Officials from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) held a community celebration May 9 to mark the completion of three projects that will improve mobility, safety and transportation choices in the area.
The three projects, the San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project, Chesterfield Drive Improvement Projects and a segment of the Coastal Rail Train bikeway, represent nearly $100 million of investment in the city of Encinitas, Calif.
“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 completion of the $78-million San Elijo Lagoon Double Track Project in partnership with the North County Transit District added a second mainline rail track and replaced an aging timber single track rail bridge with a modern, concrete, double-tracked bridge. The project is part of work being performed to double track sections of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) coastal rail corridor to improve the movement of passenger and freight trains. The project, which began in 2011, added 1.5 miles of second main track from Cardiff-by-the-Sea to the southern border of the San Elijo Lagoon. The new segment of double tracked rail line creates more than four miles of continuous double track in the LOSSAN corridor. Engraved letters on the new rail bridge spell out C-A-R-D-I-F-F, with a letter on each of the new bridge columns.
“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.”
The opening of the 1.3-mile Encinitas segment of the Coastal Rail Trail is part of a larger planned continuous bike route that will run approximately 44 miles between the City of Oceanside and Downtown San Diego. Including the new segment, approximately 25.6 miles of the Coastal Rail Trail have been completed to date. The Encinitas segment connects Chesterfield Drive with Santa Fe Drive, along the east side of the rail line, bringing together residents, businesses, and schools in the small coastal community.
The Chesterfield Drive Improvements Project, completed in partnership with the city of Encinitas, included the installation of new rail crossing safety equipment, a modernized and enhanced rail crossing warning system, a multiuse bike/pedestrian path and ADA-accessible sidewalks and ramps. The safety improvements allowed the city of Encinitas to apply for a Quiet Zone with the Federal Railroad Association.
SANDAG explains that during the construction, a waiting platform for the original Cardiff Train Station was unearthed. Modifications were made to the trail to leave the platform in place, allowing the city of Encinitas to preserve this piece of history in the Harbaugh Seaside Parkway.
The projects were funded through a combination of federal, state, and local sources, including TransNet, the regional, voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation improvement projects administered by SANDAG.