Encinitas confirms rail trail route

The Encinitas City Council on April 27 approved a letter confirming its support for putting the Cardiff Rail Trail on Coast Highway 101.

In March, the council scrapped a plan to place the rail trail east of the tracks on San Elijo Avenue, and instead pursued the Coast Highway 101 alignment.

To make sure the council doesn’t change course again, SANDAG asked for a letter from the city formally requesting that the Cardiff Rail Trail go on Coast Highway 101.

SANDAG has yet to weigh in on whether changes can be made to the alignment.

Debate over where to put the Cardiff Rail Trail — a biking and walking path — raged for more than a year.

Last spring, Councilwoman Catherine Blakespear was part of a council majority that supported the San Elijo Avenue alignment, rather than Coast Highway 101. But concerns over too much concrete alongside San Elijo Avenue, among other things, led her to reconsider, leading to the Highway 101 option.

SANDAG had allocated $5.1 million toward the Cardiff Rail Trail, but it appears only $4.6 million is available now.

The agency has indicated it spent $500,000 on pre-construction engineering work on the San Elijo Avenue route, which can’t be applied toward the Coast Highway 101 alignment, according to a city staff report.

The cost of the Highway 101 alignment has yet to be determined.