Encinitas makes big strides in pedestrian scorecard
Encinitas recently earned its highest rank yet in Circulate San Diego’s Regional Walk Scorecard.
The 2015 report scored San Diego County’s 18 cities based on pedestrian infrastructure and plans to encourage walking. National City came first, followed by Solana Beach and then Encinitas in third.
Encinitas has improved walkability, according to the scorecard, with a variety of new traffic-calming projects. This includes crosswalks, intersection pop-outs and more near Flora Vista Elementary, improvements on Santa Fe Road near San Dieguito Academy and raised crosswalks throughout the city, said Kathleen Ferrier, director of advocacy with Circulate San Diego.
The scorecard also cites the recently completed Safe Routes to School Plan, a blueprint of needed bike and pedestrian projects at well-traveled school routes throughout Encinitas. City staff members have also credited the plan with helping Encinitas secure a $4.67 million grant for a rail undercrossing at El Portal Street.
Plus, the city got points for the layout of downtown Encinitas. Ferrier said the area encourages walking because it has perpendicular streets, along with homes near shops and restaurants.
“This is in contrast to the more suburban nature of eastern Encinitas where distances among restaurants, destinations, etc. is greater,” Ferrier said.
And Encinitas received credit for having homes within walking distance of the Encinitas Coaster Station.
The scorecard measures walkability with four categories: how many walk and how safely they do so; projects that were put in to improve walkability; policies outlining a long-term vision for walking; and volunteers who reported on walking conditions using a smartphone application.
“It ranks the walkability of each of the cities to show there are best practices right here in the region, illustrates that creating more walkable neighborhoods is not difficult and it creates friendly competition among the 18 cities to make improvements,” Ferrier said.
She added that the San Diego region saw a 35 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2014, so creating safer, walkable streets should be a priority for cities.
This was Circulate San Diego’s third scorecard. Encinitas came in fifth in 2013 and no. 12 in 2012.