Above: An aerial view of San Elijo Lagoon. Courtesy photo/Youtube
ENCINITAS — The California Coastal Commission will decide next week whether to make a temporary construction road adjacent to the San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff-by-the-Sea permanent.
The San Diego Association of Governments and North County Transit District created the access ramp 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.
The projects are completed, but SANDAG and NCTD want the road in order to provide workers safe access to maintain the new infrastructure.
But neighbors, many who are weary after the two years of heavy construction in Cardiff, have stridently opposed keeping the road intact, writing letters since earlier this year after word of the plan to make the road permanent spread through the community.
“Absolutely, we are extremely opposed to the road becoming permanent for many reasons,” said Sheryl Kies, who wrote a letter to SANDAG in January opposing the permanent road. Kies said her husband has lived directly across the street from the road since 1982 and she since 1993. “Not only is it an eyesore, but also it is a traffic hazard, an area for people to party and hang out and it doesn’t look like Cardiff. It looks like a freeway. It is ridiculous.”
Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear and the Sierra Club have both written letters, however, citing no objection to the plan and hope the road can be used for a nature trail and viewing area on the edge of the lagoon on the east side of the bridge.
But to many neighbors, the trade is unacceptable.
“Obviously they are not thinking about Cardiff residents here,” Kies said. “It is not only impacting our neighborhood and our views, it is having an impact on the environment.”
Kies and other neighbors have recounted numerous occasions where people have used the road for social gatherings, playing loud music and leaving trash and debris.
Many of the neighbors said they were told two years ago that the road would be closed off in January 2019.
“Not only was it never in the plan that was laid out to us, but it has destroyed the entire reason we live here,” Kies wrote in her January letter.
The Coastal Commission meets June 12 to June 14 Best Western Plus at the Island Palms Hotel & Marina 2051 Shelter Island Drive San Diego, CA 92106. It will discuss the access road on June 12.