The Coast News Group

Coastal Commission makes access ramp permanent

ENCINITAS — A temporary construction road adjacent to the San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff-by-the-Sea is now permanent, the California Coastal Commission recently decided over neighbors’ objections.

The commission unanimously voted June 13 in favor of the access ramp, which was built two years ago to provide safe access for crews working on installing two parallel train tracks, replacement of a wooden trestle with a concrete bridge over the lagoon and safety upgrades at the Chesterfield Drive intersection with the railroad.

Neighbors were under the impression that the agencies would close the road once the projects were completed this year, but the North County Transit District and the San Diego Association of Governments, which spearheaded the efforts, changed their minds.

The agencies said they wanted the road to stay in order to continue to provide workers safe access to maintain the new infrastructure.

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, the Sierra Club and stewards of the San Elijo Ecological Reserve also signed off on the request.

But one by one, nearly 10 residents spoke at the hearing, imploring the Coastal Commission to vote against the permanent road. They said that the road had become a magnet for trespassers, trash and also sullied their once pristine coastal views by crews denuding the hillside adjacent to the road.

“You look down, viewing the sunset or whatever, and the view now is absolutely horrid,” one neighbor said. “The area has become a completely industrialized site. The road is going to get abused over time and be a complete eyesore and a menace to the community.”

The Coastal Commission received assurances from SANDAG and NCTD staff that the hill would be restored with native vegetation, and that the road would be properly secured so as to limit trespassing.