On October 14, 2018, Mayor Catherine Blakespear posted the following regarding Leucadia 101 Streetscape in her weekly newsletter:
Last Thursday the California Coastal Commission approved Encinitas’ largest infrastructure project, Leucadia Streetscape. After an appellate hearing on the second day of the commission’s three days in San Diego, the vote was unanimous to approve Streetscape and the city’s underlying policy documents.
Encinitas City Councilmembers Tony Kranz, Tasha Boerner Horvath and I addressed the Commission in support of Streetscape. Dozens of residents showed up to passionately speak both for and against the project.
Leucadia Streetscape will transform 2.5 miles of Highway 101 through Leucadia from Encinitas Blvd (also known as A street) north to La Costa Ave. This major road deserves to be a destination in itself, not merely an alternative for those trying to avoid the traffic on the I-5 freeway.
The project involves installing roundabouts, wider and continuous sidewalks for both outdoor dining and pedestrian use, dedicated bike lanes so cyclists don’t have to travel in the same space with cars, planting 1,000 trees to restore the iconic tree canopy, and creating almost 200 dedicated parking spots in the rail corridor.
If, like me, you’re justifiably concerned about the severe consequences of a warming planet, you’ll appreciate that many of Encinitas’ climate action goals are addressed in this single project – less driving, more biking and walking, more carbon-eating trees, and slower continuous speeds instead of stop-and-start vehicle traffic.
Bold and effective evolution of our transportation sector depends upon projects like this.
Change is never easy. I can viscerally feel the emotion of those opposed to this project. But if we’re going to effect change locally and for our planet, we have to summon the political courage to repurpose public space and dedicate some of it to users who aren’t in cars.
On the same day, I replied as follows:
Very unfortunately for the community, you are grossly and woefully misinformed. You have supported a project you don’t know much about. That’s irresponsible. It’s not leadership.
• Encinitas Blvd west of 101 is B Street. One block north is A Street. From there to La Costa Ave is 2.4 miles.
• Ninety mature trees will be removed; 839 broomstick-diameter new trees will be planted.
• Net gain on parking spaces is 134; the three parking bays total 176. That means 42 parking spaces must be lost on the west side. Parking capacity for the corridor will decline because curbs and sidewalks on the east side will prevent parking anywhere but in the bays.
• NCTD has not agreed to yield the ground for the bays and the roundabouts. Unless you and your cronies can corrupt them as you corrupted the CCC staff and commissioners, they won’t. It’s their policy not to yield property they plan to use for transit. There’s not enough room in the ROW for parking along Vulcan, the CRT, a second set of tracks, parking bays along 101, a sidewalk, and the buffer space needed between all those elements.
• What about the 16,535 sq ft of private property that must be taken for Streetscape to squeeze in? What scam does the city have going to steal that?
• Bikes and walking are not going to replace cars. That’s a downright silly notion. A few recreational bikers and walkers in Leucadia won’t do a thing to affect climate change. Virtually nobody uses a bike for transportation. You didn’t ride a bike or walk to the Cardiff forum. One person in the audience did. That represents the zero effect of your feel-good policies that are impractical and have no beneficial effect whatsoever.
• Anybody who wants to bike or walk through Leucadia can use Neptune. It’s safer and much more pleasant.
• If two traffic lanes and dedicated bike lanes will be great for Leucadia 101, why don’t we have them from Encinitas Blvd south to Solana Beach?
• Those of us who are paying attention know the true purpose of Leucadia Streetscape is to create a linear shopping mall. The tragic irony is there’s not enough commercially zoned property on the west side, and there’s not enough parking anywhere to sustain a shopping mall. For the sake of that monumentally stupid goal, the project you ignorantly support will squeeze the traffic into two lanes and force it through pointless roundabouts. Traffic gridlock and failing businesses will be the result.
Your great failing as mayor and the gross failing of the council you lead is you don’t practice representative democracy. You don’t reflect the majority view in the community. You pursue your own and the special interests’ agenda, the public be damned.
It’s a shameful and reprehensible performance. You, your council and your predecessors have destroyed my faith and confidence in elected, selected and employed Encinitas people, many of whom are my neighbors, to do the right thing.
I’ve lived in Encinitas longer than you’ve been on the planet. I’m ashamed of you.
West of 101
P.S.: Don’t give me the “respect” line. Respect has to be earned. It’s not granted simply because you’re sitting in the chair.
Result: Blakespear dropped me from her newsletter mailing list.
My P.S. is a reference to an earlier post from Blakespear in which she said she would discuss issues with me only if I treated her with respect. I’ve heard the same line from Tasha Boerner Horvath. Politicians use it to shame opponents.
My response: You don’t deserve my respect. You don’t represent the majority of the residents. You’re violating a fundamental principle of representative democracy. When you consistently respect that principle, you will have earned my respect.