Dan Nore | 25th Street and Nancy Fisher | 24th Street
Del Mar residents organized a community meeting on October 14th inviting representatives from the City Council and North County Transit District (NCTD) to provide information about a new multi-million dollar train platform to serve the fairgrounds. The platform is planned for the residential neighborhood north of the tennis courts between 2lst and 24th streets, more than a half mile to the entrance of the fair. Attendees included Del Mar Council members Carl Hilliard and Marc Filanc and NCTD Executive Director Matt Tucker and Chief Engineer Justin Fornelli, and approximately 60 Del Mar residents.
There were many questions raised by residents, but few concrete answers. Mr. Tucker repeatedly contended that the project is “in its very early stages” so they do not have all of the answers. City Council members admitted they are just beginning to seek neighborhood input”, despite prior reports that one council member is already in favor of the project and “hoping for a June 20ll completion date”.
Many spoke out about the impacts of the platform on life in their neighborhoods. Noise, added pollution from dwell time, horns, lighting, hours of operation from morning until after midnight, use of the platform for beach access and the realities of more people flowing through the neighborhood, intensifying existing seasonal problems in the beach area. When City Council members were questioned about the increased indirect costs of the platform to the city, no estimates were available.
When questioned about benefits to the city of Del Mar, Council members claimed “a reduction in traffic and greenhouse gases”, but residents were quick to point out lack of market data. Neither the City nor NCTD have conducted specific market research to quantify changes in ridership and expected benefits from a new platform. They also questioned why upgrading or “greening” bus service from the Solana Beach station was not even considered as an option.
In closing, Councilman Hilliard stated that the neighborhood platform project rested “in the hands of the Del Mar City Council”. “If they vote for it, the project will move on to NCTD and could be built in a year. If they vote against it, it will die.” One neighbor suggested a “straw poll” be taken to determine the level of support for the platform. Of the approximately 60 attendees, not a single hand was raised in support.
A petition opposing the residential platform is being circulated and already has approximately 200 signatures.