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Terramar Project Questions and Answers

What is this project?

The City of Carlsbad is working in collaboration with the community to make improvements in the area along Carlsbad Boulevard and Cannon Road to accomplish the following goals:

  • Create a balanced road that is safe and attractive to cars, bikes and pedestrians.
  • Maintain traffic flow with vehicle speeds compatible with a residential neighborhood.
  • Improve the area’s aesthetics and, where possible, add amenities, with an emphasis on Carlsbad’s natural beauty.
  • Protect, balance and enhance the quality of life for the surrounding neighborhood and community in general.
  • Create a special place and experience for residents and users.

What are the project’s boundaries?

The Terramar Area Coastal Improvement Project focuses on Carlsbad Boulevard from Manzano Avenue north to the area around the warm water jetties, including the bluff across from the power plant. It also includes Cannon Road from Carlsbad Boulevard to the railroad tracks. The project only includes land owned or controlled by the city, such as the city’s “right of way.”

Why is the city doing this project?

The City of Carlsbad is working on a number of initiatives to make it easier and safer to get to the beach and travel along Carlsbad Boulevard, whether by car, on a bike or by foot. The stretch of Carlsbad Boulevard around the Terramar area lacks safe walking and biking paths, and residents sometimes have trouble pulling in and out of their properties due to traffic. A beautiful bluff across from the power plant is a favorite place for locals, but has no place to sit and is vulnerable to erosion.

How has the community been involved?

The city has been working with the community on this project since July 2015. In addition to community meetings, nearly 1,000 people provided input through an online survey, at the neighborhood meeting and in on-site interviews in the project area. The draft design concepts are based on this input, as well as technical analysis. We are now seeking feedback on the draft options.

Where are we in the process?

The city is currently in the conceptual design phase of the project. Once the designs are approved by the City Council, the city will obtain the necessary permits and approvals and then proceed with final design and construction. The soonest these changes could be completed would be mid 2020.

What's the project approval process?

  • The project designs are scheduled to be presented to the City Council in early 2018 for input and selection of the preferred project design.
  • The final design and environmental analysis will then be presented to the Planning Commission for approval. We are currently shooting for spring 2018.
  • This project requires Coastal Commission approval, which typically takes six to nine months.
  • Once we have all the necessary approvals and permits, we’ll put the project out to bid for final design and construction. The project already has funding allocated in the city budget.
  • Once construction starts, the improvements should take about 18 months to complete.
  • What’s the bottom line? Making any changes along our coastline requires a lot of review and consideration – for good reason. If all goes according to plan, residents can expect to see these improvements completed sometime in mid 2020.

What type of environmental review will be required?  When would the improvements be completed?

Once conceptual designs for the project are completed, the city will begin the technical analysis and permitting work and determine what environmental review will be required under the California Environmental Quality Act. This process could take nine to 18 months, depending on the level of review required. 

Will this project include roundabouts?

Roundabouts are one way to meet the project’s goals, but they are not the only design option the city is considering for the road improvements. The city is also considering traffic signals at both intersections. 

Will the changes affect private property, driveways or landscaping along Carlsbad Boulevard?

The city is only considering land it already owns or is in its “right of way.” The proposed designs would affect some driveways and landscaping along Carlsbad Boulevard, and the project team has worked to minimize the impact or inconvenience resulting from the changes.

Which road option is better for traffic?

Traffic studies have not been done at this stage of design. Generally speaking, roundabouts do a better job of keeping traffic flowing than traffic signals, which tend to cause long back ups and gridlock when traffic is heavy.

Will the project change the amount of parking available along the coast?

Both road options will increase the amount of parking in the area. The roundabout option would add about 85 new spaces, and the traffic signal option would add about 115.

How do the options compare when it comes to cost?

Once the conceptual designs are refined, the city can develop a cost estimate for the construction of the project.  Generally speaking, roundabouts are more expensive to construct, but require less expense than traffic signals to maintain. 

What will be given priority in the design, cars, bikes or pedestrians?

The project is designed to create a balanced road that is safe and attractive for cars, bikes, pedestrians and those who wish to access transit.  All of the options proposed include enhancements to the bus stops for NCTD’s existing Route 101 BREEZE bus service, as well as improvements in accessibility to the bluff area for persons with disabilities.  

Will Carlsbad Boulevard be widened in the project area?

The city does not plan to expand the number of vehicle lanes in this area. The physical width of the road would increase to accommodate bike lanes and walking paths or sidewalks, but only on last where the city has a "right of way.".

Why doesn’t the project include the bluff south of Terramar or the property south of Manzano Drive?

This land is owned by the state. At this time, the city is only focusing on land it controls.

How does this project relate to the project to realign the southern part of Carlsbad Boulevard to the east and swap land with the state?

In 2009, the city began working with the state on a project to realign Carlsbad Boulevard south of Palomar Airport Road and exchange a number of parcels of city-owned land with land owned by the state, including the land just south of Manzano Drive and the bluff top just south of Terramar. In 2013, after completing some initial technical studies, the city decided to put those efforts on hold indefinitely, in favor of making coastal improvements that could be completed more quickly on land it already controls. The city is still interested in realigning the southern part of Carlsbad Boulevard, moving travel lanes to the east so that more land along the coast could be freed up for public use. That is a separate project that will have its own technical analysis and public outreach process.

Is Cannon Park part of this project?

Cannon Park is not part of this project. The project will focus on land the city owns or controls, such as land in the city’s “right of way.” SDG&E owns the park property currently. As part of an agreement related to the new power plant, the city could eventually get this land, as well as some of the adjacent land. If that happens, the city would work with the community on any future use of this land.

Does this project include land east of the Terramar neighborhood known as Cannon Lake Park?


How much money is available for this project and where does the money come from?

The Carlsbad City Council approved $6 million for this project. The majority of the funding comes from traffic impact fees.

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