If you’re one of those surfers or beachgoers who park near the train tracks when you’re heading to Swamis, getting across those tracks is about to get a lot easier and safer.
Yesterday marked the groundbreaking for a $5.9 million pedestrian crossing at the train tracks there near Santa Fe Drive and Coast Highway 101.
Right now, people heading to Swamis can take their chances and dart across the tracks, which is illegal, and considering more than 50 trains pass through here on an average weekday, also dangerous — or, people have to walk more than a mile to reach the closest legal crosswalk, which can be quite a chore with a surfboard or stroller in tow. The passageway under the train tracks, however, will soon provide everyone a safe and legal way to reach Swamis.
“This is a wonderful amenity for the community,” said Encinitas Mayor and San Diego Association of Government (SANDAG) Chairman Jerome Stocks during the groundbreaking, which was also attended by Encinitas City Councilmen James Bond, Mark Muir, Councilwoman Teresa Barth, San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater Price and Solana Beach City Councilman David Roberts. “By adding a safe, grade-separated pedestrian crossing at Santa Fe, residents, beachgoers, and businesses in the area will benefit from improved coastal access and no additional train horns,” Stocks added.
More pedestrian crossings like this are coming to Encinitas. This is the first of four planned for our city, all of which aim to improve safety along the busy Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor. The other crossings are planned for El Portal Street and Hillcrest Drive in Leucadia, and Montgomery Avenue in Cardiff.
According to SANDAG, the total cost of those four crossings is estimated at $25.7 million, of which $6.7 million in state and local funds have been identified. The city of Encinitas has contributed $1.25 million; and SANDAG has allocated $2.75 million from TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation.
SANDAG will build the project in collaboration with the city of Encinitas and the North County Transit District (NCTD), and construction should be done by the end of this year.