A critical mass transportation project is underway.
Officials from the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans and North County Transit District held a groundbreaking ceremony last week on the $33.7 million improvement project to the Poinsettia Train Station as part of the North Coast Corridor Program.
“Improvements to this station are critical to the overall goal of the North Coast Corridor: creating a better environment for the future,” said SANDAG Chair and Del Mar City Councilman Terry Sinnott. “The Poinsettia Station Improvements Project is another good example of how we can leverage TransNet dollars with state and federal funds to advance major transportation and environmental enhancement projects in the San Diego region.”
The projected is expected to be completed in 2020, and when done the new station will mimic the Oceanside Transit Center. The features added to Poinsettia include double tracks, underground crossing, lengthening and elevating the platforms, new lighting, signage and shelters.
The railroad tracks, meanwhile, will be relocated several feet west of their current location with a new fence between the tracks. The platforms will be lengthened to 1,000 feet to accommodate longer trains, which will be able to serve increased numbers of passengers. The new pedestrian undercrossing will feature stairways and ramps on both sides of the tracks, which will allow safe passage to other platforms, and also will allow passing trains to move through the station when other trains are boarding, reducing train idling outside the station and improving regional transit service.
According to SANDAG, the project is part of a larger vision under the North Coast Corridor Program to improve the San Diego segment of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo coastal rail corridor running through six cities within San Diego County.
Nearly $1 billion of improvements are planned along the 60-mile San Diego segment of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo corridor over the next 20 years as part of the North Coast Corridor Program.
These improvements include double-tracking the San Diego segment of the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail line, replacing aging rail bridges, installing new safety equipment, adding new stations and platforms, incorporating new grade separations for safe and legal crossings, and working with project partners to establish future quiet zones.
“The North Coast Corridor Program is unique, taking a balanced approach in planning for our region’s future transportation needs,” said Caltrans Interstate 5 Corridor Director Allan Kosup. “The program will improve highway and rail systems, with more than 20 projects completed, planned, or under construction along our rail system alone. These investments will be leveraged with the more than $160 million recently awarded to the region, as a result of Senate Bill 1, for the broader NCC Program.”
To date, the North Coast Corridor Program has been awarded more than $160 million as a result of SB 1, the recently passed California Gas Tax, which is subject to a recall effort led by former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio.
SANDAG also announced this week, the California Transportation Commission is expected to decide on an additional $195 million in SB 1 funds for the North Coast Corridor Program at its May meeting.
The current project is funded through federal, state and local funds, including the regional TransNet half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG. Funding for Poinsettia Station contains more than $4 million awarded by the California State Transportation Agency, in state Cap-and-Trade Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program dollars.
The Poinsettia Station will remain open for service throughout construction, except for select weekends when all rail service is suspended for critical improvements to the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail corridor.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.