New bicycle and pedestrian community enhancements completed in Encinitas

A recently completed west-bound bike lane.

A recently completed west-bound bike lane.

Caltrans and SANDAG completed construction this week on new bicycle and pedestrian paths under Interstate 5 at Santa Fe Drive and Encinitas Boulevard in Encinitas as part of Build NCC, according to a news release. New ADA-compliant sidewalks and dedicated bicycle lanes, separated from traffic by concrete barriers, now line both the north and south sides of each street where none existed previously.

“These much-needed improvements increase coastal access and offer great multimodal options for all to enjoy the outdoors,” said SANDAG Chair and Mayor of Poway Steve Vaus in the news release. “These newly upgraded pathways are just one example of our combined efforts to improve highway, rail, environmental, and coastal access for all San Diegans.”

“Bike paths and pedestrian spaces are crucial links to the state transportation system. Together, they help get people where they want to go safely,” said Gustavo Dallarda, Caltrans District 11 director. “In coordination with SANDAG and our transportation partners, we will continue to aid in the development and construction of enhanced access to alternative modes of transportation.”

Early collaboration between Caltrans, SANDAG, and the City of Encinitas also resulted in an added project benefit – a new public canvas for community art. Retaining walls lining both sides of the Santa Fe Drive street undercrossing will feature 53 mosaic art panels designed by teams of local students from San Dieguito Academy and artists. These panels, commissioned by the city, each measure 3 feet x 5 feet and feature artistic designs or expressions that reflect the city’s vibrant coastal culture.

“This project provided a great opportunity for our local artists of all ages. The talent and teamwork exhibited in these art pieces offer a great representation of our coastal communities,” said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “We’re thrilled we were able to work with Caltrans and SANDAG to incorporate the community art and showcase all that our city has to offer.”

At Encinitas Boulevard, 3-foot-tall horizontally curved mosaics created by professional artists will be installed at all four corners of the undercrossing as part of this collaboration. The City of Encinitas’ Cultural Arts Division plans to install individual art pieces later this summer.

In addition to these connectivity and access improvements, Caltrans and SANDAG crews upgraded the surrounding intersections with new traffic signals to more efficiently manage traffic on the freeway on- and off-ramps. Crews also relocated underground utility infrastructure and repaved the asphalt for a new, smooth finish.

The Build NCC project began in 2017 and is anticipated to be complete in 2022.The $869 million project is funded through a combination of federal, state, and local sources. The highway portion of Build NCC is estimated to cost $663 million.
— Caltrans and SANDAG news release