Improved Infrastructure for a California Surf Town

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Encinitas, California, is a vibrant coastal city in San Diego County. Recently named among the 20 best surf towns in the world by National Geographic, Encinitas is an eclectic mix of 1960s-inspired beach culture combined with thriving local restaurants, shops, art galleries and more.

In 2008, the Leucadia Streetscape Project originated as a vision to preserve and revitalize the North Coast Highway 101 Corridor, Encinitas’ main business district. This kicked off a decade of planning, design, construction and overcoming challenges to see the project from initiation to completion. Serving as the lead designer on the Leucadia 101 Streetscape Project, Phase 1, our team at Michael Baker International partnered with the City of Encinitas to make improvements to this important thoroughfare to increase walkability, promote varying modes of transportation, create safer traffic flow and enhance scenic areas as well as the environment.

We achieved this through new intersections with ADA crossing and pedestrian ramps, 11 new crosswalks, wider sidewalks, a road diet, new bike lanes and parking spots, 0.4 miles of streetscape, a new roundabout, new streetlights and the restoration of the historic tree canopy with the planting of 100 new trees, as well as the implementation of low-impact design measures and sustainable green streets concepts including infiltration, biofiltration and water storage areas.  

Through the process, we learned several valuable lessons:

  • Perseverance pays off. This project was more than a decade in the making. Through that time, we experienced many changes. This spanned from changes in staff to changes in timelines to changes in technology. Through it all, our team adapted and persevered to ensure the successful completion of the project.
  • Stay true to the goals of the project. Throughout the entirety of the project, the public that initiated the desire for slower traffic and a bike and pedestrian-friendly corridor remained a dedicated supporter. Even when the project encountered opposition and speedbumps, we focused on the public’s and the client’s end goal as our North Star.
  • Partnership begets success. The City of Encinitas was a true partner every step of the way. The City trusted our team to be an extension of theirs. We engaged with the public and explained complicated design and traffic analysis to the City Council, as well as took over the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) when the City did not have the capacity to complete it. Because our team was working in lockstep with our client through the entire process, we seamlessly took on additional tasks like last minute requests for exhibits and cost estimate iterations needed to back up decisions to elected officials. The trust that was built between client and engineer ultimately contributed to the end result.

The Leucadia 101 Streetscape Project, Phase 1, was completed in Summer 2022 and makes it easier and safer for community members and visitors alike to get to the beach and enjoy the shops and restaurants on North Coast Highway 101. Our team recently completed design of Phase 2 and it is currently out to bid.


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