Carlsbad streets to become more “livable”
February 21, 2012
The Carlsbad City Council heard an update today about how trends in street design can improve traffic flow, make roads safer and contribute to a more vibrant community and economy.
“There is a growing realization that streets should be designed more for people, not just cars,” said City of Carlsbad Deputy Transportation Director Bryan Jones. “It’s amazing how a few changes in street design can have such a positive effect on a community’s health, safety, economy and social vitality.”
The livable streets concept, also called “complete streets
,” acknowledges that streets are an important part of the livability of today’s communities and ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.
In 2008, the state of California passed the Complete Streets Act, which requires cities and counties to include complete streets policies as part of their general plans. The City of Carlsbad is in the process of updating its general plan, incorporating input received during a program called Envision Carlsbad. Through Envision Carlsbad, the community identified a number of core values
important to the future of Carlsbad, such as improved community connectivity through walking, biking and public transportation.
The Carlsbad City Council also identified livable streets as a top priority at its annual goal setting workshop
At Tuesday’s workshop, city transportation staff showed a number of examples of livable streets concepts, including some existing already in Carlsbad.
“There are many ways to make streets more livable,” said Jones. “We want to work with local residents and businesses to see what street design features would best support Carlsbad’s vision for the future.”
Some of the more common strategies to make streets more “livable” include:
- Creating a buffer between walking paths and traffic.
- Using roundabouts or traffic circles instead of traffic signals or stop signs to keep traffic continually flowing at safe speeds while improving access for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Creating wider walkways, outdoor dining, landscaped areas and benches to encourage people to gather outdoors, especially around shopping and dining areas.
- Decreasing the distance for pedestrians to cross streets by adding more sidewalk space and raised medians.
- Creating more clearly defined bike lanes and placing the lanes where bikes will have fewer conflicts with cars.
- Slowing traffic in residential neighborhoods.
- Connecting sidewalks, bike lanes and trails to transit stops.
Jones presented to the City Council a potential livable streets demonstration project, which would include replacing the intersection at State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard with a roundabout and improving pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure with sidewalks, bike lanes and a trail across the Buena Vista Lagoon. Jones said the project would help bridge a gap in the Coastal Rail Trail at the north end of the city and create a more clearly defined and welcoming entrance to Carlsbad from Oceanside. These improvements would also enhance safety and access to many local businesses in the Village and the Coaster Transit Station.
The City Council directed staff to further develop the State Street demonstration project and identify other opportunities to make Carlsbad streets more livable. Jones said city staff are in the process of meeting with representatives of local groups and individuals to get input on opportunities to use livable street design in Carlsbad.
For more information
Kristina Ray, 760-434-2957 or email@example.com