The City of Carlsbad has completed construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street just south of Buena Vista Lagoon, making it easier and safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to pass through the crossroads along the Historic Highway 101.
“This intersection is the city’s traditional northern gateway, so the new roundabout makes an immediate impression on people entering the city from Oceanside,” said City of Carlsbad Construction Manager John Maashoff. “After crossing the lagoon, with the ocean just to their right, travelers will pass through the roundabout to enter the city’s downtown Village. This is a wonderful addition to the roadway that will enhance everyone’s travel experience.”
The new roundabout makes it possible for the first time for vehicles to move in any direction between Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street. Under the intersection’s old Y-shaped configuration, vehicles traveling north on either roadway could not turn south onto the other street, but were forced to travel north to Oceanside and then turn around.
Vehicle travel lanes have been reduced from three to two across the lagoon to provide room for the Coastal Rail Trail, a sidewalk on the east side of Carlsbad Boulevard, and bicycle lanes in each direction, without encroaching on the lagoon preserve.
When completed, the Coastal Rail Trail will parallel the coastal railroad tracks and connect northern Oceanside with the Santa Fe Depot in San Diego. The opening of the roundabout also marks the opening of the Coastal Rail Trail segment linking Oak Avenue in northern Carlsbad with southern Oceanside. “Sharrow lanes” on State Street — lanes shared by vehicles and bicycles — make up the Coastal Rail Trail portion between the roundabout and Oak Avenue.
For people unfamiliar with using a roundabout, the City of Carlsbad is offering some tips:
- Whether riding a bicycle or driving a car, when you approach the roundabout slow down and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
- As you enter the roundabout look to the left for oncoming bicyclists and vehicles.
- Cars entering a roundabout must always yield to vehicles already in the roundabout.
- When the roundabout is clear, enter with caution and try not to stop while following the roundabout to your exit point.
- Pedestrians using the roundabout’s crosswalk should watch for cars entering or exiting the roundabout.
A roundabout causes traffic to slow down when entering, and this combination of lower speeds and no left turns results in smoother traffic flow compared to stop signs or traffic signals and fewer opportunities for accidents.
Roundabouts promote safe and continuous travel, making them part of the city’s effort to make it easier for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to get around. In this way the roundabout is part of the City of Carlsbad’s “livable streets” program, which recognizes that streets should be designed for everyone, not just people in cars. Watch a video about livable streets.
Although usable, the roundabout will not be officially complete until a city-commissioned sculpture, “CoastalHelix” by artist Roger White Stoller, is installed atop the roundabout. The artwork and landscaping are expected to be complete in August.
To read more about the roundabout artwork, click here.
The State Street/Carlsbad Boulevard roundabout is the first roundabout on the coastal Historic Highway 101 in North County, and it marks the first in a series of major construction projects designed to ease traffic and remove barriers to pedestrians, bicyclists and others wishing to access Carlsbad’s coast along the coastal highway.
Construction on the roundabout began in late January, and travelers began passing through the completed roundabout last week.
The city awarded a contract in the amount of $996,000 to Portillo Concrete Inc. to construct the roundabout. An $800,000 Active Transportation Grant from the San Diego Association of Governments, and money from the city’s Gas Tax Fund funded the project. The city contracted with Dudek, an Encinitas-based engineering and environmental firm, to manage the project.
—City of Carlsbad