Del Mar

Del Mar Wants Federal Help Settling Dispute Over Fences Along Coastal Railroad

The North County Transit District wants to install two fences along sections of coastal train tracks in Del Mar, but the city and the coastal commission aren't in favor

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Del Mar and the California Coastal Commission want federal help resolving a dispute with the North County Transit District.

The NCTD wants to install a fence along roughly 1.7 miles of railroad tracks through Del Mar, and a secondary fence along certain portions of the bluff above the tracks.

No trespassing signs do very little to deter hundreds of people from crossing the tracks every day. The NCTD said 64 people have died along the tracks in the North County in the last five years. Some were accidental. Some were people taking their own lives. Either way, NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tucker said in a statement Wednesday, “Safety on the bluffs needs to be addressed. NCTD has worked collaboratively with the City of Del Mar and the Coastal Commission for more than 14 months to develop an alternative fencing plan that makes the bluffs safer and responds to the community’s concerns.”

Del Mar’s City Manager Ashley Jones said they don’t want the secondary fence. The city argued additional fences could further weaken the sensitive bluffs and add an eyesore to the coastline. However, an NCTD spokesman said if the city doesn’t accept its plan, it will resort to installing a taller, less attractive fence along the railroad tracks.

"I can understand some of the reasoning behind but it’s so unfortunate because it is a very unique place," said Del Mar resident Natalia Orozco. "I think it’s a little bit overly cautious."

The city and commission filed a request with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to mediate the dispute. No timetable has been set. However, the NCTD originally set a deadline for the end of February for Del Mar to reach an agreement.

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