By Claire Harlin
Not only should the city mandate bike parking, but there needs to be more of it in Solana Beach, expressed attendees of a city workshop on Feb. 21 regarding the city’s first comprehensive update to its general plan.
That input was gathered through an informal survey of the some 20 residents who filled the council chambers for the workshop, in which questions relating to land use and circulation were asked and respondents used keypads to give input and see results in real time. Proposed circulation changes aimed at increasing the city’s sustainability and accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists were also outlined, such as implementing specific bike path designations and reducing the size of vehicle paths to allow more room for cyclists and pedestrians. The city has also proposed a decrease from four to two lanes on Stevens Avenue, as well other traffic calming measures.
Solana Beach’s general plan was approved in 1988 and this is the first city’s first attempt at a comprehensive update since then. Chris Morrow, planning director at Project Design Consultants, explained that reducing reliance on automobiles is a primary goal of the update.
Forty percent of residents in attendance at the workshop expressed in the survey that they would like to see an in-street, separated travelway for cyclists with a minimum of three feet of separation from vehicular traffic on Lomas Santa Fe, which is exactly what traffic consultants working on the general plan update have proposed.
Consultants also gauged opinions about ways to reduce automobile traffic associated with pick-up and drop-off at schools, and residents responded that better connected sidewalks, a shuttle or bus service, and children accompanied by other children or parents (“walking school bus”) would be the top solutions. The top reasons parents drive their elementary-aged kids to school are lack of sidewalks and bike paths, the speed of auto traffic and fear of stranger or crime, the survey showed. Urging the connectivity and completion of sidewalks and bike paths is a top priority of the circulation element, which previously focused on vehicular travel when it was created in the 1980s.
With sustainability also being a big focus of the general plan update, consultants also asked residents about programs to attract sustainable projects in Solana Beach. While most said expedited processing or reduced fees for green building projects would be helpful, requiring a “green checklist” and guidebook for developers, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) streamlining and amending the construction and demolition recycling ordinance were almost equally popular solutions. The majority of residents also said charging renters based on the water consumption of their individual unit rather than a flat fee included in rent would be a good program to encourage sustainable behavior. Other popular solutions were providing curbside collection of compostable kitchen waste and initiating a city-wide campaign to increase the use of public transit, walking and biking while reducing energy and water consumption.
In regard to improving public health, residents suggested allowing small farmers markets at places like schools, commercial parking lots or curbside would be effective, as well as adopting an organic community farm and garden ordinance for the planting of organic edible landscapes.
For more information about the general plan or to watch the workshop in its entirety, visit the city’s website at