Sunday, March 15, 2009

At-Grade-Crossings

The City of Encinitas currently has 5 at-grade pedestrian crossings. One is pedestrian only.

RAILROAD UNDERPASSES TOO COSTLY

I am a longtime resident of Leucadia and am appalled at the proposed plans for the railroad underpasses that have just been approved by the Encinitas Planning Commission. Each underpass will have a price tag of $5 million to build, and thus far, there is only enough funding to build one. In addition, has the commission not noticed that we are in a deep recession?

I propose that pedestrian crossings be built in more spots, across the tracks. The models to use for this can be found at the Encinitas train station, where pedestrians cross the tracks from the parking lot over to the station to board the train. Another pedestrian crossing can be found at the intersection in Leucadia. There are warning signs posted at each to proceed with caution.

More crossings at a reasonable price will better serve the community. I urge the Planning Commission to reconsider and approve a more realistic plan.

Doug Dixon
Leucadia

Blogger's note: I'd like to point out that I'd rather have my children be allowed to cross the tracks on at-grade crossings than have them walk along La Costa Avenue or the Leucadia/101 intersection. Having better ways to cross from Vulan to the 101 would improve Leucadia.

Update: A.J. posted a link to an interesting state government document regarding ped crossings. Here is the link.

43 comments:

  1. For the amount of pedestrians using the tunnels and the cost to build them, (6-7 million each) it would be much cheaper to hire a shuttle bus and just give free rides from Vulcan and San Elijo to the other side of the tracks.
    Or how about just letting us cross the tracks legally like the prior 100 years.
    Those killed by trains are either suicides, playing "chicken", sitting on the tracks, a women chasing her dog, or at the street crossings, but not one of these would have been prevented by tunnels.
    How come some attorney or Law Group won't sue the NCTD for egress that used to be legal? There has got to be some way to challenge the legality of closing our access across the tracks.

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  2. If a shuttle was used to ferry riders from
    Vulcan/San Elijo to 1o1 or back it would cost around $100,000. Add two drivers at about $100,000 and maintenance at $100,000 equaling around $300,000 a year. At around $6,000,000 for each tunnel we could fund a shuttle for each undercrossing for 20 years. (One shuttle for each crossing, three or four total)
    I have a feeling they don't live around here and like spending free tax dollars. Kinda like your ex-wife getting a hold of your credit card.
    Plus if NCTD builds just one undercrossing they will use it to justify having never to underground the tracks here in town.

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  3. Ned is right. Don't be ignorant KOOKs get involved and make it happen like they did in Solana Beach.

    Leucadia Native

    P.S. When the Freedom Train passed through late one night in 1976 Leucadians lined the track cheering it on.

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  4. Ned is right.

    Underground the tracks. Keep kids from the underground.

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  5. If they build more "At-Grade" crossings will that mean the train has to blast the horn whenever it passes through one?

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  6. Yes, underground the tracks, don't "tunnel" the pedestrian walkways.

    This bogus, unfunded (except for Santa Fe) development project has worked its way through the Planning Commission.

    We would be much better off with having improved at grade crossings until the tracks can be undergrounded.

    Underground pedestrian tunnels, which the city is spinning as underground "bridges," would attract more crime, are prohibitively expensive, would "derail" any hope of undergrounding the tracks, and would be unsafe, and bring greater liability to Encinitas in case of a storm. Pumps designed to keep the tunnels water free could fail in an electrical storm.

    I feel that we could work toward undergrounding the tracks, and preserving our existing trees, as well as having a more open and accountable local government.

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  7. It is only a matter of time until they add a passing track in Leucadia. When that happens there is going to be trains idling while they wait for the passing train.

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  8. to anon 839,

    Get out much? Travel around southern california and you will find other at grade crossings where the train rings a bell instead of blasting a horn. The bell is minor.

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  9. The PUC must approve ALL new crossings and they OPPOSE ALL NEW at grade crossings. They do not oppose underground crossings.

    If one underground pedestrian crossing is built then the train will never be underground in Encinitas. Fear this action.

    Oppose your planning commission.
    Oppose your city council.

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  10. "If they build more "At-Grade" crossings will that mean the train has to blast the horn whenever it passes through one?"

    the answer is NO. Create a quiet zone for all of Encinitas coast line.

    I think the solution is to construct at grade crossings everother block along the railroad and then make the entire stretch of Encinitas a quiet zone.

    The City is going to the process right now of making their entire downtown area which is much bigger than Encinitas a quiet zone with over 13 crossings. See the below link

    http://www.ccdc.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/projects.quietzone

    If the City of San Diego can do it, why can't we?

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  11. If you want smart growth to work we must get more than 4 crossings!

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  12. Smart growth is passe. More housing, less water. Kick out of office Council members who want of smart growth. That includes mixed use.

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  13. Jerome Stocks said at the council meeting that at grade pedestrian crossings would mean more train horn blasts. However, they already blow the horn almost the entire corridor so whats the difference?

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  14. Jerome Stocks was wrong.

    Create a quiet zone at all our new crossings like our city is doing at the Chesterfield at grade crossing and the City of San Diego is doing at 13 locations in SD.

    City's up and down the coast are setting up quiet zones, why are we so behind?

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  15. We are behind becauee the communities of Old Enicnitas and Leucadia do not have the political power to get anything done.

    And neither Barth nor Dalager nor Houlihan care enough to get anything done.

    That's why we are behind the other cities.

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  16. Bury the tracks, not the people.

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  17. "Our city" is creating a quiet zone for the Cardiff Chesterfield at-grade crossing?
    That's news to me.
    Is the Cardiff Kook coming down too?

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  18. When Solana Beach trenched their tracks it cost $18M. As they completed the trenching, the estimate for Encinitas was $70M. Everyone was shocked, but really this is a good deal for what we get.

    Let's assume the feds pay 50% and the state pays 20%. That leaves $21M. This is less than $1k per household, which would be a very manageable bond that would essentially be paid off by higher property values. This would be a much much better buy that a Hall Property spots complex....and would be much cheaper.

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  19. Anon 11:29:

    Stocks has been to more than his share of train meetings over the last few years, so he may be right about the CPUC's attitude about any at-grade pedestrian crossings. Selling the idea of several pedestrian crossings to the CPUC would be a challenge, but not impossible, going with the argument that while they are not desirable, there are defacto at-grade crossings being made willy-nilly now.

    Here's a link to something interesting on the subject:

    http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/GRAPHICS/83568.PDF

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  20. Blogger isn't doing a good job of wrapping hyperlinks. The web page to see for CPUC information about at-grade pedestrian crossings is at:

    http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/
    PUC/Transportation/crossings/
    pedguidance.htm

    You will need to paste the three lines into your browser address bar, or google "CPUC at-grade pedestrian crossings".

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  21. I live in Cardiff near the tracks, I'd like to see the underground crossing at Montgomery. It could also be part of a way to better link Encinitas to Cardiff for walking or biking.

    And, does anyone really like the trench in Solana Beach? It is way worse than having to run across the tracks. I don't think we can do the underground in Cardiff with the 2 sets of tracks in any case.

    More horn blasts or bells with at grade crossings would suck.

    The downtown San Diego quiet zone has been generations in the making and still not done.

    Let's put a little stimulus money into this and reconnect the communities to the beach.

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  22. How about they let us just cross the tracks like we had been doing for the last 100 years. Or somesone sues them for prescriptive easement rights.
    It's only NCTD that is opposed to us crossing them.
    Maybe Obama can throw us some of that free money and lets bury the tracks.

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  23. The plan is for 200-300 trains per day. There is no way anyone is going to cross the tracks once double tracking is complete.

    NCTD's plan has always been to double track and use the freight revenue to subsidize their commuter services.

    The plan is use LA ports for goods going to Mexico. The goods for the interior will not come our way. However, goods destined for Baja factories (really, TJ), will go through Encinitas.

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  24. I beleive it. Go get the free printed money from Obama before it turns to Pesos and bury the tracks. Don't bury the Citizens and kids.

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  25. Double tracking will not happen until the intervening bridges and at grade crossings are solved. Until a large bag of money shows up from somewhere, it's not going to happen.

    Also, revision of these obstacles would not require extensive review and approval as the railroad now constitutes interstate commerce and is exempt.

    There really is nothing keeping this from happening except money.

    So, for those who believe that double tracking could be leveraged against the ultimate solution of Leucadia Blvd. / 101, forget it.

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  26. That’s right. And money is getting printed for free as fast as the government can make it. Let’s go get a pot of it.

    Solana Beach is double tracked and lowered. Encinitas should be too.

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  27. If they bury the crosswalks, it will make finding crystal meth much easier.

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  28. BOB said it best -
    Bury the train
    No tweaker tunnels

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  29. They sould do nothing, thus saving millions to contribute to their unsustainable, bloated pension funds and salary obligations.To any city employee leaches out there ,listen to this. I have a masters in engineering and 30 yrs experience.My salary is 70K a year with a 5% match on my 401K.It may come as a shock to you but that is the gold standard in the private sector.If most of you losers ever had to get a real job you would commit suicide.
    AVO ST MAFIA
    A.S.L. por vida

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  30. At least do your own math:

    24hoursx60 minutes=1440 minutes/day
    1440minutes/300trains=5 min/train
    (or a train every five minutes around the clock).

    City subways work at about 10 minute intervals.

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. Nice analysis W2 and thanks for the link AJ.

    I'm not completely sold on the idea of undergrounding the tracks. There are some drawbacks to undergrounding like disconnecting vulcan high density from 101 mixed used and the beach, but it could help solve the 101/vulcan/Leucadia intersection disaster and we can piggyback in some flooding fixes to the project. I just don't know if it would be the best use of the money. A lot of money.

    That being said, the city could pursue undergrounding or at-grade crossings at the state capital. The entire State is giddy on transit oriented development so they should be willing to help keep trains from being a huge burden.

    The city has contract lobbyists on retainer, which I am against (see http://tiny.cc/alSwx). Why not use them to help Leucadia get quiet at-grade crossings or undergrounding?

    We are already paying them. Better yet, the council should approach our state rep, Garrick to help us out.

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  33. Kevin- What?

    Tell us how else do you solve the problems the track causes?

    There are way more stupid the government wastes its money. A grade separated railroad through Encinitas would be a worthy project. Need I say Iraq war= $2 trillion dollars plus.

    Lets ask Solana Beach if they'd like their 2 tracks above or below grade.

    Whats your Suggestion?

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  34. Bury the tracksMarch 17, 2009 9:36 PM

    Stop smoking dope and bury the tracks!!!

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  35. Cut and Cover-

    No disconnect. We can lease our the above space for commercial, residential and park or openspace landuse. Plus the revenue stream would repay bonds used to pay for the project.

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  36. Just get ready for fences on both sides of the track lagoon to lagoon. Del Mar to Oceanside.
    Going to look like a prison.

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  37. I too live along the tracks in Cardiff. A tunnel at Montgomery would be a colossal waste of money. Much better to spend the money on grade crossings.

    I think 300 trains a day is wildly exaggerated. Where would all the trains go? There isn't room in San Diego. This is usually why freight train are idling at night on the double tracks in Cardiff. They can't go south until a train goes north and makes room for them in San Diego. Passenger trains pass quickly. At most it's a short wait to cross at grade.

    The quiet zone at Chesterfield is still in the talking stage, where it has been for years. It will stay in the talking stage while our council save money for other priorities.

    The idea always was to use San Diego and Ensenada to receive goods and move them north, not the other way around. This would help relieve the congestion at Long Beach and San Pedro.

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  38. There is congestion at the ports in LA because the longshormans union keeps it that way. Bust that union. $250,000 for nothing more than a high school diploma. they won't allow bar codes to track product, so they can steal goods!!!

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. anon 816,

    This is just not something that I have spent a lot of time looking into. There are lots of other people who pay attention to this. My efforts are more valuable in places others don't look.

    Given the size of the expenditure I'd like to reserve making a definitive judgment. This isn't a hedge. It is just my deliberative approach. However, I know that others advocate for the undergrounding and I wanted to make sure they knew the council pays lobbyists that are unnecessary. Why not have them tell us who's causing the problem for us in the state capital.

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  41. Oh thanks Kevin. I understand your point. Thanks for the posts.

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  42. Cut and cover and give the space to a more well balanced Leucadia.

    No noise, less pollution, no deaths, no danger for children, higher quality of life for all and a more healthy City.

    Bury the tracks, cover the tracks, use the above space like in so many other locations (one example San Diego State. Another - new york. Another every coastal area in Europe. Another LA). Lets get real. This is valuable coastal real estate. Make it happen.

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  43. anon 854,

    Let's make it happen.

    Now what?

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