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Encinitas City Council Approves New Bike Lane Markings on Coast Highway

Bicyclists can soon use full shared lanes on a portion of Coast Highway 101.

Wednesday night Encinitas City Council agreed to move forward with installing bike lanes and creating a road diet on a portion of Coast Highway 101.

The Encinitas City Council voted unanimously, in a 4-0 vote with Mayor Jerome Stocks absent, to approve two items related to bike lanes. The council approved the first item, the installation of shared lane markings, also called sharrows. Bicyclists may use the full lanes, which will be posted on Coast Highway 101 between K Street and La Costa Avenue.  

The second item was a road diet and an installation of a class II bike lane going northbound on Coast Highway 101 between Leucadia Boulevard and La Costa Avenue.

Details of the road diet were drafted for the council meeting by Greg Shields the Interim Director of Engineering/Public Works, Rob Blough the Traffic Engineer and Ed Deane, Senior Civil Engineer.

Key points of the road diet include:

  • A striping plan will be created to merge the northbound traffic lanes from two lanes to one going north of the signalized intersection of Leucadia Boulevard. 
  • One lane will be used to moderate the flow of traffic and speed while having a dedicated bike lane.
  • A single lane will become two lanes prior to the signalized intersection at La Costa Avenue.  
  • The road diet only changes the striping and would not require any physical improvements to the road.
  • The roadway has to be repainted after the overlay and the cost is minimal.

A total of seven public speakers voiced their support for installation of sharrows and the road diet.

Among the speakers was Elena Thompson, a 25 year resident of Leucadia, a volunteer member of the , Encinitas Bike and Pedestrian Committee and numerous other bike organizations. Thompson spoke on the behalf of the Leucadia 101 and said she is in full support of the projects.

“Where can you even park your car in the summer in Encinitas?” Thompsons asked. “Doesn’t it make sense to have alternative capacity that include bike lanes and safe transport for our community as well as the visitors who want to come here?”

Thompson also said there were other related issues that make bicycling a good option, including reducing environment pollution by getting more cars off the roadways and fighting obesity trends by promoting an active lifestyle.

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Serge Issakov February 21, 2013 at 11:30 PM
I think it's very difficult for a bicyclist accustomed to riding near the road edge to realize how much their choice in positioning affects the behavior of passing motorists (especially with respect to inviting dangerously close passes), and how much they could influence it for the better by moving to the center of the lane, or just left of center. It makes such an enormous positive difference that I don't know anyone who has seriously tried it and has gone back to edge riding.
Jay Berman February 22, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Cars go faster than bikes, we have spend millions in this county on bike lanes, but no, that's not enough, now we have to slow up vehicle traffic that includes commercial vehicles .. it's not right ... Los Angeles is trying to take a northbound lane from Sepulveda Blved in West LA, already a crowded mess .. for bicycle lanes ... just bizarre ...
billdsd February 22, 2013 at 01:29 AM
The main problem with your argument is a total lack of reality. I also drive plenty and I almost never have to slow down for bicycles. The reason is that when I see a bicycle in front of me I move over as soon as I safely can, which is usually very soon. I do the exact same thing when I see a bus or any other slow traffic in front of me. It's ridiculously easy. Bicycles aren't actually slowing down traffic. Claims that they are are nothing but attempts to rationalize delusions of entitlement that are in turn based upon not understanding the rules of the road in the first place. Learn to change lanes to pass bicycles in the same way that you do for all other slow traffic. Most of the slow traffic on the road isn't bicycles. Moving over to pass a bicycle is no different and no more difficult than doing so for a bus. The only difference is your belief that you shouldn't have to.
Serge Issakov February 22, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Reducing the speed of traffic, which is a goal and effect of the lane diet here, between traffic signals makes little to no difference in actual travel time, but it can make an enormous difference in making an area much more conducive to human life, including those moving about by means that are not motored. This is especially true when we're talking about a road used for relatively short trips only. No one in a motor vehicle going very far north or south of Encinitas is going to use the 101 when there is a parallel route that is a freeway a mile away. Facilitating high speed motor travel here serves no practical purpose that benefits anyone to any significant degree. Yesterday I had to go north to Carlsbad between 5pm and 6pm and I-5 was backed up, so we drove north from Del Mar to Carlsbad. Compared to Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff, and downtown Encinitas, traffic was _fast_ through Leucadia, especially the one-lane part. This is a non-issue. It's the red lights and stop signs that cause serious slowing and congestion, not the lane reductions.
Serge Issakov February 22, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Jay Berman, the point of the Bikes May Use Full Lane signs is to clarify what the sharrows mean. But the sharrows and BMUFL signs are more for the information of bicyclists and law enforcement than for motorists. Experienced and trained cyclists have known for years that the legal, safest and most courteous method of bicyclist travel on the 101 here is by controlling the narrow lane. As Bill can attest, law enforcement was not convinced that the 21202(a)(3) narrow lane exception applied here. What the sharrows do is remove that legal ambiguity - traffic engineers have determined the lane is "too narrow for safe side-by-side sharing", therefore 21202 does not apply, and so lane control of the right/slow lane by bicyclists is legal. If the occasional ignorant motorist is now dissuaded from honking at us because of the new treatments, great, but that's a relatively minor benefit, since that was never a big problem in the first place. So, in addition to removing the legal ambiguity regarding 21202(a)(3) for law enforcement, the main benefit is now bicyclists who normally wouldn't dare leave the road edge are now encouraged to do so, and so they too can experience how much safer and more comfortable riding conspicuously in the traffic lane can be. What do you think of this infographic? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=156467597843296&set=a.153173691506020.33612.135322779957778&type=1&theater
billdsd February 22, 2013 at 08:49 PM
The law is not ambiguous. Some law enforcement officers are not very good at reading or logic, especially when they are trying to pretend that the law supports their preconceived notions about what bicyclists are supposed to do. They read the law and do not see what it says. They see what they want it to say, which is very different. I was pulled over on south bound 101 through Leucadia for controlling the lane. If I had not been carrying a copy of CVC 21202 in my pack, I would have gotten a ticket. I showed the law enforcement officer exactly where the law says that the conditions exempted me from the requirement to ride far right. She was angry but she couldn't argue that the law didn't say what it clearly says and she couldn't argue that those conditions did not exist. The lane was clearly too narrow for a bicycle and a car to travel safely side by side within the lane and it is dangerous to ride close to parked cars and I was continuously approaching places where a right turn is authorized. That's three conditions satisfying two exceptions ((a)(3) and (a)(4)) to the keep right requirement.
Serge Issakov February 22, 2013 at 09:01 PM
I just meant that the subjective element in evaluating whether the "too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane" conditional exception of 21202(a)(3) applies to a given lane is eliminated when the lane is marked with sharrows and signed with Bikes May Use Full Lane by traffic engineers.
Jay Berman February 23, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Serge, the graphic is nice .. but in reality, cars and bikes don't mix .. I still feel someone is going to get hurt ... I now stay off 101 in Leucadia, I use Vulcan ...
billdsd February 23, 2013 at 02:10 AM
How do you know that cars and bikes don't mix? They mix fine when you know how to ride safely. Look at the list of references I posted earlier in this thread. There are classes and books and videos and animations to help you learn.
Lynn Marr February 23, 2013 at 03:30 AM
My neighbor's wife didn't realize, yet, that the lane had been closed to motorists. She thought it was more Sharrows, probably, or was just tired after a long day's work, and confused.. It was the first evening after the change. The lane elimination was NOT yet well marked. Do you think others, perhaps not paying close attention, wouldn't also fail to see the merge sign? Right now a big electronic sign, flashing, has been added, which does make the lane closure for motorists more noticeable. Will we have to pay for that to remain there, permanently? There was no reason why lane elimination for motorists could not have waited, with Sharrows installed going northbound and southbound. Council should expedite the Class 1 bike lane in the rail corridor, not make excuses about breaking EMC, failing to follow our General Plan, 101 Specific Plan and our Local Coastal Program, failing to complete the process of environmental review by analyzing traffic, both bicyclists and motorists, before eliminating a lane on North Highway 101.
Lynn Marr February 23, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Serge, the fact that Encinitas is not following its own municipal code, State Law with respect to the Coastal Act, or our General and No101 Specific Plans, or our LCP (Local Coastal Program) is NOT trivial. Because you claim it could be "cheaply reversed" does not take into account the money the City will spend on defending the appeal filed by the Coastal Commissioners THEMSELVES! Another great expense that you are not taking into account is the loss of public trust. Leucadia residents and local commuters should not be experimented on for a trial run "lane diet" phasing in of L101MA's plan for its "streetscape," which many feel is actually a streetscam, to promote development and commercial special interests at the expense of the community as a whole. In other words, the "ends" which you say you seek do not justify the means, when the City has shortcutted due process of law and disregarded neighborhood concerns. When the methods of implementation are illegal, it doesn't matter how laudatory you claim the benefits to special interest groups will be.
billdsd February 23, 2013 at 03:40 AM
I rode on it on the Thursday evening after it was put in. The big white merge left arrows are hard to miss. The solid white lines and bike lane symbols make it pretty obvious too. Someone who has difficulty realizing that it's a bike lane should not be driving. They lack the basic skills necessary to drive safely. As for there generally being gridlock there before the lane reduction, I have a really, really hard time believing that. I've gone through there thousands of times in the last 27 years and I've never seen it gridlocked. Maybe you don't know what the word gridlock means? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gridlock
Lynn Marr February 23, 2013 at 03:44 AM
People like to drive up and down the Coast, on Highway 101, especially on weekends. Sometimes, especially during "peak periods" I-5 is slowed down significantly, or blocked, and people will also exit to the Coast, a more scenic route. It's completely unrealistic to imagine that commuters, including from Encinitas City Hall, do not use Highway 101, northbound to return home, to cities north or northeast. . . Hwy. 101 is a Historic State Highway, and is not for "destination points only" within the City of Encinitas!
Lynn Marr February 23, 2013 at 03:53 AM
There was tremendous back up, going north, on North 101, when one lane was temporarily closed for the slurry seal process. There was a lot of back-up on Vulcan, approaching Leucadia Blvd, during Wednesday's (2/20) police drama. If there is blockage or significant slowing on I-5, then there will be increased intensification of traffic due to the lane elimination. During the summer months, there is already back up, from people coming home from the fair, or the racetrack, for example. We shouldn't have to prove that there is already a challenge with back-up during peak periods. All these statistics were to be studied through the CDP and design review period, and all the required amendments to our General, N101 Specific plans and our Local Coastal Program. The City should be willing to complete the process, and not to jump ahead, because of emotional, unverified testimony by bicycle club members and political pressure by developers.
Serge Issakov February 23, 2013 at 03:43 PM
Lynn, I'm one of those people that likes to drive up and down the coast. But not when I'm in a hurry! If I'm in a hurry, I take I-5. And if I-5 is backed up, yes, 101 gets more traffic, as it did on Thursday evening between 5-6pm. But other parts of 101, including downtown Encinitas (and Solana Beach and Del Mar), were MUCH slower than the new one lane section through Leucadia. Relatively speaking, the new one-lane section cannot be a cause of backups in and of itself. The traffic light at Leucadia Blvd limits the amount of traffic onto that section more than the intersection at La Costa releases, so it's practically physically impossible for a backup to develop there, unless there is blockage north or east of 101/La Costa, due to a crash or shooting or something, that backs up to the new one lane section. But the one lane design can't be blamed for such a backup.
Serge Issakov February 23, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Jay, so you used to take 101, but now, because of the new treatments, you take Vulcan? Cars and bikes don't mix? So there are no cars on Vulcan? At least 101 has a slow and fast/passing lane, so safe passing is facilitated. Not so on Vulcan. Be careful there. I get much better treatment by motorists on 101 than on Vulcan. That said, I'm also feel someone will get hurt. But not because of the new treatments; in spite of them. There is no way to prevent all crashes. It's all about making conditions safer, not perfectly safe, which is impossible.
Jay Berman February 23, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Serge, 101 is an alternate to I-5, we really don't have many alternatives. I was in LA during the Northridge quake when freeways collapsed, the Loma Prieta quake in the Bay area collapsed briges and freeways ... major accidents on 5 like the one on Camp Pendelton a few years back .... events like this make it difficult or impossible for first responders, supplies and such to get through .. Look at the mess in Leucadia last weeek, I almost got caught up in that ... every city in SD county on 101 is trynig to wreck it with lane diets, roundabouts and such ... this is dangerous and foolish ... For the most part, bicycles are for sport and hobby ... commerce and transportation require roads and highways .... Bike lanes are enough ... I hope th coastal commission steps in and puts an end to this madness ....
Serge Issakov February 23, 2013 at 08:30 PM
No matter how busy 101 might get, the 2-to-1 lane diet can't contribute to back up because the flow allowed in by the light at Leucadia is less than the flow allowed out at La Costa, and one lane is plenty to handle the capacity released by the Leucadia signal. In other words, there could be a million cars trying to get through and the one lane there won't make it worse because the Leucadia signal is a bottle neck.
Serge Issakov February 23, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Jay Berman, bicycles are used for commuting and shopping and motor vehicles are used for recreation like going surfing or going to the gym. More importantly, no one questions the purpose of motorists' trips; to question the purpose of cyclists' trips is nothing but prejudice. Trip purpose should NEVER enter into a cycling discussion, since no one ever questions a motorist's trip purpose. You know you're thought of as a second class road user when your trip purpose is questioned. And bicyclists are not second class road users. We have the SAME rights and duties as vehicle drivers, period. It's sad how many bicyclists are biased against bicyclists. We need to stop that!
Jay Berman February 23, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Serge, we just are not going to agree ... the percentage of people using a bicyclce for anything other than recreation compared to vehicles is amazingly low, Bicycle lanes are enough, shared lanes and lane diets are way too much .. and that is my opinion, I hope now one gets killed or injured and I hope the Coastal Commissions stops this bizarre streetscape reductions ... Can't wait to see how Solana Beach's project works out during fair and race season ... I'm glad Del Mar's proposition failed ... that one was simply ver dangerous ... be careful out there ....
billdsd February 23, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Again Jay, upon what do you base the assertion that shared lanes and lane diets will make the road more dangerous? That idea is the exact OPPOSITE of what real bicycle safety experts say. Take a class. Read a book. Quit pretending that you understand something that you haven't studied.
Jay Berman February 23, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Comon sense Bill ... no "studying" required .... I hope no one gets killed or hurt ...
billdsd February 23, 2013 at 10:30 PM
People claim "common sense" when they lack the knowledge and reasoning skills to make an informed reasoned argument. That's exactly what you are doing here. You think you have common sense. You only have common ignorance. You kind of sort of have a touchy feely sense that it's dangerous. You don't actually know. I know.
Lynn Marr February 23, 2013 at 11:43 PM
What should have happened before the lane elimination was forced on everyone was to complete the process of measuring, both quantifying and qualifying traffic, both motorists and bicyclists, and on North 101, going northbound, in particular, and adjacent street traffic, especially at peak periods, when there is back up, factoring cut through traffic. We already have long term studies of collisions on North 101, presented in the staff report for the 7/18/12 Council Meeting, with specific statistics that demonstrate the intersections along that stretch of highway on North 101 have FEWER COLLISIONS and a better safety record than that of similar intersections throughout California. So despite the emotional testimony of bicyclists on 1/30/13, speaking primarily about accidents that happened elsewhere, with the exception of one accident caused by a drunk driver drifting into lane two at 1 in the morning, which wouldn't have been prevented by lane elimination for motorists, there are NO FACTS and there is NO COMMON SENSE, no studies to back up the elimination of an entire lane for northbound motorists on North Hwy. 101. Please spare us talking about "common ignorance," when it is those who have already formed all their preset conclusions who are IGNORING the facts, massaging the data, and disregarding our own Local Coastal Program and Coastal Act Law.
Lynn Marr February 23, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Serge, if you use logic, what can and will happen is that the back-up at the Leucadia traffic signal will become longer, if cars are unable to advance. And there are no plans to remove that signal through L101MA's "Streetcam" plan.
Lynn Marr February 24, 2013 at 12:52 AM
"At least 101 has a slow and fast/passing lane, so safe passing is facilitated." Not so, where there is ONLY ONE LANE FOR MOTORISTS, northbound on North Hwy 101. There IS NO SAFE PASSING LANE!
billdsd February 24, 2013 at 10:49 AM
Sorry Lynn but it is you is ignoring the facts and reality. Your ideas are based on emotion. Not facts. Not reality.
billdsd February 24, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Really? No safe passing lane for passing other motorists? For a whole mile, you have to obey the speed limit? Really? The horror. The horror.
Lynn Marr February 24, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Sorry, billdsd, but I am basing my statements on the facts as reported in City Staff reports, and the letter to the City from the Coastal Commission, sent on January 23. It's very obvious that you are turning this into "did not, did to," when the facts stated in the staff reports speak for themselves . . . It is Council who is now being hypocritical, changing the rules "mid-game." Council started the process of getting a Coastal Development Permit and Design Review Permit on 3/15/10. Part of that process includes amending our General Plan, our N101 Specific Plan and our Local Coastal Program, BECAUSE the North 101 Streetscape includes lane elimination on North Highway 101. This cannot be accomplished without the City coming back with statistical traffic analysis to answer questions posed by CALTRANS and the City of Carlsbad, as well as members of the public. Staff must use the statistical analysis to demonstrate that there would be "operational characteristic adequacy" with road elimination. I support my statements on facts, on legal process as described in the City's own public documents, staff reports for Council Meetings on 1/13/10, 12/15/10 and 6/27/12 and 7/18/12. You base your "reality" on ignoring and twisting what others say so that you can stick to your close-minded, pre-formed, and biased conclusions.
Lynn Marr February 24, 2013 at 02:42 PM
billdsd, I was responding to a comment maid by Serge: "At least 101 has a slow and fast/passing lane, so safe passing is facilitated. Not so on Vulcan. Be careful there." Again, billdsd, you are taking what other commentators say out of context. The speed limit should be obeyed; it was fairly recently lowered to 35 MPH. I believe everyone posting here is on the "side of safety." That one mile stretch of North 101 should NOT be singled out for lane elimination for motorists traveling northbound. The evidence of collisions does not substantiate that need. The City is bypassing due process of law to effectuate this lane elimination, which is admittedly part of the phasing in of L101MA's Streetscape plan. Encinitas Council is being a total HYPOCRITE. We are expected to follow City process when applying for permits. Yet the City is not following its own process or the Coastal Act Law with respect to getting a Coastal Development Permit. Because a large number of bicyclists rallied repeating unspecified "accidents" over and over, bicyclists who originally had asked for SHARROWS ONLY before the Traffic Commission, does NOT make what the City has now done right. Might doesn't make right. The ends don't justify the means . . .

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