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Letter to the editor: Pieces of the puzzle slowly coming together

Several years ago, the city held a workshop to discuss bike lanes along Santa Fe Drive. My husband and I attended and lobbied for more than a bike lane. We wanted a safe walkway to protect us and our children from the speeding cars. It was a tiny stretch of real estate — from Devonshire to Vulcan, only five blocks.

One workshop participant repeatedly argued that no one would care about walking along Santa Fe. We cared, along with all of our neighbors. Once it was built, we could send our kids to Blockbuster or cross the road from Encinitas to Cardiff without taking our life in our hands. But it was such a short strip of land — the pathway almost seemed lonely.

Fast forward: 2013. The city constructed an underpass under the railroad tracks at Santa Fe. Our little piece of walkway now connected people not only to the Vons Shopping Center, but also to Swami’s. People gathered at the benches on Cornish to enjoy the sunset. Families carted children and surfboards under the tracks. An additional ribbon of pavement was included, running south along San Elijo for a brief distance. It’s the teaser for the Coastal Rail Trail.

One year later, the Community Park opened. Young teenagers now skate down our street, along the sidewalk, and up to the skatepark. Dog lovers stroll on Santa Fe, heading to the Maggie Houlihan dog park.

Our little stretch of real estate is no longer lonely. It is beginning to feel connected. Thank you to council members Shaffer, Kranz, and Blakespear for approving the Coastal Rail Trail at the May 20 City Council meeting. The Cardiff portion of that trail will now be built. The pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together.

One day, those of us who use our feet or our bicycles to move ourselves from point A to point B will have our own roads. One day, residents will be grateful that we found safe places for cyclists to ride and walkers to walk. Change and growth in our little heaven are inevitable. More visitors are bound to come, and more residents are bound to move here. How do we manage that change? By clogging our roads with more automobiles, or by finding other ways for us all to get around, on roads that are suitable not only for cars, but also for cyclists and walkers?

Judy Berlfein, Encinitas


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