Following three years of technical studies and input from the community, the Carlsbad City Council decided on Tuesday, Nov. 27 to take the next step on a series of traffic and safety improvements to the area around Carlsbad Boulevard and Cannon Road.
Of four choices, the City Council decided to pursue a roundabout at the intersection of Cannon Road and Carlsbad Boulevard and leave the traffic signal at the intersection of Cerezo Drive and Carlsbad Boulevard and leave the traffic signal at the intersection of Cerezo Drive and Carlsbad Boulevard. The project also includes other street improvements, added parking and enhancements to the bluff top across from the power plant. The stretch of Carlsbad Boulevard between the power plant and Palomar Airport Road has long been a challenge for neighbors, walkers, bikers, commuters and city traffic engineers. It's the only way to access the coast in this area, making it heavily traveled, yet it also cuts through a neighborhood with driveways emptying right onto the road.
The project team developed four options for the Cannon and Cerezo intersections with Carlsbad Boulevard, including roundabouts, traffic signals, and one of each. All four met the project's goals of improving safety, traffic flow, parking and access for walkers and bicyclists.
Here's a video showing the differences between the options.
Based on neighbor input, the City Council also directed to project team to leave the center turn lane on Carlsbad Boulevard between the two intersections with Shore Drive.
What's next after the City Council's approval? The project will now undergo environmental analysis, which is expected to take six or nine months. The final project and results of that analysis will then be presented to the city's Planning Commission for approval. Construction is not expected to begin until late 2021.
City staff have been fine tuning the conceptual designs for the Terramar Area Coastal Improvement Project, from just south of the power plant to Manzano Drive. The current conceptual designs include one design for the bluff top area and two design alternatives for the roadway.
The bluff top across from the power plant, which currently has pieces of the old roadway visible among winding dirt paths, would be improved to add intimate seating areas, fewer, well-defined trails and steps to the beach that would help prevent erosion. Based on public input on three bluff top options presented in November 2015, city staff created the current conceptual design which maintains the natural character of the bluff top while adding amenities like recycle/trash cans, drinking fountains and benches.
Both roadway design alternatives add new parking, new and widened sidewalks and bike lanes. The main difference is that one proposes roundabouts at Cannon Road and Cerezo Drive, and the other proposes traffic signals at those intersections.
After sharing the current roadway design alternatives with the public in November 2017, the city completed studies related to traffic, air quality, parking and noise. The studies showed the following:
Better for noise and air quality
Creates fewer new parking spots
Safer overall for all modes of travel (vehicles, bikes and pedestrians)