“This is when we start getting the phone calls” said John Helmer, the City Downtown Area Manager during a the monthly meeting of Main Street Oceanside, last Tueday. “Construction begins in earnest on the 12th and there will be pain” continued Helmer. Temporary walkways and detours will be part of the eight month process of converting the busy thoroughfare into a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly roadway. Helmer said the city was taking steps to make the transition as painless as possible.
Construction on the project began on October 24th with the conversion of Seagaze to one-way, eastbound and was fairly pain-free according to Helmer. Despite the signage and the roadway markings, people are still traveling the wrong direction on Seagaze. A local resident at the meeting voiced concern over the removal of diagonal parking spaces, on Seagaze, in front of the Post Office. Helmer said the parking was removed to accommodate bicycles on the one-way street. Several other residents objected to the project, in general, citing concerns of increased travel time to I-5 and emergency egress from the downtown in case of a tsunami or other event. Rick Wright, Executive Director of MainStreet explained that the improvement project has been in the works for a while with several city workshops, over the last couple of years, where they could have voiced their objections to the project but, that time has passed.
When the project is completed, Mission Avenue will become a one-way street, west-bound and Seagaze, one-way east-bound to Clementine where traffic is routed back to Mission and I-5 access. The reduction of a four lane, two-way street, to a one-way street will not add lanes for traffic flow. Instead, the two lanes westbound will accommodate new, wider sidewalks, a green-line shared traffic bike-way that will link to the San Luis Rey Bike Trail and new landscaping. Approximately 6 new parking spaces will be gained with the new reverse angle parking scheme.
The project, designed to re-invigorate the downtown area East of the Coast Highway is contracted to West Coast General, for 160 days and six phases.
More information about the Mission Avenue improvement Project can be found [here]. You can download the official city handout [here].