Trenching the tracks to become a campaign issue
According to SANDAG Director of Planning Muggs Stoll, there were 66 trains per weekday running through the North Coast rail corridor in 2012, will be 83 by 2020 and 119 by 2030. The plan is to double the tracks through the corridor by 2030.
The crossing hazards, traffic congestion and noise problems we already have will grow much worse as rail traffic increases. Unless the doubled tracks are trenched and fenced, accompanied by trench-top crossings, pedestrian-activated Highway 101 crossings and parking areas in the newly protected right-of-way, we’ll still have the divided community and parking problems we have now.
When the question of adding at-grade pedestrian crossings was raised at the Oct. 30 North Coast transit workshop, the official who responded made it sound as if restrictions have made doing that next to impossible. And with good reason, it seems to me: They’re too dangerous and would inevitably lead to more injuries and deaths.
With virtually all members of the public in favor of trenching the tracks through the Encinitas corridor and with our five City Council members encouraging the idea, the proposal is gaining momentum.
Trenching the tracks through Encinitas is destined to become a 2014 campaign issue. Encinitans will elect a mayor and two council members. Our district’s State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez is up for re-election, as is State Senator Mark Wyland. Our district’s U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa is also up for re-election.
As incumbents and hopefuls announce their campaigns, I will contact each and ask them to pledge that, if elected, they will pursue funding for trenching the Encinitas tracks until the money is found and the project gets under way. I hope other citizens will do the same.
Give residents their say
Solana Beach residents may have seen an e-blast sent by the Party Policy proponents last week. Once again, the email contains misleading information. The sponsors state that, “In the months since the Community Center has been open for special events there have been no wild parties, no alcohol incidents, no parking or noise issues.”
Of course there have been no ramifications from the private rentals at the Fletcher Cove Community Center. The policy has been in place for only four weeks. Moreover, isn’t the fact that it is smooth sailing so far a testimony to the city’s policy? The policy proposed by the sponsors of the Initiative is far more intense than the current policy in terms of frequency, occupancy, noise and alcohol.
The sponsors of the Party Policy Initiative refuse to accept responsibility for the special election. The only reason there is even the possibility of an election is that the Initiative sponsors refused to give the new Community Center Use policy established by the City Council a chance.
Instead, the sponsors asked for a special election, gathered signatures for an election and turned in the signed petition early in order to ensure a special election. They even hired a high-powered, ethically questionable election attorney from San Francisco to craft their campaign!
Now they are trying to coerce the City Council into adopting their policy using the cost of the special election as leverage. It is ridiculous that in the sponsor’s e-blast they implied the adjacent neighbors want the Special Election — another attempt to shift the blame for this situation away from them! The Initiative sponsors are the reason we are now in this position.
The city should not be run by a few wealthy individuals who want their way and are willing to spend whatever it takes to get it. If the City Council adopts the Party Policy Initiative, they will be rewarding the very people who got us into this mess.
An adoption of this policy sends a message to everyone that our elected city officials aren’t really in charge and aren’t capable of making thoughtful decisions in the best interest of all the residents of Solana Beach.
The City Council should not let the sponsors of the Party Policy Initiative back them into the corner. The right thing to do is give the voters the opportunity to vote up or down on the Initiative. It is wrong to adopt the policy and not give our residents a say. It is apparently what they wanted when they signed their names with the signature gatherers.