By Claire Harlin
After responding to overwhelming community opposition by scrapping a plan to decrease east Lomas Santa Fe Drive from four lanes to two lanes, the City of Solana Beach is breezing through the approval process of a new traffic calming plan, with the Solana Beach City Council on Oct. 10 unanimously voting to award a construction contract of $285,780 to PAL General Engineering Inc.
Previously approved by the council on March 14, the plan consists of two years in the making and includes a number of roadway changes, to be completed in March. On Highland Drive, from Sun Valley to Lomas Santa Fe, the city will construct a curb, gutter and sidewalk on the west side and widen the east side, adding a bike lane south of the entrance to San Dieguito Park. Plans also include re-striping to add a two-way left turn median there.
Highland Drive from Lomas Santa Fe to Via La Senda will see the raising of medians and the re-striping to include bike lanes. Lomas Santa Fe just west of Highland will feature curb ramp pop-outs. Ladder-style crosswalks will also be placed on Highland Drive at the intersections of Sun Valley, Via La Senda and Lomas Santa Fe.
Eleven companies came forward in the bidding process, and PAL was the least expensive. Located in UTC, PAL specializes in asphalt maintenance, concrete construction and other service like ADA compliance and excavation. The city is under its allocated $400,000 for traffic improvements via stimulus dollars that are specifically designed for such roadway maintenance. The previous plan that met contention was estimated to cost more than $400,000.
Solana Beach City Council member Mike Nichols said he is pleased with the project but would like to see a particular alternative implemented: a retaining wall west of the Highland Drive to support the slope there.
“We listened and we have a project here that I think will truly calm traffic,” Nichols said, adding that the community will finally get the sidewalk it’s been asking for.