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News from the City of Carlsbad | Jan. 18, 2024

Recent storms have washed away sand from our beaches. Today I’ll explain what we’re doing about it, along with this other news of the week:

  • It really is easy being green
  • Safe Routes to Schools
  • See legends of rock and roll at the Cannon Art Gallery
  • Carlsbad Reads Together announces this year’s selections
  • Save the date: we’re about to unveil potential park designs
  • Monroe Street Pool update
  • Weekend rail closure
  • City meetings (including one of the final steps in housing sites decision)

Keeping sand on Carlsbad’s beaches

The latest storms have done a number on our beaches, washing precious sand out to sea and, in some cases, leaving nothing but a bed of rocks behind. This is typical for winter months, with some sand returning during the summer. However, keeping enough sand on local beaches is a growing challenge due to coastal erosion, heavy storms, sea level rise and other factors.

Source: Littoral Cells, Sand Budgets and Beaches: Understanding California’s Shoreline

Sand projects have been in the news lately. The City of Oceanside recently held a design competition to come up with new solutions for its shoreline and, just this week, news of a sand replenishment project put on hold in San Clemente mid-stream due to concerns about sand quality.

With the beach being such a big part of what makes Carlsbad special – and a large driver of our tourism economy (an estimated $2.4 billion in total economic impact and 22,000 jobs) – the city has a Beach Preservation Commission that investigates, researches, and makes recommendations to the City Council and the City Manager on coastal topics, studies and programs, including sand replenishment. The public is invited to attend their monthly meetings and provide input, and you can watch online live or after the fact. 

Sand replenishment at a glance Carlsbad beaches get sand from three main sources:

  1.  Regional effort: Sand doesn’t respect jurisdictional boundaries, which is why the San Diego County Association of Governments coordinates with local cities on a regional effort to dredge sand offshore and deposit it on local beaches. The next sand deposit from this effort is expected in 2027.
  2.  Lagoon dredging: Agreements are also in place that allow the Agua Hedionda and Batiquitos lagoons to be dredged regularly, which helps lagoon health and returns sand to our shores. Both are scheduled to be dredged this fall, returning more sand to local beaches.
  3. Oceanside dredging: The City of Oceanside dredges its harbor periodically, which deposits sand on nearby beaches. Some of this sand eventually makes its way down to Carlsbad. This is scheduled for spring 2024.

Oceanside’s regular maintenance dredging is different from its ReBEACH project, which is focused on developing innovative sand retention pilot projects for its beaches. The Oceanside City Council is planning to discuss the recommended approach from the design competition on Jan. 31. The City of Carlsbad is monitoring this project, which is still in the very early conceptual stages. 

Where does sand come from? Sand is created over time mostly from the weathering of rocks and shells. Some originates in the ocean, and some is transported to the coast by rivers and wind. Once the sand arrives, it settles in a self-contained area off the coast called a littoral cell.

  • The California coast is made up of several of these cells, where currents, waves, rivers, underwater canyons and other conditions transport sand, depending on the time of year and storm activity, to the beach and offshore within the cell, but not usually beyond the cell.
  • For this reason, these cells are sometimes called “containers” of sand.
  • So, when sand disappears from the beach, it isn’t all gone for good, it’s just moved into a different part of the cell, including on the ocean floor.

Carlsbad is within the Oceanside littoral cell, which starts in Dana Point and extends to La Jolla. 

Carlsbad beaches – The State of California manages most of the beaches in Carlsbad, except for a ¾ mile stretch at the north end of town. The city coordinates closely with California State Parks on issues related to local beaches, including sand replenishment. However, the state has the ultimate say over projects to deposit sand on its beaches.

Challenges – Sand projects are very expensive and require lengthy review and approval processes. Most use specialized dredging equipment, which is sort of like a giant sand vacuum, and great care must be taken to protect marine life. Dredging projects also must avoid nesting seasons for certain shore birds and other sensitive environmental conditions.

  • All of this makes planning and executing these projects challenging.
  • Agencies typically work for years before any dredging work can start, and then need to begin the planning and studies process all over again to be ready in time for the next project.
  • However, this work remains a priority, with the City of Carlsbad working on several fronts to help plan, fund and coordinate sand replenishment on an ongoing basis.


It’s easy being green

Continuing with some quick tutorials on new striping on Carlsbad streets, today I’ll focus on green paint. We have added green paint in areas where bikes and cars are mostly likely to cross paths.

Green paint does not change the rules of the road; it is used to make drivers and bicyclists more aware of each other as they share the road.

We have an overview of why green paint is used on our website, and here are a couple of specific examples:

Can you drive in the dashed green paint area?

  • Yes! The dashed green paint just highlights areas where bicyclists and drivers are likely to cross paths, such as approaching intersections where you can turn right.
  • Drivers must yield to bicyclists before driving across the dashed paint and make their right turn from as far right as possible. Doing so helps prevent a collision called the “right hook” when a car makes a right turn in front of a bicyclist. The video below shows how that can happen:

What does the solid green bike lane mean?

  • This area is for bikes and shouldn’t be crossed, except to enter a driveway.
  • You’ll likely see a solid green bike lane when there’s a designated right turn lane for cars available.
  • Enter the right turn lane in the dashed green area, which may be earlier than you think.

Who chooses what color green? Some of our eagle-eyed residents have noticed that the color of the green bike lanes has changed. Here’s why:

  • During the traffic emergency, we did not have as many options readily available and tried a few different shades of green paint on our roadways.
  • The brighter green you’re seeing more recently is now our standard because it’s easier to see and brings more attention to those areas.

All of these new markings on our roadways are designed to improve traffic safety for everyone. What other street markings are you seeing and want us to explain? Let us know.

Construction map – City crews are continuing to do road work across Carlsbad, including some remaining restriping. Remember, our construction map is updated every week to show where many city construction projects are taking place so you can plan ahead and consider an alternate route.

Safe Routes to Schools As part of the city’s collaboration with schools in Carlsbad, we’re asking parents and community members to let us know how we can make walking and biking to Jefferson Elementary and Sage Creek High schools a better experience for students and families. More students walking and biking would be good news for drivers too, because it would help reduce traffic in those areas.

  • These efforts are part of the city’s Safe Routes to School program, which is one of several ways the city is working with school communities to promote safe and convenient travel to and from campus.
  • Safe Routes to School focuses on walking and biking improvements, while other programs focus on driving.
  • Jefferson and Sage Creek both have unique programs that draw students from throughout the city, so not every family is close enough to walk or bike. But the more who do, the better traffic will flow and the less time will be spent waiting in school pick-up and drop-off lines. 
  • Use this online mapping tool by Jan. 21 to point out areas near the two schools where changes could help make walking or biking easier. Click on the colored icons to see ideas and comments other people have made.
  • The city anticipates expanding the program to other schools in Carlsbad in the coming years as budgets allow. 


Be visible and predictable – One of our readers asked me to remind everyone about the importance of being visible when biking at dusk, night and other times when it could be hard to see. Always wear bright clothes and reflective items, and make sure your bike has lights.

This video shows the kind of equipment available to help make sure drivers see you.

Go behind the scenes with rock and roll legends – Back in 1967, a 21-year-old Jann Wenner got some friends together to launch a new magazine that would come to define rock and roll. Today, the city’s Cannon Art Gallery is featuring a new exhibit of photos captured by one of those friends, Rolling Stone’s first chief photographer, Baron Wolman.

  • Prior to his death in 2020, Wolman donated his photo collection from that time to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where it has been on display.
  • From 1967 to 1970, he captured rare, behind the scenes images of musicians who have gone on to be legends.
  • After Wolman left the publication, Annie Liebowitz became the magazine’s chief photographer from 1973 to 1983, further defining this genre of art.

The Cannon exhibit was curated by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, presenting photographs from four areas of Baron Wolman’s Rolling Stone tenure, including California Rock, Women of Rock, Icons of R&B and Classic Rock. 

The opening reception isn’t until Feb. 24 but the images are being installed this week, and you can get a sneak peek if you stop by anytime from Jan. 20 on. If you’ve never been, the gallery is on the right as you enter the Dove Library courtyard.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Images of an Era

The Photography of Baron Wolman – Jan. 20 to June 1, 2024

Cannon Art Gallery, 1775 Dove Lane

I’ll share some photos of the exhibit once it’s fully installed, but in the meantime, you can get a feel for Wolman’s work on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s website. LEARN MORE

Announcing this year’s Carlsbad Reads Together books – This year’s book selection for Carlsbad Reads Together is “The Maid,” a New York Times #1 best seller by Nita Prose about a hotel maid suspected of murdering a wealthy guest.

Carlsbad Reads Together, which begins in April, is a communitywide program where everyone reads the same book at the same time. Thanks to the community for helping us choose this year’s book.

  • Readers who want to get an early start can reserve a copy of “The Maid” from the Carlsbad library.
  • It’s available in English and Spanish and in print, eBook or eAudiobook formats.
  • The 2024 teen book is “Sadie” by Courtney Summers, while the children’s selection is “Detective Mole” by Camilla Pintonato.

Learn more about the books and what’s next on our website. 

Save the date: Robertson Ranch park designs about to be released – Last year we sought your ideas for Carlsbad’s newest park, Robertson Ranch Park, located at the corner of El Camino Real and Cannon Road. Our park designers have come up with three different concepts, which we are refining and getting ready to release for input in the next week or so.

In the meantime, please mark your calendars for two upcoming opportunities to provide feedback:

  • Meet and speak with the park design team.
  • Learn how they took inspiration from Carlsbad’s natural landscape to create designs that reflect the community’s priorities.
  • Ask questions, share ideas and let us know where we got it right and what you would like to change.

In person meetingRobertson Ranch: A walk through 3 parks

Saturday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – City of Carlsbad Faraday Administration Center, 1635 Faraday Ave.

Drop by anytime during this first meeting for a “choose your own adventure” style walk through three information stations, each one focused on one of the park concepts.

Virtual meeting (via Zoom) Robertson Ranch: A walk through 3 parks

Thursday, Feb. 15, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Register here

Participate in group discussions about the park design concepts, ask questions and provide feedback.

We will also provide an opportunity to give feedback online. I’ll share the designs and a link for online feedback just as soon as they’re ready.

Based on other park planning processes, the final design usually ends up being a combination of the favorite elements of each design, so you don’t necessarily need to pick just one.

Monroe Street Pool preparing to reopen – I have good news to share on the reopening of Monroe Street Pool: The new pump has been successfully installed and safety checks are underway. This means the pool should be able to reopen next week. We will notify pool pass holders once we have a firm date (you can also sign up to get updates about the pool directly if you’re interested).

We appreciate the public’s patience as our staff has worked to get the pool back online. As you may know, due to the age of the equipment, parts were difficult to get, and when they finally arrived, they were damaged, causing an additional delay.

We are very pleased to have the most difficult work on this project behind us, and staff look forward to welcoming our community members back.

Coastal rail services suspended this weekend – The North County Transit District asked us to share the latest information about rail closures affecting Carlsbad.

This weekend, there will be no coastal rail line service between the Oceanside Transit Center and Santa Fe Depot in San Diego due to routine maintenance and rail infrastructure work. Learn more on the NCTD website by clicking on the COASTER link.. 

Upcoming meetings – There’s no City Council meeting next week, but a few of our city boards and commissions will be meeting in the City Council Chamber. See our city meetings calendar for dates and times. These meetings are also livestreamed on the city’s website and available to watch afterward.

Pickleball options – On Monday, city staff will present to the Parks & Recreation Commission options for where new pickleball courts could be built in Carlsbad. City Council gave staff direction to identify options for adding stand-alone pickleball courts (vs. courts shared with tennis courts) when it approved the Parks & Recreation Master Plan last year. Once the Parks & Recreation Commission reviews the options, they’ll make a recommendation to the City Council. You can see the potential locations when the agenda packet is published tomorrow. It will be on this page. The meeting starts at 5:30 at City Hall.

Housing sites – Looking ahead, on Jan. 30, the City Council is scheduled to consider rezoning properties in Carlsbad to comply with state laws requiring cities to meet projected demand for housing.

  • The city does not build housing, we are just required to make sure our zoning allows property owners to develop enough housing to meet the number of new housing units assigned to our city.
  • Just as with previous milestones in this process, everyone who lives near one of the proposed sites (or owns property near them) will be receiving a mailer with more information.
  • This is one of the final steps in a years-long effort that has included working with the community to identify and prioritize potential sites for new housing.
  • You can learn more about it on the city’s website, and I will share the agenda once it comes out for the Jan. 30 meeting (usually the Thursday before).

Finally, there’s a chance of rain this weekend, so if you’re going to head out, please leave extra time and slow down. Let’s all look out for each other on the road, and I’ll be back next week with more updates.

Scott Chadwick, City Manager

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City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008 www.carlsbadca.gov


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