News from the City of Carlsbad | Aug. 31, 2023
As Labor Day approaches, I want to wish our entire community a safe and restful weekend. If you’re taking a road trip or enjoying all things locally, traffic is expected to be higher than normal, so please be prepared and look out for one another. I’ll dive deeper into holiday weekend safety tips in this week’s newsletter and share these updates:
- Saving energy with new city street light bulbs
- Maintaining community character through design
- Shaping the future of Parks & Recreation
- Labor Day traffic safety and an upcoming bike safety class
- Construction to start on new traffic safety improvements
- Preparing older adults for disasters
- Update on the city’s sign enforcement process
- What’s open, what’s closed on Labor Day
- Get involved: Upcoming meetings
Saving energy with new city street light bulbs
The city is continuing to invest in ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier, more sustainable community. Our latest effort comes in the form of 2,115 energy efficient LED light bulbs the city will be installing on many residential and city streets through the rest of the year.
- On Tuesday, the City Council approved a contract to replace aging “cobra-head” streetlights with the new LED bulbs.
- The LED lights are about 30% more efficient than the older induction bulbs, which helps reduce the city’s energy and maintenance costs.
- Last year, the city converted about 1,500 streetlights to LEDs along major roadways.
- About 53% of the city’s streetlights will have been converted to LEDs by the time this phase is complete.
The city isn’t done installing LEDs and carrying out its Climate Action Plan. Next, the city plans to install LEDs in larger sections of residential streets throughout the city. That project is expected to come before the City Council in early 2024. LEARN MORE
Maintaining community character through design
Carlsbad’s always been known for its coastal vibe and small-town charm, which is why preserving that community character is one of the five goals in the City Council’s 5-Year Strategic Plan. That’s a key reason on Tuesday, the City Council approved objective design standards that will apply to future multifamily housing and mixed-use projects built in Carlsbad.
The standards don’t change any of the city’s existing rules for things like building heights, density or how far back a building must be from the street, but they give the city a way to enforce a building’s look and style while complying with state requirements aimed at addressing California’s housing crisis.
- The state has changed how new apartments and condominiums are approved, in part to streamline the process so these types of projects can be built more quickly.
- Cities can require certain design standards, but only if they are considered “objective.” For example, to prevent vehicle lights from shining into neighboring homes, the city requires parking areas within 15 feet of a residential unit to be in a garage, carport, parking structure, or screened by a solid wall, fence or landscaping at least six feet tall.
- By having enforceable design standards, the city will help ensure new multifamily and mixed-use projects built in Carlsbad fit with the city’s character.
The citywide objective design standards approved Tuesday apply to all areas outside of the Village and Barrio.
The City Council also approved a separate set of design standards and architectural styles specifically for the Village and Barrio, two of Carlsbad’s oldest neighborhoods.
The Village and Barrio standards include seven architectural styles developed based on input gathered from the community last summer and a citizens’ design review committee the City Council formed. LEARN MORE
Shaping the future of Parks & Recreation
Whether it’s parks, pools, trails, camps or classes for all ages, the city’s parks & recreation services touch the community in countless ways.
That’s why I was not surprised we heard from so many people when it came to planning the future of our Parks & Rec Department priorities. I’m talking thousands of public comments across four community meetings, focus groups and a scientific survey.
Our staff reviewed all the community’s ideas and drafted a new Parks & Recreation Master Plan, which is ready to be presented to city commissions for review in September and to the City Council for final approval in the fall.
The updated plan outlines parks and recreation priorities over the next seven years, including maintaining the city’s existing parks, programs and facilities at their current high quality, and completing new projects that are already in the works, such as:
- Veterans Memorial Park
- Robertson Ranch Park
- Rebuilding Monroe Street Pool
- Building additional outdoor pickleball courts
Under our current Parks and Recreation Master Plan, adopted in 2015, the city completed several new and expanded parks and recreation projects, representing a total investment of more than $25 million, including:
- A community center, ornamental gardens and community garden at Pine Avenue Community Park
- The city’s first outdoor pickleball courts, an arena sports field, and an expanded playground at Poinsettia Community Park
- A dog park, along with an added restroom facility at Poinsettia Community Park
- An entryway with an outdoor fitness circuit and picnic areas, and a community garden at Calavera Hills Community Park
- A gathering space with a stage, picnic areas, catering facilities and restrooms at Aviara Community Park
Labor Day traffic safety and an upcoming bike safety class
Some of you may have already hit the road for Labor Day plans, but it’s always a good time to brush up on safety tips. After all, Labor Day is usually a busy travel season and here in Carlsbad, thousands of people will be enjoying the beaches and downtown areas.
This week I wanted to share some specific pedestrian safety tips (it’s Pedestrian Safety Month in the state). You may likely know these tips already, but when a collision could happen in a blink of an eye, it’s worth repeating to prevent serious injury, or worse.
- Be predictable. Walk on the sidewalk and cross the street at crosswalks if they are available.
- Look left, then right, then left again for approaching vehicles before you cross. A driver traveling just 30 mph needs at least 90 feet to stop, that’s the distance between home base to first base on a baseball field.
- Be visible. Make it easier for drivers to see you by wearing light colors and reflective materials and carrying a flashlight.
- Stay off your phone. Chatting and texting are distracting.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk to the side and face traffic so you can see cars and bikes approaching
- Get more tips at carlsbadca.gov/saferstreets.
On the bike safety front, on Sept. 9, the city’s Police Department will present bike and e-bike safety classes that meet the requirement for local school bike parking permits. No registration is required. LEARN MORE
Construction to start on traffic safety improvements
Speaking of pedestrian safety, construction will start after Labor Day on two projects designed to enhance safety for people getting around Carlsbad. We know construction work can cause temporary traffic delays and noise during working hours, so we appreciate your patience as we work to improve these areas for everyone. When you’re traveling through a construction zone, please use caution, slow down and share the road.
Carlsbad Boulevard improvements
After Labor Day, work will start on pedestrian crossings along Carlsbad Boulevard at Cherry and Sycamore avenues.
- Traffic control signs will be in place that will temporarily close bike lanes and a traffic lane in the area.
- Once those crosswalks are finished, crews will move on to Maple, Oak, and Hemlock avenues over the next several months.
- The work is happening in stages to ensure people can access the beach at other crosswalk locations safely during construction.
Avenida Encinas improvements
Construction is also starting in early September along the southern part of Avenida Encinas. Work will begin at the Carlsbad Boulevard intersection and move north to the Poinsettia Coaster Station.
This project is part of the regional Coastal Rail Trail, adding bike and pedestrian enhancements such as crosswalks and buffered bike lanes, while supporting safe speeds along Avenida Encinas. Sign up for email updates.
Preparing older adults for disasters
September is also National Preparedness Month. While everyone needs to prepare for disasters, we’re putting a special emphasis this year on helping older adults be ready.
Our older community members may be at greater risk from extreme weather events and other potential emergencies, especially if they are living alone, have limited financial resources or have a disability.
Planning ahead is the key to getting through a large-scale emergency with minimal stress and disruption.
- Get a kit of emergency supplies together. Include items that meet your individual needs, such as medicines, medical supplies, batteries and chargers.
- Make a plan for how you will contact family members and caregivers, what mode of transportation and routes you will use in case of evacuation and where to reunite with loved ones.
- Stay informed and know how to get updated information during an emergency. Register your cell phone and email address with AlertSanDiego, the regional emergency mass notification system.
Find a list of what to include in your emergency supply kit, plus more disaster-preparedness resources, in our quick-start Emergency Preparedness Guide on the city’s Emergency Preparedness page. LEARN MORE
Update to commercial sign enforcement process
The City of Carlsbad has laws prohibiting certain kinds of signs on public property, including streets, sidewalks and the city’s “right-of-way,” which typically extends about 10 feet from the curb. The rules apply to all kinds of commercial signs, including real estate signs, campaign signs, A-frames and more.
The city’s sign ordinance helps protect public safety and maintain community character while protecting free speech on private property. The rules haven’t changed, but we recently updated the process for retrieving signs that have been removed because they violated the ordinance.
- Signs can be picked up by appointment on the first and third Wednesday of the month, between 9 and 10 a.m. at the Faraday Center, 1635 Faraday Ave.
- As of Sept. 1, a fee of $25 will be charged for the first sign removed, plus $5 for any subsequent sign(s) removed.
- Signs must be picked up within 30 days or they will be discarded.
Learn more on the city’s code enforcement webpage.
What’s open, what’s closed on Labor Day
City offices in Carlsbad will be closed on Monday for Labor Day, but trash pickup won’t be delayed. A full holiday schedule for city services is listed below:
- City offices: Closed
- Emergency services: Regular service
- Trash pickup: No delay
- City pools: Close at 2 p.m.
- Libraries and Cultural Arts facilities: Closed
- Community centers: Closed
- Senior Center: Closed
- Leo Carrillo Ranch: Closed
- No street sweeping on city holidays
- Transit: For the holiday transit schedule, please visit gonctd.com or call 5-1-1
For more information, please call the City of Carlsbad at 442-339-2820.
Get involved: Upcoming meetings
The next City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, Sept. 12, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chamber.
A link to the full agenda and staff reports will be available on the city’s website by the Friday before the meeting. You can watch the meeting live on the website or the city’s cable TV channel.
Meanwhile, two city commissions are meeting next week:
Have a fantastic Labor Day weekend enjoying our beautiful weather. There’s so much to do right outside our doorsteps, we truly live in one of the greatest parts of the world. If you travel over the holiday or stay local, please be safe and look out for each other.
I’ll be back next week with more updates.
Scott Chadwick, City Manager
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