OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside City Council has approved a route for the city’s final portion of the Coastal Rail Trail, a 44-mile bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfare connecting North County to San Diego, linking the existing segments of the trail together along the rail corridor.
The council approved the project’s initial study, monitoring program, and alignment from Oceanside Boulevard to Morse Street.
The new trail connector will be 14-feet wide with a 10-foot wide paved pathway and 2-foot shoulders on each side, along with fencing on both sides. The buildout will include constructing a prefabricated steel truss bridge over the Loma Alta Creek at Buccaneer Park, with a concrete observation deck that will run parallel next to North County Transit District’s railroad bridge already crossing over the creek.
“Also, within Buccaneer Park, we’ll have a vegetative retaining wall,” said Project Manager Mahsima Mohammadi at the Dec. 1 council meeting.
In 2017, city staff heard from residents about potential alignment options including concerns about potential impacts to the park. To minimize conflicts between trail and park users, the Coastal Rail Trail will be elevated over the park instead of cutting through it, in an effort to prevent any impacts to the existing footpath along Loma Alta Creek.
The city’s Bicycle Master Plan has deemed this project a priority in the city.
The project is still in its preliminary design phase. The city still needs a regular coastal permit and coastal development permit as well as NCTD’s permission, which Mohammadi said will be obtained in the project’s final design.
“We are far from the construction,” Mohammadi said.
Carlsbad resident Katie Taylor told Council that they needed to address the city’s homelessness issues before they approve this project so that they don’t struggle with the same issues with homelessness along the Coastal Rail Trail in Carlsbad.
Mohammadi noted that staff will work with the city’s police department to make sure some community concerns regarding homeless foot and bike traffic through that stretch of the rail trail will be addressed by the time the path is ready for use, which likely won’t be for another three to four years.
“Plenty of time to address the issues and see how our homeless shelter is doing,” said Mayor Esther Sanchez. “Hopefully well.”
Plans are currently underway to prepare the former Ocean Shores High School to become the site of the city’s new homeless shelter. The San Diego Rescue Mission will operate the 50-bed facility due to open by late spring or early summer.
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