ENCINITAS, Calif. — Changes to a historic California highway have been made nearly three months after a North County leader was hit by a truck and seriously injured.
Along a stretch of N. Coast Highway 101, you will now find four raised crosswalks between El Portal and Phoebe streets.
“I think that it’s great that they put it in. It’s dark and there’s no parking over here so you have to park over there and you just had to dash across the street and it wasn’t safe,” resident Dana Davis said.
“It’s actually a good thing because people did kind of zip around here and it kind of makes it easier for you to pull out or for you to even walk across the street,” Chanse Broten said.
The interim crosswalks come after bicycle and pedestrian safety advocate Roberta Walker was hit by a truck along the highway in December.
“Her accident was devastating for the whole community. She’s been a bike/walk advocate her whole entire life so it was a huge tragedy for us, but it’s a miracle she survived and she’s recovering so we’re very thankful for that,” said Annika Walden, executive director for Leucadia 101 Main Street.
Walden calls the raised crosswalks a step in the right direction.
“My office is facing the street and I have seen people slow down drastically,” Walden said.
City leaders said the crosswalks are something they have been planning for more than a year and said there are more changes to come.
“Leucadia Streetscape is actually a project that’s been approved and reduces the travel lanes down to one lane each direction. Providing some wider bike lanes, actually designated and pedestrian areas and actually some formalized parking in the rail corridor,” Development Services Director Brenda Wisneski said.
There are residents against the project who argue reducing four lanes to two would cause congestion and slower commutes.
As for the raised crosswalks, FOX 5 has heard and read some complaints by people caught off guard by them. A number of drivers have said there is not enough advanced warning.
“People drive pretty fast down the coast so I would just say maybe putting up another sign like cross walking ahead,” Emily Frazier said.
City officials say they’re open to suggestions and will continue working on making the beach town destination safer for everyone.