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 (at right in the photo below), Tasha Boerner Horvath (not pictured) 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.
We held a meeting of our Housing Authority (comprised of the City Council, plus two members of the public) to provide the council with more foundational information about how affordable housing is actually created.
The City Council will spend lots of time in the next two years heavily devoted to housing. The more sophisticated we are, the better, and it’s never too early to start.
Tax-credit financing and other esoteric details of housing policy were among the dry, yet important, factors discussed. Our Housing Authority hasn’t previously been very active in Encinitas, but I’ve watched other cities accomplish policy objectives through their Housing Authority boards, so I decided we should revitalize it locally.
In a related development, the Planning Commission held their first hearing on the proposal to increase the percentage of affordable units in any new development. But they determined that they needed more information before making a decision. Progress inches along…
Surfing Madonna Beach Run fun
The Surfing Madonna Beach Run was a smashing success this past weekend! Hundreds of people ran from Moonlight Beach at low tide, including my family and me. My husband Jeremy actually won his 40-49 age division with a pace of just under seven minutes a mile (on sand, for goodness’ sake!). He enthusiastically crossed the finish line with a holler to “Vote Mike Levin for Congress!” (Jeremy’s on the far left in the bottom photo below.)
I was also thrilled to announce the winners of the city’s Environmental Awards – Doug Gibson of the San Elijo Lagoon Foundation in the non-profit category (in the above photo, center) and Bryan Calloway of Cardiff-based Patagonia (far right in the above photo) in the for-profit award. Congratulations to this year’s winners!
In the top photo, I encouraged Team Enough before they ran. They’re a group dedicated to eliminating gun violence by encouraging sensible firearms laws and policies.
The Surfing Madonna organization, which does so much to give back to our community, has offered another unique event that has become synonymous with our Encinitas lifestyle. A special shout-out goes to to the brains and the brawn behind the beach run – Bob and Megan Nichols!
Farm to Fork festivities
The Encinitas Community Garden held a Farm to Fork Dinner to celebrate three years of operation in Encinitas. What a delicious meal provided by the local Peruvian restaurant Q’ero! The dedicated volunteers and community members who founded the garden and keep it running are phenomenal.
If you’d like to join other gardeners to share the experience and best practices, you can rent a 10’X10′ bed in the Community Garden for $140 a year. There are actually a few beds available right now, and you can snag your plot here.
Semi-deep campaign thoughts
Having run three campaigns in the last four years (City Council 2014, Mayor 2016 and Mayor 2018), I think of them as marathons. Candidates must think ahead, train, and pace themselves. However, the end of the marathon is always a sprint, and now we are in that sprinting stage.
One hard-working first-time candidate, Jody Hubbard, running for Encinitas City Council in District 3, had a recent weekend day where she walked door to door for 3 hours, then had a Meet & Greet with me at 2 p.m. and another Meet & Greet at another home at 5 p.m. Now, that’s what I call sprinting.
Here’s a link to Jody’s one-minute video, which does a good job demonstrating why she’s a better fit for District 3.
I appreciate every dollar donated and every vote, and I never take your support for granted. I would be honored to continue my service as your mayor for another two years.
Next week, stay tuned for a peek at a few of my personal ballot choices. Hang on to your seats!
Important upcoming dates
Voting by mail has begun! Completed mail ballots must be returned or postmarked by Election Day, November 6.
Tuesday, November 6: Election Day! This is a big one. Exercise your right to vote!