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Cardiff School’s new sidewalk a ‘small project with a big impact’

Parents are cheering a new sidewalk next to Cardiff School that they say has made the area safer.

Last month, the city put in 711 feet of sidewalk on San Elijo Avenue, between Montgomery Avenue to just south of Mozart Avenue. Curb and gutter improvements were also installed.

“This is a small project with a big impact,” said Brett Farrow, a major proponent of the improvements. “It’s been four years in the making.”

Farrow said the improvements have not only created another path to walk on, but also encouraged parents to park next to the school when dropping off or picking up their kids.

Previously, parents parked on the west side of San Elijo Avenue before and after school. Their kids then had to cross the busy street without the aid of a crosswalk, explained Farrow.

“You had cars speeding by, honking and swerving while kids were crossing,” Farrow said.

He added the situation was also confusing for drivers, creating congestion before and after school.

“Myself and others in the community decided there has to be a better way,” Farrow said, noting they started a petition.

In response to community interest, Cardiff 101 Mainstreet paid $2,500 in 2012 for a conceptual streetscape design that informed the project.

The design was presented to the City Council in 2013, and council members gave final approval for the $101,600 project last February.

“This project will create a safe walking path for Cardiff elementary students as well as help to connect residents north of Mozart Avenue to the business district in Cardiff,” said Tess Radmill, executive director of Cardiff 101 Mainstreet, in an email.

“The project will also increase the number of parking spots along San Elijo Avenue, thus helping local businesses that currently lack parking.”

Farrow said he’s very happy the sidewalk was finally installed after initial funding challenges. However, he said the streetscape design calls for more improvements, like a new crosswalk and a new gate to improve access to the school.

“We’re not done yet,” he said in a follow-up email. “We need more walkability and less reliance on the car. Everybody wins when a town becomes more walkable.”

On a related note, the city of Encinitas and the nonprofit Circulate San Diego recently teamed up for an online survey on which areas need safety improvements.

The survey will be available until Sept. 20 and can be found at letsmoveencinitas.org.


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