We had two items on December 20 related to mobility: Interim North Coast 101 Streetscape traffic improvements and the addition of a multi-use path to the North Coast 101 streetscape. While both important items, I was disappointed with the process and reports.
INTERIM NORTH COAST HIGHWAY TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENTS
The first item looks at improving the interim safety aspect of Coast Highway 101 with common-sense improvements, like restricting the confusing and dangerous buffer that was put in this year; adding "Keep Clear" areas so that residents west of Highway 101 are not stuck in their neighborhoods during traffic; and crosswalks so pedestrians can safely cross the street.
I was disappointed that such important, common sense safety improvements did not follow a proper process. This item should have first gone to the Traffic and Public Safety Commission for public input and then we could have made a more informed decision. In the absence of proper process, I was inclined to approve the re-striping of the southbound buffer and keep clear zones and send the exact crosswalk locations to the Traffic and Public Safety Commission. Ultimately on a 3-2 vote with Mayor Blakespear and myself voting no, the proposal will go for approval to the Traffic and Public Safety Commission. I opposed this decision because it unnecessarily delayed critical safety improvements that we have already waited too long for and because the Traffic and Public Safety Commission is a recommending body, not a decision-making body. I'm all for empowering commissions, but ad hoc allocation of important decisions that should be made by Council to a commission is not the right way in my mind.
ADDING A MULTIUSE PATH TO THE NORTH COAST 101 STREETSCAPE
We had a curious agenda item on December 20 because we were asked to consider delaying the already behind-schedule Streetscape environmental impact report to add a new idea of a multiuse path on the west side of the railroad tracks. It seemed like a half-baked plan that had merit, but needed further evaluation. Having a space where the 8-80 year olds can ride bikes removed from the road would be a huge benefit to our rail corridor. Yet it was unclear if adding such a path would relieve SANDAG from their obligation to build the Coastal Rail Trail on the east side of the tracks. In addition, the analysis lacked a detailed understanding on the impact to parking, stormwater management or double tracking of the railroad tracks.
I would hope that in the future that good ideas could be more vetted for impacts before beign brought to Council. It created unnecessary discord, resulting in a 3-2 vote (Blakespear and me voting no) to move forward as planned and omit the path. We did manage to agree as a Council that this item should be brought back in a more vetted form by staff once impacts to the Coastal Rail Trail, parking and stormwater could be completed.