City planners seek to transform Carlsbad’s South Shore

“We want to create more space for people, move the road east a bit, and you would free up about 60 acres of land.”

CARLSBAD, Calif. — The Carlsbad South Shore project is generating a lot of interest from people over the prospect of transforming 60 acres of city-owned land along the 101 Coast Highway. Planners held a virtual town hall on Monday to discuss the vision and hear ideas from Carlsbad residents.

“We really want to start with ‘What is the overall vision?’ We want to let people imagine what they want this space to be,” said City of Carlsbad spokeswoman Kristina Ray.

In May 2020, the city of Carlsbad secured a grant of more than $500,000 from the California State Coastal Conservancy to design a plan that would increase resilience to sea level rise. Part of this effort would involve relocating South Carlsbad Boulevard further from the shore.

“We want to create more space for people, move the road a bit east, and you’d free up about 60 acres of land,” Ray said.

The overall scope of the long-term project includes a three-mile stretch along the coast from Palomar Airport Road to La Costa Avenue. But first, planners are focusing on an initial design phase of how the southbound lanes of Carlsbad Boulevard from Manzano Drive to Island Way could be moved farther east, allowing for coastal land repurposing.

“When you look at an area like this, you know nobody wants to walk in the bike lane with cars speeding by,” Ray said. “What if this whole area had wide bike lanes? What if there was a bike lane for long distance cyclists and a different bike lane for people with beach cruisers. There are so many things that can be done.

Lots of people walk and bike along the 101 every day, and at times along the way there isn’t much space between the road and the cliff. Anne Stogner lives nearby and likes the idea of ​​extending the footbridges.

“There are many, many people walking every day and everyone would feel a lot safer,” Stogner said.

And others who feel differently want to keep things the way they are.

“This area here is known to all the locals. It’s one of the last parts left,” said Neil Cameron, who has lived in Carlsbad all his life. “Leave it alone. Once you change it, it never comes back.

The design phase of this pilot project should take about a year, at which time they will be able to estimate the overall cost of construction and seek other sources of funding.

“People who live here and visit Carlsbad, they don’t want it to change, and so we understand that,” Ray said. “And it will be a hit if the people of Carlsbad say, ‘Yeah, that sounds like our town. “”

To give your opinion on this project, complete this survey. For more information, visit the project’s webpage.

Wiley C. Thompson