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Stay up to date on rail corridor projects

With several capital improvement projects planned for Encinitas’ coastal rail corridor (the area between Leucadia and Cardiff along the coast) by various local agencies — including the city of Encinitas — there are a couple of ways that the public can receive accurate, timely information to mitigate the projects’ impact.

It is important to note that some of the projects, most notably the Coastal Rail Trail which has been the source of controversy in the community, still require details and agreements to be worked out. Currently, the Encinitas City Council and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) are working on securing Coastal Commission approval to build segment 39C (through Cardiff) on the Highway 101 side of the railway.

In fact, all of the projects listed — the Rail Trail, Coastal Mobility and Livability Study, San Elijo Lagoon Double Tracking, Batiquitos Lagoon Double Tracking, Chesterfield Drive Rail Crossing Improvements, Montgomery At-Grade Pedestrian Rail Crossing and the Leucadia Short-term Drainage Improvements — are still working on finalizing timelines and work schedules.

Which is why the city has created individual project websites at www.encinitasca.gov/railprojects, and is now offering project-specific email updates, which residents can sign up for at www.keepsandiegomoving.com/transnet-

contact. General updates are also available by signing up for the city news and City Manager weekly updates at www.encinitasca.gov/newsletters. With many projects approved and in-progress by other agencies, including SANDAG, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the North County Transit District (NCTD), the city of Encinitas will continue to proactively communicate information to community members as it’s made available.

“We recognize that there will be disruptions, so we want residents to know when and where projects are underway so that they can make their plans accordingly,” Encinitas’ Director of Public Works Glenn Pruim said in a news release. “Whether it be residents understanding the best route for their commute, or regular lagoon visitors needing to know about what entrances are open, we’re wanting to inform the public in every way possible so that they understand project impacts and can make decisions on how best to minimize the short term inconveniences.”

The following are the projects planned or proposed along the rail corridor later this year or in early 2017, along with descriptions written by the city of Encinitas.

Coastal Rail Trail: Led by SANDAG, there are four segments of Coastal Rail Trail planned for construction in the city of Encinitas. Advertising for construction of the first segment, located in Cardiff, Segment 39C, is scheduled for Feb. 2018. This SANDAG project will help fulfill the vision laid out in the San Diego Regional Bike Plan to make riding a bike a useful form of transportation for everyday travel. The Cardiff segment of the Coastal Rail Trail is intended to provide a comfortable bike riding and walking environment for people of all ages and abilities and would connect many community assets along the way. Segment 39C, currently in the planning phase, falls between Chesterfield Drive to D Street.

Coastal Mobility and Livability Study: Led by the city, the Coastal Mobility and Livability Study (CMLS) links together three separate mobility studies: Rail Corridor Vision Study, Coastal Business Districts Parking Study and Active Transportation Plan. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan to determine the location of the various improvements proposed for the rail corridor including: Coastal Rail Trail, parking, Leucadia Streetscape, drainage improvements, pedestrian rail crossings, crossing improvements and a quiet zone.

A Public Participation Plan has also been outlined so that community members can plan to participate in workshops, community events and public outreach meetings to assist in developing the plan. The City Council has created the Coastal Mobility and Livability Working Group (CMLWG), consisting of members from the community, so that residents will be directly connected to how the city moves forward with projects in the rail corridor. Made up of 13 Encinitas community members, the CMLWG will work alongside the city to help develop and communicate to the community the various rail projects taking place in Encinitas.

San Elijo Lagoon Double Tracking: Led by SANDAG, this project is expected to begin in the fall of 2016. It will add 1.5 miles of second main track from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon and replace the more than 60-year-old wooden trestle San Elijo Lagoon rail bridge with a modern, double-track, concrete bridge. The project is needed to meet future increases in passenger and freight rail services, and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Batiquitos Lagoon Double Tracking: Led by SANDAG, this project is expected to begin in early 2017. The project will add 3/4 miles of second main railroad track from Avenida Encinas in Carlsbad to La Costa Avenue in Encinitas across the Batiquitos Lagoon. The project also includes replacing a 1930s-era wooden trestle bridge with a modern, double-track concrete rail bridge, which will improve lagoon tidal flow.

Chesterfield Drive Rail Crossing Improvements: Led by SANDAG, in collaboration with NCTD and the city of Encinitas, this project will improve the Chesterfield Drive railroad crossing and occur concurrently with the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project beginning in Sept. 2016. This project will improve safety and access at Chesterfield Drive for people walking, riding bikes and driving by constructing sidewalk curb extensions, a pedestrian path, rail crossing signals and gates and improved signage. The city has contracted for the design and installation of additional above ground improvements so that they can be constructed with the Chesterfield Drive Rail Crossing improvements. Once the construction of the above ground improvements, the city will seek the establishment of a Rail Quiet Zone for this location.

Montgomery At-Grade Pedestrian Rail Crossing: This project will complete the design and permitting for the installation of an at-grade pedestrian/bicycle rail crossing in the vicinity of the intersection of Montgomery Avenue and San Elijo Avenue. The project will enable cyclists and pedestrians to cross the railroad tracks legally from the east side to the coast. The crossing is needed to improve safety and ultimately provide additional legal access through the rail corridor in the community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Community input on the various crossing alternatives is still being collected and the next community event regarding this project is a wayside horn demonstration planned for late September.

Leucadia Short-term Drainage Improvements: Led by the city, this project is to complete the design and construction of short-term drainage improvements along the rail corridor beginning later this year. The long-term remedy for addressing storm water runoff for the Leucadia area is prohibitively expensive ($90 million). This project proposes to address lower cost alternatives to mitigate the impacts of average storm events in a more expeditious manner.

— Submitted press release


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