The recent train collision that left some poor sap in a coma has spurred a lot of "if you don't want to get hit by the train stay the hell off the tracks" type comments from the know-it-alls.
They, of course, are right. If you don't want to get hit by the train stay the hell off the tracks.
But some things to consider:
I find it very interesting that the same people who say that the Leucadia Blvd/Hwy101/train tracks/Vulcan Ave intersection is perfectly safe and functional are the same people who say that Leucadia is blighted and needs to be redeveloped. This makes no sense at all.
The intersection is not safe and functional. Anyone who uses the intersection daily can vouch for this. Ever since they connected Leucadia Blvd to El Camino Real the intersection is getting heavier use. The westbound traffic often backs up all the way to the Hygeia stop sign.
The 7-11 parking lot creates chaos as people try to turn left onto Leucadia Blvd, a manuaver that really jacks the traffic. Cars trying to merge into southbound Vulcan Ave mucks things up good in the morning rush hour. Many of the vehicles are big work trucks mixing with moms trying to take their kids to Central/Paul Ecke school.
Going westbound on Leucadia Blvd when the Vulcan light turns green cars eagerly push forward over the tracks, but the Hwy101 light doesn't green right away, there is a delay. Add pedestrians to the mix and the flow of traffic stops. It is very common for drivers not to notice this and stop on the tracks. Yes, you should never stop on the tracks, but drivers who are unfamiliar with the intersection find themselves stuck there all the time. Luckily the light turns green and the traffic moves so that collisions are rare.
Hwy101 bicyclist always run the light, especially the big groups of yuppie lycra tour de France wannabees. They think they don't have to stop for some reason. This really causes gridlock and frustrates drivers still on the Vulcan side who can't see what the holdup is. This is a major problem at this intersection.
The trains run frequently causing major delays at this intersection. I have sat there in gridlock waiting to go watching as many as three trains go by before the green light cycles back around to me. Luckily I'm pretty calm and zen about it but I've seen people get road rage because of the long wait and stomp on the gas pedal screaming when it's finally time to go.
Downtown Encinitas is extremely lucky that Encinitas Blvd goes under a train trestle where it connects to the coast highway. Can you imagine it any other way? It would be a giant nightmare. I think most of the powers that be use this smooth flowing intersection so they don't really relate to the drama going down at Leucadia and Hwy101.
I was in the Patagonia store over the weekend and started talking about the Chesterfield crossing with the employees and a few locals browsing. They say that intersection is getting bad too. Not at the level of Leucadia Blvd but it has bad gridlock in the mornings and on busy weekends.
When they lowered the tracks in Solana Beach the construction delays were very frustrating, but wasn't it worth it? It is so great not to have to wait for trains there. That intersection functions smoothly. Just make sure the cars ahead of you don't leave you stuck in the middle of the intersection for the red light cameras and their quick yellow lights.
At the west end of Leucadia Blvd is the increasingly popular Beacon's beach. Thanks to a surf school Beacon's is gaining more and more regular surfers every summer. Many of these "surfers" are coming from the new mega developments in San Elijo Hills and New Encinitas. It was silly to widen Leucadia Blvd (taking several long established homes via eminent domain) and connecting it to El Camino Real and beyond without addressing the needs of the coastal intersection. It's beyond silly really, it was shortsighted, selfish and stupid.
The city of Encinitas spent a lot of money improving Santa Fe Rd, a road that doesn't connect to the coast highway. This is just silly when you have one of the most frustrating and dangerous intersections in north county that desperately needs attention.
It's bizarre that the same people are say that Leucadia is blighted because it has dirt and weeds are the same people who say that the intersection is safe and functional. Bizarre and scary and a little sad.
The tracks need to be lowered under Leucadia Blvd like they are in Solana Beach. We should force to the NCTD to do this on their dime.
As is, cars will continue to get stuck on the tracks, people will continue to get hurt or killed, trains will continue to be delayed after collisions, and the traffic gridlock will get worse as the population grows but I guess it's all good right?