City of Encinitas establishes new ‘quiet zone’ in Cardiff

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony: Encinitas Assistant City Manager Mark Delin, City Manager Karen P. Brust, Council member Joe Mosca, Council member Kellie Shay Hinze, Encinitas Mayor Catherine S. Blakespear, Council member Tony Kranz, Management Analyst II Paul Bencick
(McKenzie Images)

A Chesterfield Drive “quiet zone” ribbon-cutting ceremony took place May 1 near the railway corridor at Chesterfield Drive to celebrate the community’s new 24/7 quiet zone.

Residents living along the railway corridor north of the San Elijo Lagoon will enjoy the new quiet zone that went into effect April 28 along a half-mile stretch of the railway corridor going northward and southward from Chesterfield Drive along the LOSSAN Railway Corridor.

The quiet zone was established by the city as part of the North Coast Corridor transportation project while work on the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project and Chesterfield Drive Rail Crossing Improvements Project was being constructed. The quiet zone project was developed and funded by the City of Encinitas in cooperation with San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), North County Transit District (NCTD), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Federal Railroad Administration, and the California Public Utilities Commission.

“This quiet zone was established under federal rules so that train engineers are no longer required to sound their horn at this intersection,” said council member and North County Transit District chairman Tony Kranz. “It should be noted that the rail engineer may still blow the train horn for any safety concerns he or she may have.”

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Encinitas Mayor Catherine S. Blakespear spoke of plans to make two other city crossings into quiet zones. McKenzie Images

The additional safety enhancements required to establish a quiet zone were two additional gates across the traffic lanes and concrete medians in the street. City staff and the partner agencies worked together to rebuild the rail crossing at Chesterfield Drive in January, which necessitated a three-week closure of the crossing to motorists. The rebuilt intersection includes a separated multi-use bike and pedestrian path, new ADA-accessible sidewalks and ramps, and new traffic signals and rail crossing safety features for motorists and pedestrians alike.

SANDAG’s budget for the Chesterfield Grade Crossing was approximately $6 million and was supplemented by city funds of approximately $770,000 for the installation of crossing gates, lights, and other safety measures required to implement the quiet zone.

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A safety reminder to pedestrians about the “quiet zone.” McKenzie Images

“We are really excited to announce this long-awaited quiet zone,” said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “We worked with SANDAG to minimize costs by constructing the required quiet zone safety improvements together with the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track and the Chesterfield Drive Grade Crossing Improvement projects. This will make a big impact on keeping our rail corridor quiet. We know how important it is for us to create safe and quiet neighborhoods in Encinitas, especially in this popular area, so that residents can enjoy a more peaceful quality of life.” -- News release

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A Coaster train passed through the intersection without sounding its horn after city officials made their remarks at the event. McKenzie Images