By Marlena Chavira-Medford
Solana Beach City Council and city staff are developing a plan for improvements to Highland Drive and Lomas Santa Fe Drive, a project that aims to calm traffic and enhance the overall streetscape at this intersection.
The preliminary plans include narrowing traffic from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction on Lomas Santa Fe from Highland to Las Banderas. This change would aim to make the area more pedestrian-friendly by adding sidewalks as well as slowing down traffic. This change would be done by simply repainting the traffic lanes, so it could be easily modified as needed. The council anticipates residents on the east side of the city may have feedback regarding this change and are actively seeking their input.
During its April 27 meeting, the council discussed making this a multi-phased project that would include landscaping once the final configurations are determined. Based on feedback provided during that meeting, city staff will now reassess the design plans.
East side Solana Beach resident Roger Boyd was the only one to speak on the issue during the public meeting. While he was in favor of the preliminary plans, he agreed with council that more of his neighbors needed to become involved in the discussion on design plans, adding ‘Boy, do we east side residents need to have more of a say-so on this.”
The council would also like to hear feedback on other portions of the plan, which include: a new sidewalk along the west side of Highland between Lomas Santa Fe and Sun Valley; roadway improvements on Highland from Lomas Santa Fe north of Sun Valley; roadway improvements on Highland between Lomas Santa and Uno Verde; and striping modifications on Lomas Santa Fe and Las Banderas.
This area is one of Solana Beach’s few prominent gateways, so many residents and council members have recommended that the area be enhanced with a new entryway sign. Several neighbors have also expressed concern over speeding drivers in this area, which is especially a concern because pedestrians walk along these streets to reach the nearby San Dieguito County Park. Those issues prompted city staff to launch the project, and last October a contract was awarded to Project Design Consultant (PDC).
The current intersection is controlled by four-way stop signs, and is rather wide with no sidewalks, making it difficult for pedestrians to cross. Adding to the challenge, the northeast quadrant of this intersection is entirely within the County of San Diego’s jurisdiction and the county has no plans to help Solana Beach with any design or costs related to this project.
The design team also explored the option of a four-lane roundabout in this intersection, but determined that would require the right-of-way in all four quadrants, which the city does not have. The team also looked at possibly doing a one-lane roundabout, but that was deemed too costly.