Residents of Del Mar are walking all over a plan by the North County Transit District (NCTD) that would help prevent trespassing on railroad tracks.
The NCTD wants to build a 1.4-mile-long, 6-ft-high chain-link fence on both sides of a line that sits on top of the Del Mar bluffs. During a council meeting on Jan. 11, residents and officials rejected the plan.
The fencing would be installed from south of 4th Street to Seagrove Park, but those opposing the barrier say it would block beach access, ruin ocean views, lower property values and discourage tourism.
NCTD representatives made a presentation on the plan during the meeting, and Lurae Stuart with WSP pointed out that trains travel at speeds ranging from 50-90 mph and over a recent five-year period there were 12 train vs. person events in Del Mar.
The council did not vote on the proposal, but did approve a grant-funded, $283,000 feasibility study of constructing more track crossings in the area. Currently there is only one legal pedestrian crossing of the train tracks.
The study offered up three options to reducing the risk of trespassing on the tracks in Del Mar. The choices cost between $1.68 million to $6.05 million and involve installing more safety measures like cameras, warning speakers and lights that would be motion-activated.
In addition to negative comments from Del Mar residents, Councilman Dan Quirk has started a online petition against the fence idea, and has collected more than 5,000 signatures.
Officials also said thousands of people make it safely across the tracks each year.