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The San Diego Association for Governments (SANDAG), in partnership with the City of Encinitas and the North County Transit District, held a meeting with Cardiff residents on February 11 to discuss the Coastal Rail Trail.

The Coastal Rail Trail is a planned continuous bike route that will run approximately 40 miles — from Oceanside to the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. The Encinitas segment was the topic of discussion on February 11.

The segment would be a two-mile bike path separated from motor-vehicle traffic, stretching from E Street in downtown Encinitas to the intersection of Chesterfield Drive and Hwy 101 in Cardiff.

SANDAG’s stated goal is to improve bike safety, which will in turn increase levels of bicycling and reduce automobile emissions. To outsiders, this sounds like a delightful addition to the already picturesque stretch of road; however, the citizens of Cardiff had different opinions.

One citizen asked, “Why do we need another bike path when we have one along the bluff?” Chris Carterette, SANDAG’s “active transportation planner” and the project manager, explained that this is part of a bigger plan to offer one safe route that will allow people to travel from Oceanside to San Diego.

The overwhelming majority of the citizens present were most up in arms about the possibility of a fence. There was a lengthy discussion about what the fence would look like. In addition, residents were concerned that the proposed plans will take away parking along San Elijo Avenue, which later turns into Vulcan.

One thing residents are excited about is the Coastal Rail Trail offering improved safety at the intersection of Chesterfield Drive and Hwy 101, which is known to bottleneck, causing accidents with pedestrians, cars, and bicyclists.

When SANDAG land use and transportation planning director Charles “Muggs” Stoll said, “The intersection isn’t that bad,” the crowd roared simultaneously, “It’s terrible!” Stoll corrected himself, saying he was actually talking about the park trail in Cardiff that leads to the intersection.

Luckily, for the residents of Cardiff, the project is currently in the community outreach and conceptual planning phase, which allows for several public workshops to get feedback from citizens.

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