CARLSBAD — The California Coastal Commission approved the construction of the Coastal Rail Trail along Buena Vista Lagoon to unite pathways in Carlsbad and Oceanside at its March 7 meeting.
The new trail will run along the northbound side of Carlsbad Boulevard and include a sidewalk and a bike lane, and connect the existing Carlsbad Coastal Rail Trail on Carlsbad Boulevard with the Oceanside Rail Trail on Eaton Street.
The trail is designed to “enhance pedestrian and cyclist connectivity” along the coast, according to the project’s proposal.
Oceanside resident Rachel Heald wrote a letter of support to the Commission, stating that she and her children frequently walk along Carlsbad Boulevard and hope that the new trail would improve access to the area.
“We want to be able to walk and bike more in South Oceanside and Carlsbad Village,” Heald stated in her letter. “It’s simply not safe to take our small children along that strip of highway.”
When construction begins, Carlsbad Boulevard will be reduced to one lane in each direction.
The project also includes building a roundabout at Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street for better pedestrian and bicyclist access.
The Coastal Commission approved the project under six special conditions in order to remedy potential impacts to water quality and biological resources. These conditions include executing a storm water pollution prevention plan during construction, controlling erosion, planting only native plants, and requiring surveys of impacts to the wetlands before and after construction. Construction must also take place outside of the nesting season of the Least Bell’s vireo and light-footed clapper rail during Feb. 15 and Sept. 15.
The Commission didn’t receive any written comments against the project.
Planner Gabriel Burh from the San Diego Coast District Office has overseen the project since it was first filed with the Coastal Commission in December 2012.