Letter to the editor: Rest in peace, Cardiff Kook

We have all enjoyed the Cardiff Kook statue, but sadly, if Councilmembers Shaffer, Kranz and Blakespear have their way, an important part of our community’s beach character (which the Kook represents) will be lost.

These three City Council members voted, in effect, on May 20 to block beach access across the railroad tracks, and to eliminate a substantial amount of beach/visitor parking on San Elijo Avenue. If that wasn’t enough, they will eliminate the informal dog park/path along the railroad tracks, where dozens of people enjoy walking their dogs off-leash every day.

Council members Shaffer, Kranz, and Blakespear’s votes say that existing beach access isn’t as important as a new regional bike path. Want to bike to the shopping center? The council will make that easier for you. Want to surf or enjoy a day at the beach with your family? The council will make that a lot harder.

Never mind that a lot of people live in Cardiff because of the easy access to the beach. Never mind that the regional bike path can be expanded along Highway 101 (where it is currently located) a lot cheaper than moving it to the east side of the RR tracks along San Elijo Avenue. Never mind that putting a lot more bike traffic on San Elijo Avenue will make the street more, not less, hazardous for residents backing out of their driveways and others that use the roadway.

Yes, there was some discussion among the council members about the need to install a grade crossing at Montgomery Avenue, but where was the commitment of funding for that crossing and another between Verdi Avenue and Cornish Drive? Where was the vote that said no project unless the railroad crossing is constructed first or the fence requirement is dropped? How about no Rail Trail project unless parking is preserved?

Without these commitments, it is hard to take the council’s discussion seriously. It does not take Nostradamus to see that the council’s plan is to build the project on San Elijo Avenue with a fence blocking beach access; and then blame NCTD, or SANDAG, or lack of funds, when the promised railroad crossings don’t get built. After the Rail Trail and fence are in place, the council will move on and the community will be fenced off from the beach.

Get down off the pedestal, Cardiff Kook, and move on, Cardiff will no longer be a community with convenient beach access.

Ralph Thielicke, Cardiff