Commission rebuffs closing F Street for events
The Encinitas Traffic and Public Safety Commission on Nov. 9 roundly rejected a proposal to close F Street, between Coast Highway 101 and Fourth Street, for the Encinitas Station Farmers Market and Classic Car Cruise Nights.
In voting unanimously to reject the idea, the commission directed staff to explore other downtown streets that could be potentially shuttered for events.
“I like the concept, just not here,” Commissioner Brian Grover said.
Commissioner Charlie Lisherness said in light of staunch public opposition, it was easy to rule out closing F Street. All of the nine public speakers said this would block access to businesses and homes. Most also said it would create traffic headaches.
“It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever heard come out of the city of Encinitas so far,” said Charlie Sougias, owner of Charlie’s Foreign Car Service, to audience applause.
Councilman Tony Kranz in September proposed that the commission get feedback on closing the street, because future development at F Street and Coast Highway 101 will displace Classic Car Cruise Nights and other community events.
“I was thinking it would be good to begin the conversation to see about the possibility of designating F Street — between the 101 and, say, Fourth Street — as a gathering place for events,” Kranz said at that time.
Kranz also stated that F Street might be a good home for the Encinitas Station Farmers Market, at Vulcan Avenue and E Street every Wednesday night.
Encinitas 101 Mainstreet Association, which hosts the Farmers Market, is interested in relocating the event to increase parking and visibility, said Thora Guthrie, the group’s executive director. Guthrie too voiced concern with closing F Street, but said closing a different downtown road for community events should be looked at.
City traffic engineer Rob Blough at the beginning of the meeting said that if the commission favors the proposal, closing the road would require various permits and approval from the council. Blough also noted that the Encinitas Fire Department listed reservations over the idea, including that it would be tougher to hook up to fire hydrants during emergencies.