Friday, May 09, 2008
"It's a scandal that you don't have double tracking,"
NCT online: REGION: SANDAG, groups reach settlement
A regional planning agency has agreed to try to accelerate completion of a second track on the North County coast and consider expanding the role of public transit the next time it writes a long-range blueprint for transportation projects in 2011, according to a settlement.
Encinitas attorney Marco Gonzalez, who represented Save Our Forest and Ranchlands, said the threat stemmed from what he termed the association's failure to develop a plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The state attorney general cited similar concerns in a November letter.
"We're building an infrastructure and a plan here that is totally unprepared to deal with the future," said Duncan McFetridge, president of Save Our Forest and Ranchlands, in suggesting that soaring oil prices and global warming ultimately will force people to drive less.
"I think our settlement is historic because it guides us toward a transit future," McFetridge said, in a telephone interview Tuesday.
McFetridge was one of the signatories.
According to the association, about 60 percent of the coastal railroad has two sets of tracks now.
"It's a scandal that you don't have double tracking," McFetridge said.
At the same time, Gonzalez said, "We recognize that the stretch along Del Mar is going to be problematic."
Association officials have said completing a parallel track through North County will require trestles over lagoons and a tunnel under Del Mar. A tunnel is fiercely opposed by many in the tiny, wealthy seaside community who fear it would ruin neighborhoods and the coastal environment.
But McFetridge said two sets of tracks would be beneficial for the environment in the long haul.
He said North County Transit District could run many more Coaster trains during the rush hour and every one would be packed with commuters, taking cars off the road and slashing emissions of greenhouse gases.
*"Wealthy" Del Mar is not the only issue. Double tracking through Leucadia without lowering the tracks will cripple our town. It will be impossible to get across Leucadia Bvld, leaving only Encinitas Blvd and La Costa Ave as options to access downtown Leucadia. Double tracking will mean twice as many dust clouds from 80 mph trains. Double tracking will mean long red lights at the Leucadia Blvd/Hwy101/Vulcan Ave intersection with traffic backing up Leucadia Blvd all the way to I-5, causing frustration, gridlock and yes, greenhouse emissions.
Leucadia Blog: Lowering the Train Tracks is the ONLY Solution for Leucadia