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Encinitas explores funding options for proposed bus routes

Map shows possible 'Encinitas Circulator' route.

A new study from a transit consultant has mapped out 11 bus routes that would cover transit gaps in Encinitas.

After listening to a presentation summarizing the study at the July 9 meeting, the City Council directed staff to bring back funding options for each route.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar said it’s critical that the city secure funding partnerships with the North County Transit District and other organizations if it’s going to move forward with any of the routes.

“Wishes and desires are great,” Gaspar said. “We need that funding mechanism in place to make this happen. So I can’t stress enough seeking out support from NCTD, in particular.”

Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer said she’s particularly interested in the proposed route known as the “Encinitas Circulator,” since it would support the city’s underserved senior population.

A sample of places that minibus route would travel to: downtown Encinitas, the Encinitas Community Library, Requeza Street senior housing, the Encinitas Community and Senior Center, El Camino Real shopping and points along Encinitas Boulevard.

It would operate from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 45-minute intervals. The price tag would come to $204,000 yearly.

Another option, called the “Coaster Connection,” would run in a loop covering housing and businesses near El Camino Real, Village Park and the Encinitas Coaster Station. The annual cost: $74,900.

NCTD has access to much of the transit funding for local bus services, said Tom Lichterman, senior planning manager with Parsons Brinckeroff, the company that prepared the study.

Lichterman also added that additional funding partners would make the routes that much more feasible.

In addition to NCTD, because one route stops at MiraCosta College and another option at La Costa Canyon High School, the council also directed staff to see whether those schools could be interested in contributing.

Planning officials administered transit surveys at places like the Encinitas Coaster Station to determine what routes were most needed. They also held stakeholder meetings with various groups.

A $100,000 grant from Caltrans paid for the study. The city also provided an in-kind contribution of $25,000 in staff time.


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