Wednesday, April 16, 2008

San Marcos to Install Impossible At-Grade Rail Pedestrian Crossings

Did you guys see this shocking story in Tuesday's North County Times?

SAN MARCOS: City to install pedestrian crossing over Sprinter track


the pedestrian crossing will include automated gates to keep pedestrians off the tracks when the Sprinter comes through. Designs for the project have been submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission, which must issue a permit for any train-related project, and city officials hope to get the go-ahead to start construction in time to finish the project before the 2008-09 school year starts in August,

As you know, the city of Encinitas has lofty plans to build 4 pedestrian tunnels under our coastal railway at the conservative cost of $20 million (some say it will be more like $40 million).

See this story: Encinitas investigates possible pedestrian RR crossings


The undercrossings are expected to cost about $5 million each, for a total of about $20 million.

Many in the audience noted that much cheaper ground-level at-grade crossings are used in other states and other countries. At-grade pedestrian rail crossings generally use automatic metal gates hooked to sensors in the tracks that only open when trains are not coming.

Russell Levan noted that at-grade crossings are much cheaper than digging under the rails.

"It just seems like a terrible waste of money at a time when there isn't any to be had," he said.

But Tognoli said the California Public Utilities Commission does not favor at-grade crossings because they do not separate pedestrians and trains. He said getting approval for ground-level crossings would be a long battle with no guarantee of success.

"If you want to have a project, this, realistically, is your only option," he said.

Residents illegally crossing the track amid the stunning beauty of the NCTD rail zone in north Leucadia.

Suggestions to the Encinitas city council and staff that we should have at grade pedestrians crossings have been met with fierce resistance and even mocking laughter. The NCTD will never allow it, we've been told.

"Impossible" in Encinitas is apparently something they will at least try in San Marcos. We must watch this story, if the California Public Utilities Commission approves the pedestrian crossings for San Marcos then we must demand them in Encinitas.

The mayor of Encinitas, Jerome Stocks is on the board of directors for the NCTD.

E-mail the Encinitas city council, tell them you want the more affordable option of at-grade rail pedestrian crossings and not 60 ft wide mega tunnels that will smell like pee within the first month,

    1. On the channel 7 news tonight they showed at grade ped crossings (being considered for San Marcos) that signal when trains are about. Theirs cost $800K ea and accomodate double tracks. That could mean 6 level crossings for the price of one tunnel.

    2. Amendment:
      By "their's" I meant RR ped crossings in Oregon. Opps.

    3. Fred said it right.

      Jerome- if its good enough for San Marcos. It is clearly good enough for Encinitas.

      Prove your leadership or step down and let some one who can look out for Encinitas residents best interests.

    4. Last night at the City Council meeting Jerome asked if anyone wanted to replace him as the NCTD rep during the comment section at the end of the meeting.

      Of course I raised my hand.

    5. These are great. Much easier to cross then going under a tunnel.

      I would love to have these. People cross the tracks anyways, why not make it safer and for a fraction of the costs.

    6. That is a stupid idea, but not quite as bad as an underground pedestrian tunnel.
      That crossing would be a complete waste of money & no safer than looking both ways before crossing the tracks.
      I for one, including my family, would never use them. We just look both ways, for the train & the cops, & then walk across. Simple, safe & free.

      I think that Leucadians should except nothing less than what Solana Beach got. Bury the tracks & build foot bridges across. Less noise, no more dust & actually safer. So what if it takes more time & money. We have time & the money will just go to something else anyway. How much is that lame park on Devonshire going to cost us?
      I say, if that's all they can do, walk away & tell them to forget it.

    7. BUT.....if it means they have to blow their horn at each addition new at grade crossing.... FORGET IT.

    8. One very positive result of at grade crossings is the continued possibility of depressing the tracks. Any tunnel crossing will kill that possibility forever.

    9. You tell'em Fred!!!

    10. Looks like a great idea to me thou I can't understand why it should cost so much. There should be a crossing at every street that runs east and west to Vulcan if the horn blows oh well it beats a ticket or walking a mile or more going down to La Costa or Leucadia Blvd just to cross the 4'8" of track. Hell a few years of not paying for the cop would put a dent in the cost at least.

    11. hey encinitas homeowners don't forget to send in your no vote for the sewer rate increases!
      the city is trying to slide this one past us.

    12. Doesn't that photo of Jerome remind you of Eddie Haskell...that sleezy, phoney guy on the old Leave It To Beaver Show?

    13. It is unbelievable that Jerome Stocks who has been chairmen of NCTD can say with a straight face we need to spend millions on under-crossings and then consider a cheaper alternative for San Marcos.

      Install at grade crossings until we can afford to underground the tracks.

    14. jon p,

      your plan works until they fence the tracks with some hideous chain link crap.

    15. At the rate the NCTD is spending money with less money coming in, the coaster could be taken out of service. More bus routes eliminated, higher fares, less service is proposed by NCTD.

    16. The thought of the tunnels make me ill. Considering all the people that don't think twice about doing drugs and urinating in the open at Leucadia Oaks park, those tunnels will be crack-ho infested drug dens within a week. More people are going to die IN the tunnels than by crossing the tracks.Oh, thats safe and good for the community.

    17. By the way, the horns HONK HONK HONK at the crossings. I ride Metrolink and AMTRAK and hear it for myself!!!

      Additionally; "But Tognoli said the California Public Utilities Commission does not favor at-grade crossings because they do not separate pedestrians and trains. He said getting approval for ground-level crossings would be a long battle with no guarantee of success."

      ...would be a long battle with no guarantee of success... But a guarentee of HORNS if successful???!!! Thanks BLOGGERS!

    18. affordable crossings that have been proven by working at intersections keeping cars safe. My, what a concept! Underground crossings are dumb and expensive -- wonder whose favorite developer would get a kickback from digging like a mole.

    19. We already have at grade pedestrian crossings at the Encinitas Coaster Station. Everyone uses them when they park at the Coaster parking lot and walk west across the tracks to catch the train (or to go to El Callejon). They work great! There is a nice level surface to walk across the tracks so you don't trip. The crossing bar comes down for autos at E Street, but we pedestirans manage to cross just using our own good judgement. Even people walking back from El Callejon after happy hour manage to navigate the crossing. Guess they work!

    20. leu locs smoke bud everyday
      oaks park mob


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