October, .13, 2022
Greetings from City Hall. This week the City Council approved a new strategic plan, which makes me very excited. I’ll explain why and share information on the following other topics in this week’s update:
- Reducing speeding on residential streets
- School resource officers
- Lifeguard season recap
- Fire prevention week
- World’s largest earthquake drill
- Pop-Up Art event
- Upcoming city meetings
Our first strategic plan
After almost a year’s worth of work and thousands of comments from the community, the City Council on Tuesday approved the city’s first ever five-year strategic plan.
- Historically, the City Council has set goals on an annual basis.
- This provided the direction staff needed to prepare the annual budget and set day-to-day priorities.
- Having a five-year plan will allow city staff to build greater momentum around implementing the City Council’s policy priorities, many of which are longer term in nature.
- Check ins each year will allow for evaluation and refinement.
So, what’s in the plan? The City Council developed five goals, drawing from the core values of the Carlsbad Community Vision.
- Community character: Maintain Carlsbad’s unique community character and connectedness
- Quality of life and safety: Prioritize the safety and well-being of the community
- Sustainability and the natural environment: Protect the environment and natural resources
- Economic vitality: Foster a healthy local economy
- Organizational excellence and fiscal health: Be a model for effective and efficient local government
Each goal has several objectives and performance measures that we’ll be reporting out on to track progress.
Brilliant at the basics
- When you look at the city’s budget, the lion’s share goes to fund core city services like police, fire, libraries and more.
- One of the strengths of the City Council’s new plan is that it recognizes the importance of maintaining these day-to-day city services at the high level expected by our community.
- We call this being brilliant at the basics, and it’s a big part of what makes Carlsbad special.
You can read the full plan on our website, and I look forward to sharing progress.
The city’s traffic engineers met with a group of residents this week to talk about ways to slow down cars driving through their neighborhood. I know speeding is a common concern when it comes to traffic safety, so I thought I’d share some of the most common questions the city receives and answers from our Transportation Director:
Can the city install more stop signs?
Stop signs are not actually very effective in slowing down traffic when they are placed at locations that otherwise wouldn’t warrant one. People tend to either ignore them or do a “rolling stop,” which is counterproductive if people are expecting cars to stop.
What are the best ways to reduce speeding?
Drivers tend to go as fast as the conditions allow. That’s why people go faster on a wide, straight highway than they would when traveling through a narrow alleyway. Visible enforcement slows people down, but we can’t put an officer at every street in the city. That’s why we use what engineers call “vertical and horizontal deflection” to alter how people drive.
Like the names imply, cars slow down when there are visual obstacles, either on the ground or coming in from the side. You’ll notice in newer neighborhoods like Bressi Ranch, curbs extend beyond sidewalks at intersections, narrowing the travel lane. This also slows cars down.
Speed cushions are also becoming more common. They are like speed bumps but less jarring, just enough to make you slow down. When spaced out properly, they are very effective in reducing speeds.
The goal is to slow cars down or encourage them to take wider roads meant to carry higher traffic volumes rather than cutting through neighborhood streets.
Changing street designs falls under the “engineering” part of the three Es of traffic safety, with the others being education and enforcement. No one approach can address everything related to traffic safety. That’s why our plan includes strategies in all three areas. I’ll spare you my favorite analogy here and instead share this image:
Partnering to keep schools safe
Since 1995, the City of Carlsbad has partnered with local schools through the School Resource Officer program. On Tuesday, the City Council renewed an agreement to provide three Carlsbad Police officers who will serve as school resource officers in Carlsbad Unified School District schools for the remainder of the school year.
- One officer will be assigned to Carlsbad High School, one will be assigned to Sage Creek High School and one will be assigned to the district’s middle and elementary schools.
- School resource officers are specially trained to work with high school and middle school students.
- They respond to law enforcement needs on or near campus, investigate crimes, enhance safety at school events and work to prevent problems in the first place.
- The city and school district split the cost of the program.
If you’re wondering about other school districts serving Carlsbad, the city’s Police Department has two additional school resource officers who serve campuses in the city operated by the Encinitas, San Marcos and San Dieguito Unified school districts.
Busy summer for city lifeguards
The City of Carlsbad’s ocean lifeguard program is now in its fourth year, approved by the City Council in 2018. City lifeguards provide seasonal services at the three-quarter of a mile stretch of beach at the city’s north end, which is not part of the California State Parks system and was previously unguarded.
Carlsbad’s four lifeguard towers are staffed generally from springtime through October with lifeguards who receive advanced level training. We call them paramedic lifeguards. Here’s some of what they’ve been up to over the summer, from May 27 to Sept. 5:
- Rescues – 1,027
- Medical aids – 1,298
- Public education contacts – 3,892
- Preventative actions (safety contacts) – 18,828
Preventive actions include contact that lifeguards make with beachgoers when they notice risky or unsafe behaviors. For example, lifeguards advise swimmers to steer clear of riptides and remind kids to shuffle their feet to prevent stingray stings.
Great job to all our city lifeguards.
Fire Prevention Week
Speaking of safety, it’s the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week, and our Fire Chief asked me to share some important information with you for the occasion.
Did you know you have less than two minutes to escape if a fire breaks out in your home? Here’s how to make sure you can make it out quickly:
- Plan and practice your home escape plan today.
- Know two ways out of every room.
- Have a meeting place in a safe location, and make sure everyone in the home knows where it is.
- Never re-enter a home that is on fire.
- Have working smoke alarms in all sleeping rooms and hallways leading to sleeping rooms. (Our Fire Department can help with that).
Learn more about home fire safety.
Great California ShakeOut
A week from today is the annual Great California ShakeOut, the world’s largest earthquake safety drill.
- You can practice the earthquake response procedure from work, school or home.
- If you register online, you will be counted in the final tally of participants (I am counting on a strong showing from Carlsbad!).
- The drill will start at 10:20 a.m. and last for one minute.
Do you know what to do in an earthquake? Here’s a refresher:
California residents can also download the free MyShake app to receive earthquake warnings. The app is a component of Earthquake Warning California, the country’s first publicly available, statewide warning system that could give California residents crucial seconds to take cover before you feel shaking. Earthquake Warning California uses ground motion sensors from across the state to detect earthquakes before humans can feel them and can notify you to take cover in advance of an earthquake.
Pop-Up Art at Aviara Park
We’re continuing to celebrate Arts & Humanities Month with special events throughout our community, including a free hands-on artmaking activity happening this Saturday at Aviara Park.
Pop-Up Art: An Interactive Experience
Saturday, Oct. 15 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Aviara Community Park, 6435 Ambrosia Lane
Join us to learn about the artwork of Michael McLaughlin, who created two whimsical bronze sculptures at the park, Myriad and Manzanita and California Quail and Cone, which are part of the city’s public art collection. After you’ve learned some background about the artist and artwork, you’ll have a chance to design and create your own sculpture.
While you’re there, Aviara Community Park’s overlook site is a great place to spend the day. Pack a picnic and check out other works of art in the city’s public art collection located near the playground area.
Find more Pop-Up Art events on the city’s website.
Get involved: Upcoming meetings
The next City Council meeting will be held Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. in the City Council chamber. Here are topics that are set to be discussed:
- An update on the city’s investments
- Increasing funding for an agreement with a consultant specializing in traffic safety public education
- Extending an agreement with a consultant to update the city’s master plan for parks and recreation
- Reimbursing the City of Encinitas for pavement and ADA-compliant curb ramps on Carlsbad’s side of Olivenhain Road
- Awarding a contract to replace the drinking water pipes that serve San Diego County’s McClellan-Palomar Airport
- Amending Carlsbad’s municipal code to adopt the state’s updated building and fire codes, with amendments tailored for Carlsbad
- Adding a “Mills Act” provision to the city’s municipal code to enable owners of historic properties to receive a break on their property taxes in exchange for their restoration efforts
- Adopting an ordinance that provides a means to adjust the compensation for the elected City Treasurer and City Clerk positions
- Approving a five-year plan for how the city will use just over $1 million in state housing funds
- Agreements to set up a single software system to manage the city’s assets, such as streets, streetlights, water, sewers and storm drains
- Consider extending the city’s proclamation of a local emergency for traffic safety (the emergency proclamation must be reviewed at least every 60 days)
A link to the full agenda and staff reports will be available on the city’s website by the Friday before the meeting.
In addition to the City Council meeting, these city meetings are planned next week. You can find the agendas and more information on each commission’s webpage.
- Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m. – Parks & Recreation Commission
- Oct. 17, 6 p.m. – Housing Element Environmental Scoping Meeting (at Faraday Administration Center)
- Oct. 19, 5 p.m. – Planning Commission
It was great to see so many community members at last Saturday’s Public Safety Open House. City staff enjoyed talking with hundreds of residents and providing helpful information to keep our Carlsbad community safe. If you missed it, here’s a video recap (warning, it’s going to make you want to come next year!).
Please remember to model safe behaviors on our roadways, whether you’re walking, biking or driving, and have a great weekend.
Scott Chadwick, Carlsbad City Manager