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Encinitas Council retains rail corridor vision firm

ENCINITAS — A New York-based professional services firm beat out three other consultants for the rights to oversee the study that will craft Encinitas’ vision for its rail corridor.

The council unanimously selected WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff as the contractor for the study, which will give the city a road map to tackle various issues along the corridor, including new crossings, whether the city should trench all or some of the rail line and what measures should be taken to improve safety along the city’s stretch of rail line.

The mega firm’s bid was $224,858, the second-lowest of the four bids, but city officials said that after interviewing the four finalists, Parsons Brinckerhoff provided the best overall value and expertise.

The firm oversaw Orange County’s rail safety enhancement and quiet zone program, a major selling point in a community that is looking to establish a quiet zone throughout the rail corridor, staff said.

Parsons Brinckerhoff also has worked with several of the stakeholders the city is currently working with on the Coastal Rail Trail and other projects, including the San Diego Association of Governments and North County Transit District to analyze projects throughout the region’s rail corridor, according to the group’s proposal.

In addition to its consultant responsibilities, Parsons Brinckerhoff will also take over the process of creating the rail corridor working group that the council was going to form in coming weeks. The City Council agreed with the suggestion made by Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer that the consultant’s involvement would make it less politically sensitive and more professionally structured.

The group will take the existing applications and develop a proposal for the advisory group, which the mayor and council will consider and vote on at a future meeting.

The consultant contract is being paid for through a $175,000 state grant and $52,500 in city funds.

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