The Coast News Group
The Coastal Rail Trail path connects pedestrians and bicyclists with the undercrossing at Santa Fe Drive in the City of Encinitas. Courtesy photo

SANDAG celebrates completion of new transit projects in Encinitas

ENCINITAS — The San Diego Association of Governments today celebrated the completion of nearly $100 million in infrastructure upgrades in Encinitas.

SANDAG recently completed the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project, the Chesterfield Drive Improvement Project and the Cardiff-by-the-Sea section of the Coastal Rail Trail.

Construction crews installed a steel truss pedestrian bridge as part of the Encinitas Coastal Rail Trail project. Courtesy photo

The three projects are part of the larger Build NCC (North Coast Corridor) program, a 40-year, $700 million effort to repair and expand transportation infrastructure throughout the county.

The double track project added 1.5 miles of a second rail line between Cardiff and the San Elijo Lagoon, a new concrete rail bridge over the lagoon to replace a wooden single-track bridge, and various infrastructure
improvements along the new rail section.

The second track, which will service the North County Transit District, Metrolink, Amtrak and the freight line BNSF along the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail corridor, went into service in January.

SANDAG officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the three projects’ completion and formally open them to rail, vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

“Together, the completion of these projects will help serve multimodal transit growth throughout the region for years to come,” said SANDAG Board Chair and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. “Passenger rail services are expected to double over the next decade, and bike adoption continues to rise. These projects will help our region keep pace with growing demand.”

The 1.3-mile Cardiff section of the Coastal Rail Trail is part of a larger pedestrian trail that will eventually span nearly 45 miles from Oceanside to downtown San Diego. According to SANDAG, roughly 25 miles of the trail has been completed to date.

The Chesterfield Drive project added new safety equipment to warn of approaching trains, as well as a pedestrian path and sidewalks and ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The upgrades enabled the city of Encinitas and the Federal Railroad Association to designate the
area as a quiet zone, meaning passing train engineers no longer need to sound their horns when approaching the crossing.

“The completion of these projects is a big deal to our community,” said SANDAG Board Vice Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “The positive impacts of the safety improvements, increased health and wellness from new travel choices and connectivity hubs will be felt immediately.”

SANDAG funded the three projects with federal and state grants as well as revenue from TransNet, the county’s half-cent sales tax on public transit.

The San Elijo Double Track Project cost roughly $77 million while the rail trail and Chesterfield Drive projects cost an estimated $11 million and $6 million, respectively.


taxpayerconcerns May 10, 2019 at 5:12 pm

Cardiff has suffered irreparable damage to the bluffs in the community.
Put the blame on the bluff destruction where it belongs – this asinine Mayor and Council. Two-thirds of the Cardiff ocean facing bluffs have been demolished and cemented above the railroad. It looks like the side of the freeway. The Coastal Commission approved this destruction along with the Mayor and Council.
SANDAG took over NCTD, but NCTD still functions as the railroad agency. NCTD stated that fencing would come in 5 to 10 years. Without the cement sidewalk trail and double tracking, fencing was years down the road. Put the blame on the Mayor and Council for the loss of mobility. In 2014 the Council refused to make a city EIR on what the environmental damage to the city would be with all of these projects. Instead, they let SANDAG perform the EIR.
City officials volunteered to have all of these “projects” under an “early action” plan that switched money from projects in the south and east part of San Diego County. The blame is on the Encinitas city officials for the destruction of the city’s natural environment.

taxpayer2017 May 10, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Cement, cement, and more cement. When will Poway and the other cities get cemented over as SANDAG and the Encinitas Council did to the city’s natural environment?

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