(Photo: Looking south from San Elijo Ave – the temporary road is in the middle going down to the new railroad bridge. Cardiff’s Restaurant Row is on the far right.)
October 2018: North County Transit District (NCTD) formally requested that a temporary road built for construction use in Cardiff be converted to a permanent road for future railroad maintenance. The road connects San Elijo Avenue, at a point just south of Glen Park, to the new railroad bridge spanning the lagoon outlet. Previously, there was no access from this area down to the lagoon, and the project plans called for the road to be removed after the railroad improvements are completed.
The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy (SELC), as well as residents in the immediate area, was not notified of the request and was unaware that a decision was being made about the temporary road to the lagoon.
November 2018: Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear wrote a letter to NCTD stating that “we have no objection to these plans.” She also says that it’s the City’s hope that “it will create future opportunities for a nature trail and viewing area on the edge of the Lagoon on the east side of the bridge.” Again, SELC and the nearby residents were not notified by the City or the other agencies.
February 2019 – The issue was heard by the California Coastal Commission, with no notice to residents or the SELC. One of the letters of support for the road conversion was from the Sierra Club (San Diego Chapter).
The Sierra Club letter states that at a meeting of the San Diego Bay Council, the attending agencies voted to approve the road. The agencies were Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Audubon, San Diego Coastkeeper, Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, and Environmental Center of San Diego. SELC was not in attendance and was unaware of the vote of approval.
Nearby residents first learned of the change earlier this month when SANDAG sent their monthly project update via email, seen here.
I asked if the community was allowed to weigh in on this, or was it a decision that Mayor Blakespear, SANDAG, and NCTD decided for us? I didn’t see anything from the City regarding this. Whether it’s a good thing or not, should we not have the right to express our views?Cardiff resident who wishes to remain anonymous
We contacted Doug Gibson, the Director of the SELC and asked if he approves of the road conversion and was he aware that the San Diego Sierra Club was weighing in on a project at the lagoon?
The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy does not support a trail from the bottom of the access road location to the lagoon. We have worked with SANDAG to ensure that there is no public access down to the lagoon from the access road off of San Elijo Ave. We saw the letter from the City and the Sierra Club as part of the Coastal Commission report, but were not contacted before those letters went out.
Executive Director & Principal Scientist
San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
It appears that the Coastal Commission is set to approve the road conversion with a few minor technical caveats like fencing determinations. The conclusion from the CCC report (click image for full report):
All documents mentioned can be found here, at the Keep San Diego Moving website.
An article on this issue by The San Diego Reader can be found here.