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Carlsbad Building North County’s First Coastal Roundabout

Courtesy City of Carlsbad
Courtesy City of Carlsbad

The following is from the City of Carlsbad

The City of Carlsbad has begun construction of a new traffic roundabout at the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street, making it the first roundabout on the historic coastal highway in North San Diego County.

The single-lane roundabout will make it safer for travelers to go through the intersection, whether they’re in cars, on bicycles or on foot. It will feature artwork welcoming people as they cross Buena Vista Lagoon and enter Carlsbad from Oceanside.

“The Carlsbad Boulevard-State Street intersection is our city’s traditional northern gateway, so it’s a perfect location for the type of project that takes advantage of the cultural and natural resources that make Carlsbad special,” said City of Carlsbad Public Works Director Skip Hammann. “Located right next to the lagoon, with the ocean only a few hundred feet away, the roundabout will stand as a beautiful invitation to people entering our city, no matter what their form of travel.”

The roundabout is the first major construction project that will ease traffic and remove barriers to pedestrians, bicyclists and others wishing to access Carlsbad’s coast along Historic Highway 101. It 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, and can play an important role in creating a sense of place and even spurring economic development.  Watch a video about livable streets.

Other livable streets projects along Carlsbad Boulevard include “pedestrian islands” along the beach and two “Carlsbad Scramble” intersections on Carlsbad Boulevard at Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Avenue. The city has also added miles of new bike lanes and hundreds of new bike racks and bike corrals.

Traffic engineers have found that roundabouts are preferable to traffic signals or stop signs in some locations because they keep traffic flowing at safe speeds through an intersection while improving access for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The roundabout project will incorporate construction of a Coastal Rail Trail segment along State Street between Oak Avenue in Carlsbad and Eaton Street in Oceanside. The Coastal Rail Trail is a bicycle and pedestrian trail paralleling the railroad tracks that, when completed, will connect the San Luis Rey River in Oceanside with the Santa Fe Depot in San Diego.

North of the roundabout, the trail will be placed on the west side of Carlsbad Boulevard, and the project will include bike lanes in each direction and a sidewalk on the east side of the roadway across the lagoon, linking Oceanside and Carlsbad. Vehicle travel lanes will be reduced from three to two across the lagoon to provide room for the trail, sidewalk, and bike lanes without encroaching on the lagoon preserve.

The roundabout will feature artwork designed by Bay Area artist Roger Stoller. Stoller’s work is represented in the permanent collections of cities, organizations and individuals across the country, including Google in Mountain View, Calif., and the cities of Stockton, Palo Alto and Allen, Tex. Stoller was selected after a national search by a City of Carlsbad public art advisory committee made up of City of Carlsbad Arts Commissioners, community stakeholders, public art professionals and City of Carlsbad staff. This spring, the artist’s design concepts will be presented to the City of Carlsbad’s Arts Commission, and put on public display for community comment before being forwarded to the City Council for review and approval.

Construction of the roundabout will enhance the entryway into the historic Carlsbad Village by allowing vehicles to make turns that are not possible under the intersection’s current Y-shaped configuration. Vehicles traveling north on Carlsbad Boulevard cannot currently turn right onto State Street, and vehicles traveling north on State Street cannot turn south onto Carlsbad Boulevard. After the roundabout is completed vehicles will be able to turn in any direction between State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard.

The city also will install “sharrow lanes” — lanes shared by vehicles and bicycles — on State Street, welcoming bicyclists into the Village.

The construction project began on Jan. 6 and should be completed this spring. Construction Manager John Maashoff said that the city does not expect to close Carlsbad Boulevard during the four-month project, but work crews will occasionally reduce travel to one lane, with flag crews controlling the lanes. State Street will be closed intermittently during construction, with motorists detoured to Grand Avenue.

“The goal is to minimize construction impacts to residents and businesses,” Maashoff said.

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 are funding the project. The city has contracted with Dudek, an Encinitas-based engineering and environmental firm, to manage the project.


barbara segal January 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM
I really don't understand why if there are funds for bike racks and bike corrals, there are none for upgrading some street signs that desperately need to be replaced because they are illegible. Yes, it's nice that the village is so inviting to bicyclists, but residents who need to use their vehicles because it's not physically or geographically possible to use a bike, do find that many bicyclists seem to be taking advantage of the "livable street program". Wonder how many of us like the "sharrow lanes".
Paul Kennedy January 29, 2014 at 01:08 PM
What about the round about at the intersection at Legoland entrance???????????? that should be the 1st
glenn bernard January 29, 2014 at 01:36 PM
Union-Tribune, 6-11-12, showed a photo of a roundabout in La Jolla, with these words under the photo…"Roundabouts, like this in Bird Rock, improve property values and business." Unfortunately, City Hall employs a couple of bureaucrats whose (easy) job it is to identify intersections that suddenly must exist only as an "all-way stop." To perpetuate their easy jobs, they only choose about 8 intersections per year. What a rip-off!! But at least the cops have more opportunities to write citations.
glenn bernard January 30, 2014 at 01:51 PM
btw, the opposite of "improve property values" is to diminish property values…..which is exactly what Carlsbad City Hall has spitefully done to many homes when they installed stop signs on their lots (and/or paint double-yellow lines in residential neighborhoods)
barbara segal January 30, 2014 at 02:05 PM
does anyone else think this is a waste of money?
ScottRAB January 31, 2014 at 02:56 PM
The first cost of any two choices is a poor way to compare. Life-cycle cost is the best (present value of future costs, a.k.a. net present value). When comparing modern roundabouts to signals for a 20-year life cycle (the standard period), modern roundabouts usually cost us much less. Costs to compare include: first cost (design/land/construction), operation and maintenance (electricity, re-striping, etc.), crash reduction (what’s your/your family’s safety worth), daily delay (what’s your time worth?), daily fuel consumption (spend much on gas?), pollution (generated), area insurance rates (this costs more where it is less safe to drive). Each of these things, and others, can be estimated for any two choices and everyone near or using the project area will pay some portion of all of these costs. Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit http://tinyurl.com/iihsRAB for modern roundabout FAQs and safety facts. Modern roundabouts, and the pedestrian refuge islands approaching them, are two of nine proven safety measures identified by the FHWA, http://tinyurl.com/7qvsaem The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://tinyurl.com/6v44a3x ).
glenn bernard February 02, 2014 at 12:55 PM
And, Barbara…..where were you ten years ago? 2004 was the approximate beginning of a 6-year span whereby your Carlsbad City Hall added $16 million of debt/expense EVERY YEAR so that the world could see that Government could create a golf course so wonderful….that the 3 pre-existing, family owned golf courses within city limits would lose business and go bankrupt.
Lynn Marr February 15, 2014 at 12:43 PM
The Carlsbad roundabout is a single roundabout, at least. And it got funded through TransNet tax monies because it includes a bicycle/pedestrian lane in the RR Right of way. Bicyclists will have the opportunity to use that lane, rather than going through one-lane roundabouts with cars. In Encinitas, there is a HUGE BOONDOGGLE planned called North 101 Streetscape, which would narrow our four lane Historic State Highway 101, through Leucadia, to two lanes, with four unwanted, unneeded one-lane, three-way T intersection roundabouts, and NO CROSSTREETS, beginning at El Portal and 101, which is between a stop sign at Marcheta and a traffic light at Leucadia Blvd. and 101. Our one-lane roundabouts would offer no alternative for bicyclists to use any bike path in the RR Right of Way, because the Railtrail Corridor being planned will stop south of here, and will extend from Chesterfield to G St. Intersections with roundabouts, nationwide, have more collisions involving bicyclists than do the same intersections pre roundabout installation. There has been no real needs assessment done for the five roundabouts planned through Leucadia, four of them one-laners, reducing our highway to one lane northbound and one lane southbound through these traffic obstructions, where the speed limit is only 15 MPH, creating back-up and gridlock during peak periods. Cut through traffic will increase; emergency response times will be reduced. They are already below City standards along the Coast in Leucadia.

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