DEL MAR, Calif. — Transit leaders are considering a controversial plan to put up fencing next to the train tracks along the coast of Del Mar.
People from neighborhoods on top of the bluffs cross the tracks to get to the beach below. They’ve enjoyed the easy access to the ocean for more than 100 years. But after seven train deaths in 15 years, the North County Transit District is hardening their stance on the loosely-enforced trespassing.
“They want to fence off the whole east side of the bluff. The top of the bluff, not just the bottom,” Dave Druker, a member of city council, said.
Del Mar, Encinitas and Oceanside would all have sections of their tracks lined with a 6-foot chain-link fence but only Del Mar’s access to the beach would be cut off.
“Residents are not happy about this at all and they want the city council to fight this tooth and nail,” Druker said.
The proposal isn’t expected to move forward until 2021. Former lifeguard chief Pat Vergne said the North County Transit District should think about emergency access to the beach for lifeguards and rescue personnel.
“I’d like to see a little bit more public safety input before the fence is even considered,” he said. “It seems like they are trying to do this way too quickly.”
The estimated cost for the fencing in Del Mar is roughly $6 million. City council members said they are trying to find a better solution than fencing.
“The concept is to build some safe crossings,” Druker said.