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Keeping on Track
Nancy Fisher | 24th Street


Committee members Bill Michalsky (co-chair with Nancy Fisher, not pictured) Betsy Winsett, Robin Crabtree, Alexandra Veen, Bob Zizka, Hershell Price, Jacqueline Winterer, and Maureen Dime. Residents Pam-Slater Price and Tom Nelson. Photo Nancy Fisher


Del Mar’s new ad-hoc committee, the San Dieguito Double Track (SDDT) and Fairgrounds Platform Committee, met for the first time on February 19th at the Powerhouse. Designed to ensure that the community and environmental issues associated with SANDAG’s San Dieguito Double Track and Fairgrounds Platform project are adequately disclosed, studied, assessed, and mitigated, the SDDT Committee will meet regularly during the first stages of this project review.

The $100M rail project, currently funded through engineering and environmental review, but not through final design or construction, has three main components. It will replace the 96-year-old wooden trestle bridge located west of the fairgrounds with a new bridge designed to meet federal requirements for avoiding floods that could damage the bridge or tracks. It will add 1.1 mile of double tracking from south Solana Beach to Jimmy Durante Boulevard, which according to SANDAG will “eliminate a significant bottleneck between Solana Beach and Del Mar” and “will help reduce the cascading effects of train delays in the LOSSAN corridor.” And, last, it will add a special events train platform adjacent to the fairgrounds, which will allow passenger trains to directly serve seasonal events including the Del Mar racing season and the San Diego County Fair. Although the project has a construction start date of “before 2030,” funds could become available sooner for projects deemed “shovel ready.”

Asked to prioritize their concerns, the committee identified three aspects of the project. First was that the bridge be raised as little as necessary, as elevating it would raise the height of the tracks in the residential area (28th to 21st Streets) south of the bridge, and could lead to increased light, noise, vibration, and invasion of privacy. Second was the location of the double tracking, which could possibly be moved east to lessen the impact on nearby residents. Third was the size and location of the special events platform, and that it be designed to reduce the impact on the lagoon, residents, and nearby businesses as much as possible.

At their next meeting, which is scheduled for March 5th at 5:00 at the City Hall Annex, Mark Filanc (Del Mar’s representative to SANDAG’s sub-committee on technical issues) and Tim Thiel (Del Mar’s City Engineer) will address these concerns and others from a technical standpoint. Future meetings will include presentations from SANDAG and from representatives of concurrent projects, such as the San Dieguito River Park JPA, which is planning trails along the river banks, and the city’s plan to replace the Camino del Mar Bridge near Dog Beach. Meetings are open to the public and anyone may fill out a Speaker’s Slip and address SDDT for three minutes on any agenda item.


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