#collegesafety | Carlsbad advances long-planned College Boulevard extension

Carlsbad gave some gas last week to the long-awaited plan to extend College Boulevard between Cannon Road and El Camino Real.

Construction of the 1.5-mile, four-lane stretch of road is likely to take years and cost $30 million, but when completed it could ease the commute for tens of thousands of drivers on El Camino Real and Cannon.

“I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but that’s why I want to get it started now, so maybe in our lifetimes we’ll see it completed,” said Councilman Keith Blackburn, before the council asked staffers to do a preliminary design and engineering assessment and evaluate possible funding mechanisms.

The elbow-shaped extension has been in the city’s plans for decades, but there’s never been money to build it.

Developer fees pay for most of the city’s new road construction, and the area south of Cannon and east of El Camino Real is not built out so few fees have been collected. Also, the area includes Agua Hedionda Creek and biologically sensitive habitat, which require extensive studies and complicate construction plans.

College and Cannon both now end in a 90-degree intersection at the entrance to Sage Creek High School.

Completion of the College extension would redistribute traffic and reduce much of the congestion on Cannon and El Camino Real, said Mona Gocan, chair of the city’s Traffic and Mobility Commission, which strongly recommended the project.

Traffic studies show that northbound El Camino Real, between Jackspar Drive and Cannon, is the most congested segment of the affected roads, getting almost 20,000 vehicles during its peak four weekday hours. Building the extension would significantly reduce the number of vehicles, cut commute times and improve safety on the roads near Sage Creek High School.

“We believe the city should do everything in its power to improve the safety and the roads around schools,” Gocan said.

The preliminary design and engineering assessment for the extension is expected to cost $3 million.

Several previous plans to finance the construction have failed, including the most recent one approved by the City Council in 2015 that failed to get the required support of affected property owners. Construction costs were estimated at $24 million at the time.

One way the city could pay for the project would be with the formation of a special assessment district, which would borrow the money and then repay it with tax revenue.

Funding also could be available through programs such as Transnet, the half-cent sales tax approved by San Diego County voters for regional transportation projects.

However, Transnet revenue was well below expectations and nearly all of the money has been allocated.

Cannon Road also has a missing link. That road ends at College, near the high school entrance, and resumes again about a mile away in the Oceanside retirement community of Ocean Hills, just east of the city’s border with Carlsbad.

Carlsbad planning officials said in 2015, when the city updated its General Plan, that the Cannon Road connection probably would never be built because of the expense required to cross biologically sensitive areas there.


Source link