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Encinitas council approves plan focused on safe routes to schools

The Encinitas City Council on March 18 unanimously approved the final version of a comprehensive plan that calls for pedestrian and biking improvements around schools and well-traveled routes throughout the city.

With a complete list of high-priority projects, the Let’s Move, Encinitas plan will make the city more competitive when seeking grants, city staff said. And it will continue to guide the city’s capital-improvement program.

“For example, a recently completed project on Encinitas Boulevard was noted as a high priority in this plan,” said Christy Villa, associate civil engineer with the city’s Engineering and Public Works Department.

The Let’s Move, Encinitas effort began in 2012. The public weighed in on potential projects through neighborhood task force meetings, surveys, social media and community workshops.

During the March 18 meeting, parents, students and staff from Paul Ecke Elementary said sidewalks and other improvements are needed in front of the school for safer drop-offs and pick-ups.

“It’s getting worse every day,” said Christine Andrade, the school’s safety monitor and crossing guard, adding that a child is bound to get hurt by cars speeding by if something isn’t done.

Villa said the plan has a specific Paul Ecke Elementary section that recommends infrastructure, including crossings, sidewalks and barriers.

Deputy Mayor Catherine Blakespear said the city should do everything possible to ensure the projects in the plan are built, even if incrementally.

“It’s so important to me that we don’t just produce this great document and then have it sit on the shelf,” Blakespear said.

The city, in conjunction with the nonprofit Circulate San Diego, obtained an $183,000 grant from the California Department of Transportation to develop the Let’s Move, Encinitas plan. And the city kicked in $27,000 toward the effort.

Villa said the projects in Let’s Move, Encinitas would affect an estimated 7,000 students.

The full plan can be found at www.letsmoveencinitas.org.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Catherine Blakespear’s title is councilwoman. She is the deputy mayor.


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