Friday, September 08, 2006

Leucadia vs Solana Beach and Our Poor Leadership

In Solana Beach the train tracks are lowered under a major intersection as they should be.

In Leucadia our holier than thou city "leaders" extended Leucadia Blvd so that it links with Rancho Santa Fe Rd and um...that's about it.

Now we have gridlock and the occasional car/train collision.

Time to tap the funds that former mayor Lou Aspell sought and get the tracks lowered once and for all.

slideshow and video of accident click here


  1. This says it all. Council abandons LeucadiaSeptember 08, 2006 10:54 PM

    Vehicles hit by train in Leucadia

    By: North County Times

    ENCINITAS ---- A motorist suffered critical injuries Friday when the Ford Ranger he was driving was struck by an Amtrak train, authorities said.

    The male driver was headed west on Leucadia Boulevard, just east of North Coast Highway 101, when the train ripped through the white Ranger and a trailer it was towing. The driver was ejected from the wreckage. Passing motorists ran to his aid and performed chest compressions to resusitate the victim, who they said had no pulse.

    Authorities said no one on the train was injured in the crash at about 2:30 p.m., but one of the train's windshields was shattered.

    A green Infinity driven by a second motorist was damaged when struck by flying wreckage but the female driver was uninjured.

    The Ranger driver was flown by helicopter to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

    Officials from North County Transit District, which operates the railway, said the crash interupted service for about an hour and that the railroad reopened once the Amtrak 774 was released from where it stopped about a quarter-mile south of the crash scene.

    Crossing gates and signals were working properly before the accident, but gate arms were damaged by the collision. Flagmen will remain at the scene until the gates are repaired, officials said.

    Previous Story:
    Next Story: Found Pauma Valley body identified

    Comments On This Story

    Note: Comments reflect the views of readers and not necessarily those of the North County Times or its staff.
    Quiet Please! wrote on September 08, 2006 5:00 PM:"So much for the Encinitas quiet zone."

    Boo Radley wrote on September 08, 2006 5:17 PM:"Wow, there's a surprise for's only a matter of time before a kid gets hit by the train. When will our city council AND Amtrak realize that is an incredibly dangerous crossing section? After all, that train makes loads of noise throughout the night, it puts up a wall of dust as it passes and it is just downright dangerous for both pedestrians and cars. There's an elementary school a mere quarter mile from that intersection! Lower the tracks, which will help resolve flooding in this area, protect kids, pedestrians and cars and make Encinitas a nicer, quieter place. Time for council to stop planting vegetation and beautifying Encinitas when they should be making it safer!"

    John E wrote on September 08, 2006 6:14 PM:"Boo Radley, we cannot protect people from stupidity. Trains are not that difficult to avoid. At-grade crossings are dangerous to those who ignore crossing gates and warning lights, but if we demand grade separation, we will get an elevated rail system, rather than an entrenched one, for cost reasons. Quiet please, I agree with you. I am sure we are going to be hearing even longer and louder train horns for the next few days, as a result of this incident."

    Wake up! wrote on September 08, 2006 8:42 PM:"This shows the train horns have no effect on preventing accidents at the Leucadia crossings. They blow twice as loud and long as they used too 5 years ago (way above legal standards). The reality is there is 4 times the number of trains and 3 times the number of vehicles and 2 times the amount of pedestrians. Eliminate the at-grade crossing either by terminating the crossing, or grade separate the crossing. The quiet zone improvements would make it more fool proof and therefore would improve safety. We’ve had two smears in the last 4 years. Until improvements, are made we can count on 1 or two every other year and increasing in the future."

    Wrong John E wrote on September 08, 2006 9:01 PM:"The City's smart money is to close this grossly under standard crossing, before one of the accident victims sues the City and takes the 20 million the City is borrowing. Closing the crossing, or grade separate. With Amtrak cruising through at 80 mph, all it takes is one granny or child to trip and they are toast, and that pedestrian path is grossly under standard. Its just a matter of time until the City is sued on the matter. Class action lawsuite brought by the public-Negligence for ignoring a well known Hazard. "

    Ann wrote on September 08, 2006 9:02 PM:"The report completed for the City is weak at best. A lowered track is much more economically feasible when you consider all the real costs (property values, environmental, construction, impact on commercial business opportunities along HW101, and future City revenues) associated with an elevated tracks"

  2. If Encinitas wanted positive change, they would address this intersection with a lowered track.

    The report addressing grade separation was done by amateurs. Absolutely useless. Two year late and worth .10 on the 1$. It’s a no brainer, lower the tracks on NCTD dollars or don’t even think of double tracking that will just increase the fatalities by two. And the fatalities wont be Leucadians, because we know all about trains. The dead will likely be from the inland folks who think Trains are harmless.

  3. time for quiet zone. Horns dont do shit to prevent accidents.

  4. I like to see if my hog can be louder that train horns. I think I have them beat by a 10 fold.

    I'm not sure what to say about the current road kill. I'd say try and be quicker when going around the gates loser.

    thank god City administraters ride hogs. They are symethic to me and my noise machine.

  5. Check out the NCT picture. That truck is time for EDCO. Waite until a kid going to Paul Ecke Central becomes road kill. Then maybe well get a lowered track. I see a class action suite coming. There goes $20,000,000 plus. In the interim they should close the crossing until they can make it a grade separated crossing.

  6. That crossing is so under current standards lawyers will have a cake walk. Our City Council is so negligent in ignoring this intersection. But then again, they want to build Ritz fire stations and Regional Parks. What’s up with Danny? Doesn’t he give a rat’s ass about Leucadia? Why is he demanding something be done about the crossing. This is a problem in his hood.

  7. Just another example of the politics of blight undermining the quality of life for all Leucadia residents.

  8. JP,

    Did you have a guest posting on this subject about a year ago?

    How about a link to it?

  9. Accidents or no accidents, the gridlock at that intersection is becoming unbearable and it will only get worse as north county's population skyrockets.

  10. Encinitas citizens supported their Council when it sued NCTD over plans to add a passing track through Cardiff. But now residents feel betrayed by their delegates to the transit board, Mayor Guerin in 2002 and Mayor Stocks in 2003. Both voted for the passing track without negotiating acceptable concessions for our community. Are political favors worth more than community values and safety?

    We got no comprehensive EIR for the entire rail corridor, no grade separation between major street crossings and the tracks, and no pedestrian crossings, only vague promises that the NCTD would not oppose the latter. The city is now taking $1.2 million of your tax money to "analyze" three prospective pedestrian crossings, plus an estimated $5 million to design and build them. With no specific time table, they may never be built.

    The new passing track will be just 2 miles from a similar one in Solana Beach and will not improve our commuter service. With proper scheduling, Coaster and Amtrak trains run fine on existing tracks. Contrary to NCTD claims, no time is lost for lack of an Encinitas passing track. Presently scheduled commuter trips are below capacity. Everyone knows, effective mass transportation will require double tracks along the entire corridor from Oceanside to San Diego, so that trains could run every 15 minutes. But piecemeal addition of passing tracks at this stage is unnecessary, undesirable and destructive to our communities.

    It is also a waste of money - unless you consider NCTD's hidden agenda. In their January 2000 "Fast Forward Strategic Business Plan" they stated that the Burlington North Santa Fe Railroad desires to increase freight traffic from 4 to 84 trains per day. Freight traffic has already doubled since then. NCTD is "railroading" a passing track through our community to accommodate more unscheduled freight trains. Leasing the rail corridor to BNSF for freight traffic adds the most money to NCTD coffers. The resulting damage to our community is unconscionable. Hello, coastal city delegates! Have you been sleeping?

    Heavy rail transportation relies on antiquated technology and cannot safely meet modern demands. Each year, over a thousand train derailments and collisions occur worldwide. Most troublesome are the frequent derailments of freight trains, associated with toxic spills and explosions, resulting in severe environmental damage and mass evacuations of residents. Freight trains regularly carry lines of tank cars filled with highly toxic and flammable chemicals. Passing thousands of tons of dangerous chemicals through densely populated communities, often only yards from people's bedrooms, is a crime against local residents.

    Dietmar Rothe, Ph.D.
    Professional Engineer and Research Scientist
    October 2003

  11. Why would the City Council want to spend $20 million on nice looking housing for Firefighters, when they are ignoring a current hazardous that has been known for years? Why are we spending $40 million on a regional park when are citizens are getting killed by NCTD's mismanagement. Sell the Hall and Quail gardens property. That money plus grant funds will cover the cost for grade seperations,and long awaited interestion improvements. When is Leucadia going to get some deserved love (infrastructure improvements) from Council?

  12. Dietmar Rothe hit the nail on the head. Council is asleep at the wheel. Its time for them to wake up. I wouldn't be surprised if the next killing is a local kid heading to the beach or school. Council needs to make this project the number 1 priority.

  13. Quiet Zone Improvements would greatly improve the safety at that intersection. 4 gates so people don't go around them. The over regulation horns blasts don't prevent accidents they just stress out the locals, and destroy tourism in the area.

  14. Chalk up another council poor leadship example.

    Read the article in the Coast News:
    "Slalom competion OK'd at last minute"

    Next weekend a slalom skateboard contest will be held on Saxony Road. It was held in Carlsbad.

    Encinitas city staff denied the permit. A city council subcommittee gave the group the permit.

    If you go the website of one of the main sponsors, they advertise another race as "THIS IS AN OUTLAW RACE" on September 15 off the I-15.

    Why is the Encinitas City Council supporting a group that runs outlaw races?

  15. Spelling correction:

    Coast news article:

    Slalom competition OK'd at last minute

  16. Dietmar Rothe is correct. The double tracking in Encinitas was done to accommodate the freight trains. It is rarely used by passenger trains. I live right in front of it. I have only seen a stopped passenger train when there is an accident and the track is blocked, as on Friday and several months ago when someone was hit near Swami's.

    Mile-long freight trains frequently are stopped in Cardiff with the locomotive belching out diesel smoke the whole time. When the multiple engines are in front of Cardiff Elementary School, the smoke blows across the playground and classrooms. Fortunately for the health of the children this is usually on the weekend. But what about the residents?

    There was a freight train stopped for over 3 hours last weekend. I thought the track was blocked. But no, the trains kept coming in both directions. Finally a very long freight train came north, and waiting train finally went south. I realized that there was no room in San Diego to park the long freight train until that other train left San Diego.

    Thank you Christy and Jerome for screwing us once again with your poor decisions.

  17. Please pardon the hijack of your thread, but needed to plead for support of a potential rezone / general plan ammendment for 556 Union Street. Currently zoned R3, the potential buyer / developer (Cottage Development) wants to build 50 houses with 50 granny flats(About an 8 fold increase).

    I think no way in hell would the council support it, however, it is across the street from Maggie and the vindictive council might just say ok.

    Please help. Council meeting Wednesday, Sept. 13, item #8 (as well as 2 other Leucadia rezones).

  18. A big NO on all the rezones and general plan amendments on the council agenda for next week. That includes the increased height to 45 feet for the San Dieguito Academy.

  19. Ditmar is a loser liarSeptember 09, 2006 10:29 PM

    The frickin freights do NOT pay to use the rails. U R A kook.

    By the way... If you drive through the crossing guard arms slowly and get hit by a train doing better than than 80 mph, it really doesn't matter who the City Council members are, you're pretty much toast. Tragic but true...

  20. Not a zoning issueSeptember 09, 2006 11:01 PM

    One thing, State law and Municipal Code allow for one primary unit and one accessory unit, or granny flat per lot in a single family residential zone. So to build granny flats should not be considered a rezoning. What is a rezoning issue is changing the density from R3 (three homes and three potential accessory units per acre) to R11 or R15, 11 homes and 11 granny flats, or 15 homes and 15 accessory units per acre, in other words, much smaller lots for the new build homes.

    People do need to be concerned about new development, particularly that there is enough off street parking for the new build. Also, the city should consider traffic, and future water availability, etc. But, to us, the granny flats, in and of themselves are not the zoning problem. It is the increased density allowed for the primary units. We need to keep our eye on the prize. Don't get distracted.

    We don't know about the height variation being a zoning issue. I believe single family zones are limited to 26 feet height now?

    So, I would oppose the "rezoning" issue of changing the height restrictions. However, granny flats help out low income people, including retired folks, hence their name. Not everyone can afford to rent or buy a deluxe three or four bedroom house in the sky. People are reacting in fear when they try to prevent a diversity of residents from living in Encinitas.

    Granny flats are allowed. If you don't like them, you'll have to move to a gated community where they have these kinds of limitations. If we try to restrict people from having granny flats, we are taking away all of our property rights.

    Think about it. This City has a bad habit of treating every issue as a zoning issue. This is being challenged in court, now.

  21. Fear my ass. I just dont want to live in the Getto. High density low income means getto. Affordable housing my ass. Free enterprise works. Lower incomes live in not as nice places as high incomes. Its illogical for low income to live near the coast. Coastal property is a primium. Every American wants to live near the Pacific Ocean. People are born with the right to breath and die. In America, they have many rights, but none include the right to beach front property. Welfare ruins lives. Dont support misery and dont support welfare. Church and family support is much more effective.

  22. someone at least with a high school educationSeptember 10, 2006 12:34 AM's spelled GHETTO.

  23. SO SORRY!...I didn't graduate but I know Getto cause I gru up in GettO! You private school peckers may know how to spell, but you have no fuckin common sense. Jack asses- Wake up and address the problem and quit worrying about my homeboy spelling.

  24. frieghters don't pay!

    man, that make the whole story sound even worse.

  25. Red light cameras would have prevented this accident!


  26. You know the spazzy Pepsi truck driver that was on every single news channel?
    Some locals are now saying that his giant semi-truck was blocking traffic and causing gridlock. No wonder he saw the whole thing.

  27. you didn't graduateSeptember 10, 2006 9:38 AM

    Hey, that's not homeboy spelling to us. It's ignorance and anger, which is a mask for fear.

    Nobody said anything about welfare. Grannyflats are legal, that's all. They help people try to keep their families together, sometimes. If rented out, they provide an extra source of income, sometimes, for retired folks.

    Why are you so afraid of that? If you only have three homes per acre, allowing one small accessory unit per lot is not going to overburden anybody. However, changing the zoning to R3, where grannyflats are already allowed, to R11, and still allowing accessory units, is not prudent.

    Anonymous, your potty talk and your anger only make you look bad, and don't convince anyone of your self-centered, hardhearted opinions.

    If you have so much money, go get a tutor, or an editor to check your spelling. You must like posting on blogs where you can spout off your hatred without fear of having to get one thing right, or to show one drop of compassion.

  28. No Hatred here.. BITCH! Just pure entertainment nothing less....GET A LIIFEE! It sounds like YOU LIVE for nead to talk down too people, like you no better becaue yu r educated and can spelll.

  29. First, before talking about Granny Flats in R-3 zones, everyone should look at the lot size. The Encinitas planning department doesn't consider the lot size, on the zoning designation. Land may be zoned for R-3, three houses per acre, but the number of houses allowed by city staff could be four or more per acre.

    Instead of an R-3 zone, in reality the zone is R-5 or R-8. Don't assume that a house in an R-3 zone or any zone has the required lot acreage. Some houses in R-3 zones, which should have lot sizes of 14,500 square feet, are on 9,000-10,000 square feet lots.

    Toss in a granny flat, and there's one crowded lot.

  30. On the zoning issue, I think R3 and R8 mean 3 houses per acre and 8 houses per acres. Adding Granny flats to each lot increases density by at least 50%. I like our original general plan and would not like greater density.

  31. Why help Maggie? What has she done or even tried to do for the citizens of Encinitas. She supported prop C and double tracking in Cradiff. We should recall her like we should stocks and bond.

  32. After reading people's comments in the NC Times, I have a great idea. Seeing as if so many people seem to think the crossing is safe, let's not make any changes and wait for a kid to get kit. Then when the parents sue the city for $20 million, the money will finally go to a worthy cause instead of making a better, people are ignorant and stupid!

  33. "In The Ghetto" (revised)

    As the crow flies
    On a cold and grey Leucadia mornin'
    A poor li'l surfer child is born
    In the Ghetto

    And his mama shakes
    Cuz if there's one thing she don't need
    It's another board to shape
    In the Ghetto

    People don't you understand
    The child needs a helping hand
    Or he'll grow into an angry wave hog some day

    Take a look at you and me
    Are we too blind to see the seasons
    Or do we simply turn our heads
    And check out the waves at Beacons?

  34. Granny flats are legal in single family residential zones. Council does not have to vote approval of that. However, the lot size question is a different matter. If something is R3, that is supposed to mean 3 primary homes per acre. The granny flats, whether attached, or not, don't count in consideration of this designation.

    If the tentative map shows 50 primary homes where there should only be 25, then this is definitely a rezoning issue. This should require a four out of five vote of the Council Members. In our opinion, Christy Guerin should recuse herself on this, because of her recent decision not to remain in office, and because of her too frequent unilateral decisions, such as her choosing to personally select Phil Cotton to sit on a board that should have required ratification.

    This was after Christy Guerin took almost all of Maggie's committee and board positions away from her. Guerin seems to get along much better with men, like Dan Dalager, than with women, like Maggie.

    There are going to be a lot of disappointed people if density keeps increasing in zones where it is not proper, over the wishes of the neighbors, and the citizens, in general.

    Traffic is already a horrendous problem. Water availability is a huge concern, especially in years to come. Some of these projects will by rushed through, if they can, just before election. We will remember what you do James Bond, Jerome Stocks.

  35. If we shouldn't try to hold your hand when crossing the tracks, why are we going to spend a truckload of taxpayer's money on pedestrian crossings?

  36. Ban trains. It is 200+ year old technology. Their time has past. They are extremely expensive to operate. They are not safe traveling through populated areas and trains very rarely lose.

    The City has 4 at grade crossings, Leucadia, D St, E St, and Chesterfield. Leucadia gets the most attention because the intersections are so close on either side and there has been at least 3 semis that have been hit while high centered on the steep profile of the road at the tracks.

    The biggest danger is at D Street where 100's of pedestrians cross daily even walking under the down railroad arm after the coaster has stopped.

    Visit Europe where there are almost no at grade crossings. Europeans do it right because they know trains kill. They do not allow anyone to cross the tracks at the train stations. There are underground tunnels that keep peds and trains apart. The people in the train bussiness are like those that drive big fire trucks to respond to medical aid calls. It use to work 100 years ago so why ever change.

    It is unlikely that trains will ever be banned and the cost to make grade seperated structures at every crossing will be astronomical and is not going to be a high enough priority to get done in the next 20 years. So here is what we need to do: Educate kids in the schools the dangers of trains so that they respect the dangers of the railroad tracks, obey all warning bells and crossing arms, don't drive drunk, find out how we can get Amtrak to lower the speed limit from 90 mph to 60 mph through our City.


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