Santa Helena project continues in Solana Beach

Solana Beach City Hall
(Kristina Houck)

A few residents raised concerns about the Santa Helena Neighborhood Trail Project, which would renovate Santa Helena from Sun Valley Road to the San Elijo Lagoon, during a Solana Beach City Council meeting on May 11.

The project would reduce the width of the road, which has one lane per direction but was originally designed for four lanes, and create a neighborhood trail, according to a city staff report. One of the key goals is to calm traffic.

The final project would include one lane in each direction for cars, in addition to bike lanes in both directions, as well as construction of new curbs and gutters along one side, ADA compatible pedestrian ramps, median curbs, storm drains, pavement overlays, traffic markings and signs.

The proposed layout of the road also includes drought-tolerant landscaping and rest areas that each have benches, pedestrian lighting and decorative boulders. The final sign is still being developed by city staff and city contractor MW Peltz.

The 2021-22 budget has $70,000 in county TransNet funding for final design. The current estimated cost for construction of the project is $2.6 million, but no source of funding has been secured yet.

Solana Beach resident Carolyn Davis said she has lived in the area for about 24 years, but wasn’t aware of the public workshops that have taken place. She said during public comment that she was worried about public safety, including people congregating at the newly constructed site.

“I find it very interesting that a plan such as this, that impacts my home, my neighbor’s home, view and the overall temperament of our neighborhood, we believe will be greatly changed by this plan,” said Davis, one of the residents who shared their concerns with council members.

Solana Beach City Councilman David Zito said that the roadway “is supposed to be a moving area, it’s not really meant to be a congregating area.”

“If we do some of these treatments, if you narrow it down, keep it only parallel parking, have a bike lane there, it may do the opposite. It will drive people away who like to floor it on the gas because it won’t have that appeal anymore,” Zito said.

Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner said that the county sheriff, which provides law enforcement in Solana Beach, would be able to handle any issues that come up.

“We’ve given direction to our sheriff’s deputies to be patrolling our neighborhoods more and more often, and they’ve been quite responsive and hopefully we’ll prevent some of this congregating,” she said.