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San Diego transit district to revive STB petition

By | November 22, 2021

Agency will seek ‘expedited’ ruling on fence, maintenance plans in Del Mar

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People walking on railroad tracks as train approaches
People walking on railroad tracks as train approaches
Trespassers walking along the bluffs in Del Mar, Calif., scramble away from the tracks as an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner approaches on Jan. 4, 2020. A North County Transit District petition to the Surface Transporation Board over fencing along the route will be revived. (Trains: David Lassen)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The North County Transit District plans to revive its regulatory efforts to build a safety fence along its rail line through Del Mar, Calif., saying it has been unable to reach agreement with the city, which opposes the fencing.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports the district board of directors, at a Nov. 18 meeting, authorized staff to renew the petition filed with the Surface Transportation Board, seeking a ruling that would give the district sole authority over safety and maintenance projects through the Del Mar Bluffs area.

The district first asked the STB to rule on the matter in an August filing [see “Digest: San Diego transit agency seeks STB ruling …,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 15, 2020], but asked the agency to place the matter on hold while it conducted talks with Del Mar and the California Coastal Commission [see “North County Transit District asked STB to delay action …,” News Wire, Nov. 7, 2020]. The delay has been extended at least once while talks continued.

As part of its renewal of the action, the district will ask the STB for an “expedited determination” if no agreement is reached by Dec. 31 with the city and commission.

NCTD Executive Director told the newspaper in an email that his agency has “worked constructively and collaboratively” with Del Mar and the commission to reach a solution, but that it is now time for the other two parties “to do their part to achieve a successful outcome that precludes the need for regulatory action.”

Residents have opposed the proposed chain-link fence because they say it will block access to the bluffs and beach and block ocean views, and are concerned about efforts to stabilize the bluffs, which are subject to landslides. The transit district has offered to lower the fence, use a different design, and move some fencing to decrease the impact on views.

The former Santa Fe rail line is used by Coaster commuter trains, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner service, and BNSF Railway freight traffic.

3 thoughts on “San Diego transit district to revive STB petition

  1. Let me get this straight. The local residents are opposing the fence in part because it would prevent them from trespassing on railroad property to get to the beach? Isn’t that the whole point of the fence? DId it ever occur to them that if they stayed off the tracks the fence wouldn’t be necessary? And that it is them, not the railroad, that is the problem?

  2. What a dysfuntional society we live in, that people demanding the right to trespass not only get a seat at the table but have (at least for now) have carried the day. This should have been resolved long ago and not in favor of the trespassers.

    Plz. pray for Waukesha, near to where we live, where I now volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and where I worked until retirement. Waukesha is a great city, a superb city, just a wonderful place. The best decision we ever made was to move to Waukesha County and out of Milwaukee County, where some reports claim that the judicial system released the monster who perpetrated this genocidal crime.

  3. If there was access to the beaches/bluffs before the railway was built, regardless of trespassing laws, under the CCC(California Coastal Commission) creation act and state law, access to public beaches takes precedence over private property if it existed before the property became private or if previous private ownership allowed it. That’s the law, the only thing that needs to be determined here is whether or not the public was accessing the beaches/bluffs before the railroad obtained the land. Sorry if the law is stupid, just ask the owner of property in Northern California that closed off access to a public beach and lost a lawsuit for doing so(because the previous owners allowed it on a trail that went through the property).

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