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Coastal Rail Trail
The Coastal Rail trail expansion is expected to take place in 2022. Courtesy photo
Cities Community Community Encinitas News

Encinitas City Council hears SANDAG plan on Rail Trail extension

ENCINITAS — At an Encinitas City Council meeting on September 23, SANDAG presented a plan to move forward with planning and design expanding the Coastal Rail Trail from Santa Fe Drive to F Street beginning in the spring of 2022.

Additionally, the council discussed the results Councilmember Kellie Hinze’s mask initiative, residents complaints in regards to unlawful activities on Cornish Avenue, as well as declared October 7, 2020, to be “California Clean Air Day” encouraging all residents and businesses to participate in activities that “help clear the air for all Californians.”

The September 23 meeting and associated agenda can be viewed here.

As presented by SANDAG, the council heard updates on the next phase of Coastal Rail Trail (CRT) construction, though estimates on cost are not yet available.

The multi-use pathway will be located between established train tracks and Vulcan Avenue, take an estimated 10-12 months to construct, and measure wider than the current Cardiff trail at 16 feet.

Councilmember Joe Mosca voiced his hope that quiet zones would be included in SANDAG’s plans, making the CRT “safer and used more frequently by residents and visitors alike.”

Mosca also insisted SANDAG and city planners take into account lessons learned in the first phase of the CRT regarding which materials last longest and require the least maintenance by the city.

During the meeting, Mayor Catherine Blakespear noted that the Coastal Rail Trail itself was recently awarded the “Alternative Modes & Active Transportation” award by the Women in Transportation Foundation.

According to the City Manager’s office, the award “recognizes excellence in projects embracing innovative, alternative solutions, projects or policies where women filled essential personnel and leadership positions.”

Additionally, Councilmember Kellie Hinze shared closing information on the volunteer mask program which handed out free face masks to residents and visitors at several beach entrances including Moonlight and Beacons.

“60 volunteers devoted nearly 200 hours of community service to our city between the Fourth of July weekend and Labor Day, distributing 21,300 masks to beachgoers,” Hinze reported.

“A lot of people contributed and I’m grateful,” Hinze said. “we were successful in preventing community spread at our beach access points and kept the beaches open all summer long.”

One week prior, during a meeting on September 16 the council also unanimously approved licensing agreements installing surf cameras at Moonlight Beach, as well as discussed upcoming improvements to North Leucadia.

Surf cameras will be installed and maintained by Surfline, a private company responsible for over 600 ocean cameras worldwide, and will net $645 per month for the city.

Four cameras in total will be placed on Encinitas’ shoreline- three atop the Marine Safety Center at Moonlight Beach and one on the Swami’s Lifeguard Station. The total revenue will be $7,740 over the course of 12 months and a total of $23,330 for the duration of the three-year contract.

According to the City Council agenda report, Marine Safety Captain Larry Giles requested the city direct the monthly funds from the camera to the Marine Safety Division itself to offset the purchase of video monitors.

Additionally, the council heard an update from city staff on future improvements to the North Leucadia neighborhood.

On November 18 the City Council will decide on a traffic signal at the intersection of La Costa and Vulcan, while projects rehabilitating specific pavement areas, Leucadia Streetscape, as well as stormwater and drainage improvements will be discussed further in coming months.

The city will also send three possible locations for crosswalks on Vulcan to the Planning Commission for further evaluation in the coming months.

“All of our engineers are working at full capacity to deliver the projects presented to ensure [the city] can continue to improve mobility, drainage, and provide parking and safe passage,” City Development Services Director Lillian Doherty said.

City Clerk Kathy Hollywood took a moment in closing to remind residents that ballots will be mailed to all registered voters in San Diego County starting on October 5. If residents have not received their ballots by October 19, Hollywood instructed them to either call the Registrar of Voters for tracking information or visit www.SDVote.com to sign up for personal mailing notifications.

The September 16 meeting and associated agenda can be viewed here.