is to alleviate congestion caused by cut-through traffic and improve auto circulation for residents, beach goers and patrons of Leucadia's small businesses.
Is cyclist safety taken into consideration?
Cyclists have embraced the enhanced safety promised with the 2010 approved Leucadia Streetscape plans. This includes the cyclist groups and the ages '8-80' casual riders who will benefit from a dedicated bike lane (no more sharrows) and a multi-use path on the east side of the Highway. Slower vehicular speeds also support enhanced safety for all users of the road, including autos.
Will the changes increase neighborhood cut-through traffic from the I-5?
If no changes were made to the Highway 101 corridor we can expect a 40% increase in I-5 cut-through traffic in addition to the 17-20,000 current daily vehicular trips through our corridor by the year 2035. Traffic calming measures on Hwy 101 are designed to reduce speeds of cars entering neighborhoods and dictate improved driver behavior (preventing weaving in and out of lanes, etc). The traffic calming measures in the plan are a deterrent for those I-5 travellers who would use Leucadia's roads as an alternate to the freeway.
Does the Leucadia Streetscape invite more high density development to N. Coast Hwy 101?
The N Coast Hwy 101 Streetscape project does not change any zoning, height restrictions or density requirements.
Will emergency response times increase due to the Leucadia Streetscape?
The Encinitas Fire Department has been very clear that emergency response times are properly addressed in the project's Environmental Impact Report and are confident that road's proposed width offers ample clearance for emergency vehicles. The new dedicated bike lane and park-assist lane provide additional clearance for cars to pull over for emergency vehicles. Currently on N Coast Highway 101 during high volume traffic, emergency vehicles can be restricted by gridlock.
Does the Leucadia Streetscape project restrict beach access?
The project seeks improved access to the beach by creating safer pathways to cross Highway 101 on foot or by bike. Not only will additional parking be added to the corridor with the streetscape project, demand for parking is likely to decrease when neighbors feel safe moving about Leucadia without having to get in a car to access the beach and businesses. East-side residents of the Highway and rail will have safe, legal crossings for the first time.
Will the plan cause more traffic congestion?
A dedicated auto travel lane in each direction reduces friction between cars, bikes and pedestrians, cutting down on the time cars on Highway 101 spend stopped waiting. Cars will be traveling at lower speeds, roundabouts facilitate more efficient intersections and create less back-up congestion than four-way and even three way stops. Motorists have fewer distractions, bike-car conflict and less frustration without having to negotiate lanes shared with cyclists, parking cars and pedestrians.