March 16, 2023
Monday is the first day of spring, which thanks to all the rain will be greener than usual here in Carlsbad, with plenty of wildflowers in bloom. To put the recent rains in perspective, the last storm alone is reported to have dropped 2.68 inches, almost double what we normally see the entire month of March. This has kept city crews and emergency responders extra busy. In other news of the week, today I’ll be covering these topics:
- Traffic safety for every stage of life
- Connecting the Coastal Rail Trail along Avenida Encinas
- Growth committee report nearly final
- City earns top budget award
- Spring into summer camp registration
- Love Parks & Rec? We have an opportunity for you
- Get involved: Upcoming meetings
- St. Patrick’s Day safety reminder
Traffic safety education continues
I’ve shared before about the three Es of traffic safety, the first of which stands for education. Our city team has been busy on many fronts helping to educate people of all ages and life stages about how to be a safe user of our roads.
We started at the middle school level since those students are old enough to ride e-bikes but not old enough to have gone through driver’s ed, and therefore less likely to know the rules of the road. (There actually is no minimum age for most e-bikes, but we tend to see use pick up around middle school.)
We’ve visited high schools to give safety presentations, and on Wednesday we made our first presentation for younger students, at Buena Vista Elementary. We are partnering with the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and Circulate San Diego, two regional organizations that specialize in school education programs, to make the rounds at local schools.
We also stopped by the Carlsbad Village Association’s Village Voices meeting on Tuesday to talk about the changes we are making to local streets and why.
Tonight, we’re teaming up with San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Circulate San Diego and Carlsbad Unified School District to host a virtual Parent University webinar about how we can keep kids safe on Carlsbad streets. You’re welcome to join, or you can watch it after the fact on the city’s website.
Finally, we are hosting hands-on, three-hour bike safety classes on March 25 and April 22. I encourage you to join (or have your younger riders sign up). The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition has tailored this class just for us. It will include three parts:
- Learn the rules of the road including where to ride, emergency maneuvers, legal rights and responsibilities and Carlsbad specific e-bike rules
- Practice essential bike riding skills with a licensed cycling instructor in the parking lot of the Senior Center
- Join a bike ride through the Barrio and Village with a licensed cycling instructor
City Cycling Class – Saturday, March 25 9 a.m. to noon Pine Avenue Community Center Reserve your spot
City Cycling Class – Saturday, April 22 9 a.m. to noon Pine Avenue Community Center Reserve your spot
Space is limited, so reserve your spot as soon as you can. And remember to bring your own bike or e-bike for this interactive class. Learn more.
Connecting Coastal Rail Trail along Avenida Encinas
In addition to our ongoing traffic safety education efforts, we’ve been hard at work to advance several traffic safety projects, including improvements on Avenida Encinas.
On Tuesday, the City Council approved plans for Avenida Encinas, between the Poinsettia Regional Transit Station to Carlsbad Boulevard, as part of the 44-mile Coastal Rail Trail. The project will redesign this road segment so it is safe and inviting for everyone, whether you drive, bike or walk.
Improvements for this section of Avenida Encinas include:
- New buffered bike lanes, with green paint at potential conflict points
- New pedestrian improvements such as high-visibility crosswalks and ADA-compliant ramps
- Intersection improvements and high-visibility crosswalks across Avenida Encinas at:
- Poinsettia Lane
- San Lucas Street
- Portage Way
- Ponto Drive
- Carlsbad Boulevard
- Enhanced mid-block crosswalk with a new pedestrian signal at Avenida Encinas and San Carlos Street
- Reducing speeding by realigning driving lanes between Poinsettia Lane and Carlsbad Boulevard from five vehicle lanes to two, while maintaining dedicated left and right turn lanes at the intersections
Construction is expected to begin in mid-2023 and be completed by the end of 2023. Learn more.
Committee studying growth finalizing draft report
A resident-led committee created by the City Council is finalizing a draft report that identifies issues and standards to help ensure Carlsbad retains an excellent quality of life as it continues to grow.
The year-long committee process is the first step in developing a new long-term growth management program. After meeting 13 times in the past year, the committee is getting ready to finalize its recommendations.
The City of Carlsbad’s growth management program was created in the late 80s and is largely credited with maintaining the city’s excellent quality of life, well-planned infrastructure and financial health over the past 35+ years.
In recent years, new state laws have been passed that mean some parts of the program are not enforceable, including putting a limit on how many new homes can be built in the city.
- The state laws are meant to address a critical statewide shortage of housing by making it more difficult for cities to deny new housing projects.
- Affordable housing, which is usually apartments and condos, is a big focus of the new state laws, as is locating new housing close to transit hubs.
What is the committee recommending?
The committee reviewed the “performance standards” identified in the current growth management program – which refer to the level of service for facilities like roads, sewer pipes, parks and libraries. Currently, developers pay fees or build infrastructure needed to accommodate new residents who will live in their housing.
The committee also discussed several issues outside the scope of a growth management program but important to the city’s future quality of life.
The committee will meet March 23 to review its recommendations before they are presented to the City Council. You can read the committee’s draft report and recommendations on additional quality of life issues and provide input via email through March 23 or at the meeting in person:
Carlsbad Tomorrow Growth Management Citizens Committee meeting, Thursday, March 23, at 5 p.m. at Faraday Administration Center 1635 Faraday Ave. email@example.com Watch online
After the City Council provides direction, the team will need to complete technical studies and potentially update local laws before this work is complete. We expect the process to take about three years, and we will invite you to provide input at every stage of the process. Learn more.
City receives top budget award
The City of Carlsbad has received the Operating Budget Excellence Award from the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers for our Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Operating Budget. This award is sort of like the Oscars for city finance people. To qualify, a city has to meet strict criteria for how the budget is presented, with an emphasis on transparency – helping people see how their taxpayer money is being used. The group gives out two levels of awards, and Carlsbad earned the highest.
- If you’ve followed this newsletter for a while, you’ll know how I feel about the city’s budget (spoiler alert, I think it’s the single most important document we produce all year – it has our work plan for the year, detailed information on all the money coming into the city and exactly how it is being allocated, performance measures and economic forecasts).
- During the past five years since I have overseen the budget, we have included an even higher level of detail about city finances.
- We have also added more charts, graphs and “infographics” to help make the city’s finances easy to understand.
- We are entering budget season for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, so you’ll be hearing more about some of the newer policies and practices that have been put in place to help safeguard the city’s financial health.
Thank you to our Finance Department and to all our city departments for their excellent work. And here’s a link to this year’s budget in case I have piqued your interest.
Summer camp registration is now open
Summer camp registration is now open for kids ages 3-16, as well as registration for classes, sports leagues and other activities for people of all ages.
These programs have been especially popular since COVID-19 restrictions ended, so if I were you, I’d register soon before they fill up. Here are some of the most popular:
- Junior Lifeguarding Camp where participants learn fundamental lifeguarding skills on dry land and in the water.
- Cinematography Film Making @ The Ranch, which introduces kids to video scene setups and digital photography using tools like Go-Pros, gimbals and drones.
- Radical Reptiles & Friends Camp, where future animal stewards ages 6 to 12 learn about all types of reptiles, amphibians and bugs.
- American Girl Camp where participants ages 6 to 11 make doll jewelry and accessories and cook desserts for tea and pajama parties as they learn about doll heritage.
- Top Chef Camp where novice chefs ages 6 to 11 learn to make delicious and fun dishes and open a restaurant at the end of the week for family and friends.
See the full schedule in our Summer Community Services Guide.
Love Parks & Recreation? Consider getting more involved
If you’re interested in volunteering alongside others to help make Carlsbad better for all, we’re seeking applicants for the city’s Parks & Recreation Commission. There’s one vacancy on the commission for a term that expires in December 2024.
Members volunteer their time to study issues and policies and make recommendations to the City Council on things like community recreation programs, park facilities, planting and protecting trees on public property, preservation programs and more.
The commission has seven members who are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. To be eligible, you must be a Carlsbad resident and registered to vote in the city.
Applications are available online or at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall. The deadline to apply is noon Monday, April 7. Learn more.
Get involved: Upcoming meetings
The next City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, March 21, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council chamber. The topics scheduled to be discussed include:
- An update on the city’s investments
- Approving a report to the state on the city’s progress in implementing its General Plan
- Declaring weeds and refuse on certain private properties around the city to be public nuisances so they can be removed as potential hazards
- Accepting a $12,905 donation from the Friends of Carrillo Ranch to support the California history and art field trip program at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park
- Rejecting the bids received for a project to improve access at city parking lots for people with disabilities because of an error in the selected bidder’s proposal and authorizing the project to be put out to bid again
- The annual report on how the city is meeting the standards identified in the Growth Management Program
- An update on the city’s response to the traffic safety emergency, possibly extending the traffic safety emergency and endorsing the “Vision Zero” goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and serious injuries
- A report on a slight increase in hepatitis A cases among people experiencing homelessness, and the city’s state of readiness in case of an outbreak
- City Council appointments to the agency that provides fire and medical emergency dispatch services to the Carlsbad Fire Department and other North County fire departments
- Appointing the first five members of the city’s new Community-Police Engagement Commission
A link to the full agenda and staff reports is available on the city’s website. You can watch the meeting live on the city’s website or cable TV channel.
These city meetings are also taking place next week:
March 20, 5:30 p.m. – Parks & Recreation Commission
March 22, 4 p.m. – Library Board of Trustees
March 23, 5 p.m. – Carlsbad Tomorrow: Growth Management Citizens Committee
St. Patrick’s Day safety reminder
Lastly, I want to leave you with a safety reminder for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. If you’re planning to go out, please celebrate responsibly by arranging to use a ride-share service or designating a driver.
- The Carlsbad Police Department will have extra officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of driving under the influence.
- We also encourage everyone to follow the “see something, say something” rule. If you see someone you suspect is driving under the influence, call 911.
Keeping our roads safe is a community effort. We truly appreciate each of you partnering with us to make that happen.
Scott Chadwick, Carlsbad City Manager
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