By Claire Harlin
The Solana Beach City Council approved Nov. 16 the final design of the Highway 101 West Side Improvement Project, opening for bid a sweeping revitalization effort that will begin as early as next spring and greatly change the appearance of the 101.
The $5 million plan, funded by the city’s San Diego Association of Governments TransNet allocation, will add elements such as continuous sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic-calming features, gathering places and medians that contain foliage.
“I’ve been on this council for 20 years and this is something we’ve been dreaming of a long time,” said Councilman Joe Kellejian. “Not only will it change the design and appearance, but it will drastically change the economy too.”
The presentation of final plans follows an Aug. 31 special meeting in which direction was provided in council discussion and in public testimony. That direction includes the elimination of reverse-angle parking, the utilization of decorative streetlight and traffic signal poles, and the addition of four new crosswalks. The city also wants to remove all existing newspaper racks and work with providers to relocate and use uniform, decorative racks.
The council has also selected tree grates with the City’s emblem on them, and the number of trees will increase from 32 to 77. Trees will be planted in median areas wider than eight feet, according to the plan. Planners also presented a variety of trees chosen for their low maintenance qualities, from median trees to accent trees.
In response to a recommendation from the council, planners are also adding about 12 benches to the final plan.
The Highway 101 West Side Improvements Project will include 11 unique gathering areas, each containing their own structural and design features, artwork and seating.
Planners also told the council that there will be a 50 percent increase in parking along Highway 101.
Solana Beach resident Peter House, who also serves as president of the Highway 101 Village Walk Association, congratulated the council on the plan. “What’s not to like?” he said.
Councilman Mike Nichols, a landscape architect who has been working closely with the city’s planning and design team, extended a “thank you” to those involved.
“It’s been a good collaboration,” he said. “We appreciate the journey so far and look forward to implementation.”