All along Coast Highway 101, people have to deal with trying to get to the other side of the tracks every day, sparking safety concerns and calls for action.
A new underpass in Leucadia will improve pedestrian and bike safety as well as link an elementary school to a residential and local business area. An existing underpass near Swami Beach, built several years ago, seemed to alleviate some safety concerns.
“It is a great safety measure. People can get access to the coast. You can see them walking their children and pets," Encinitas resident Patrick Thompson told NBC 7.
At El Portal Street and N. Coast Highway 101, construction for the new $10.2 million underpass project is slated to begin in summer 2020.
As for funding, the city said half will come from a grant and another half, about $5 million, will come from the city’s budget.
Spencer Smith runs a business right across the street from the train tracks and he claims the city is “paying all this money that could be used for infrastructure or keeping the beaches clean.”
“[The train] is very loud! It is very easy to hear,” Smith added, feeling there is a more cost effective solution.
“A walkway where you go over like the one they have for cars and two little mini guards that will stop people from crossing if the train is coming,” Smith said.
Aside from Smith, other people told NBC 7 they were looking forward to the new infrastructure.
Officially called the “El Portal Pedestrian and Bicycle Undercrossing Project”, the City of Encinitas said it should be completed by 2022.
City documents show the project is being managed by SANDAG.