Recently, several stacks of concrete railroad ties appeared in Leucadia, at the north end of Coast Highway 101 at Avocado Street. The ties are the same industrial style as the ones used by the North County Transit District to prevent cars from falling onto the east side of the railroad tracks along the bluffs on Cardiff’s San Elijo Avenue and North Vulcan Avenue in Leucadia.
Where are they going to be placed? Several residents were concerned for the businesses in the 900 through 1000 blocks of Coast Hwy. Within those blocks are six restaurants, three surf shops, and numerous small offices and businesses.
Across the street, on the railroad’s right-of-way, customers informally park in an area known for limited parking. About 100 cars can park using the dirt space west of the tracks and not interfere with the safety of the trains.
North County Transit District’s Bernie Rhinerson said the agency obtained the ties as surplus from another railroad, through the San Diego Association of Governments. “We do plan to use these along the rail corridor in the Leucadia area,” said Rhinerson. “The exact locations have not been determined.”
The North County Transit District is working with the city, unlike last March, when the district placed orange road barricades along the scenic corridor, described as an “unwelcomed wall of ugly.”
That March 2015 move was unannounced by the transit authority to city officials; the action received numerous complaints until they were removed and replaced in October.
Ed Deane, senior civil engineer for the City of Encinitas, says that while they work with the transit district on locations for the new stack, rest assured, they would not be used to eliminate parking along the busy areas of Coast Hwy. 101.
However, more concrete barricades are sure to fire up the continued debate over the city’s Coastal Rail Trail plans — a bike-and-pedestrian-friendly corridor along the railroad right-of-way. Still in the design phase, the city’s plans are being challenged on social media.
“They look too industrial,” said one community leader. It’s the rusty metal patina of the ties, normally covered up by train rails, that make them look old.
In November, Encinitas’ deputy mayor Catherine Blakespear said the city would probably consider something a little less industrial-looking as trail plans proceed.