Encinitas mayor highlights city’s “tough action” on transportation in final State of the City address

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Newly completed projects that make it easier to drive, ride and walk around Encinitas took center stage during the mayor’s annual State of the City address Thursday night.

“One reason I’ve enjoyed this State of the City event every year is that it provides an opportunity to pause and take stock of what has happened over the past year and use that frame to consider the future, ” said Mayor Catherine Blakespear next to. the start of her televised address. “Without the State of the City, it could be easy to move from project to project, and priority to priority, without considering the seriousness of the milestones that have been completed. And for the city, there are many positive achievements to be noted in 2022.”

Among those key achievements were many transport projects, Blakespear said, including:

The mayor declared that she was extremely proud of the “transformative power” of the Leucadia Streetscape project along Coast Highway, along with the El Portal pedestrian tunnel.

“We’ve reconnected a community that was disconnected by a railroad track,” she said to huge applause. “And we’ve recreated a positive public space for meeting and traveling, which was a visible and growing highway.”

He addressed a crowd of about 200 people Thursday night at an event organized by the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce at the Alila Marea Beach Resort, which is at the north end of the Leucadia Streetscape project. The event was the sixth time Blakespear has presented the annual city status assessment. It’s also her last – she’s running for State Senate and isn’t seeking re-election to her mayoral post this fall.

For the second year in a row the speech was broadcast live on the city’s website, and although the video shifted from time to time and it was difficult to see the mayor’s face, the sound quality was good. To view the address, visit: https://m.youtube.com/c/CityofEncinitaCA/videos.

Among the crowd at Thursday’s event were representatives from the three associations on the city’s Main Street, many business people, elected officials and candidates for offices from school boards to water districts. One person who did not attend was Councilwoman Kellie Hinze, who recently gave birth to a daughter, the mayor noted.

Several times during her speech, Blakespear asserted that Encinitas was able to achieve many recent successes because elected city leaders, city employees and citizens were willing to take “bold action” to find solutions to difficult problems, with includes creating an overnight parking lot for people who are homeless and temporarily living in their vehicles.

“It goes without saying that controversy follows bold action,” Blakespear said at the end of her speech. “But when you see problems fixed and people’s lives improved, the pain of living through the controversy is well worth it.”

Future city leaders will also need to be willing to make tough decisions in the coming years, she said, especially in resolving the city’s housing development conflicts.

“This is the toughest ongoing discussion we have in the city,” Blakespear said, adding that she doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon. “I will see this city continue to struggle to find places to add affordable and market-rate housing.”

One arts-related project she hopes will be highlighted next year is the rehabilitation of the former Pacific View Elementary School. The City Council has agreed to set aside $7 million to turn the long-vacant school property into a cultural center for the city. The renovation work should begin early next year, and be completed by the summer of 2024, the mayor said, noting that there will be a special council meeting next week to discuss the renovation plans and construction bids. looking for. That meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday, September 6.

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