DEL MAR — Plans to construct a temporary train platform south of the Del Mar Fairgrounds have been placed on hold, and possibly abandoned, according to officials from North County Transit District.
Matt Tucker, NCTD executive director, said he directed his staff on Nov. 18 “to focus 100 (percent) of our attention on advancing the downtown platform based on our ability to move that project forward faster.”
NCTD has simultaneously been exploring additional train stops to provide more direct access to two areas — the fairgrounds and downtown near the Convention Center, Gaslamp District and Petco Park.
“With limited resources, we now have a project we can get moving on,” Alex Wiggins, NCTD communications director, said about the downtown platform.
“We have support and funding so we are going to throw our efforts at that project,” he said.
“Our efforts are going to focus on a more permanent solution for Del Mar,” Wiggins said.
The San Diego Association of Governments recently allocated $7 million to NCTD for preliminary planning and environmental studies for a permanent station and platform north of the river and west of the fairgrounds.
Estimated to cost about $80 million, that long-discussed project includes double tracking and replacing the bridge to raise the trestles out of the flood plain.
“We are hopeful that SANDAG will receive additional funding to advance the bridge replacement and station construction after completing the environmental and planning process,” Tucker stated in a recent e-mail.
NCTD was proposing to build a temporary train stop east of the beach colony community at 21st through 24th streets to provide more direct access to the fairgrounds during its two main events — the county fair and horse races.
NCTD hoped to increase ridership and revenue and decrease traffic and pollution by getting cars off the road.
About 300 Del Mar residents signed a petition opposing the stop, saying it would increase noise and pollution. They also feared it would become the “beach train,” resulting in more people crossing the tracks illegally and trespassing through their neighborhood.
“We are excited about the prospect of better serving the downtown market and hopefully the Fairgrounds in the future,” Tucker stated in the e-mail.