Encinitas, CA –The North County Transit District (NCTD), in conjunction with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), City of Encinitas, and Caltrans District 11, has won the “Alternative Modes & Active Transportation” award for the Coastal Rail Trail – Encinitas at the 2020 WTS San Diego County Annual Awards & Scholarship Event. The WTS International Award recognizes excellence in projects embracing innovative, alternative solutions, projects, or policies where women filled essential personnel and leadership positions.
The Coastal Rail Trail is a planned 44-mile continuous bike route between Oceanside and Downtown San Diego. The completed Encinitas portion of the Trail is a multi-use path that runs 1.3 miles along the east side of the Los Angeles – San Diego – San Louis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor in the Cardiff community. This project provides a safe and attractive bikeway, complemented by pedestrian improvements, for people of all ages and abilities. Prior to the project, the biking and walking environment was characterized by heavy traffic, high motor-vehicle speeds, and non-contiguous sidewalks, posing challenges for pedestrians and cyclists.
Opened in May 2019, the completed Encinitas section is a separated Class I path between Chesterfield Drive and Santa Fe Drive, with a connection to the grade-separated railroad undercrossing near Swami’s Beach. It increases safety and comfort by separating pedestrians from vehicle and train traffic and provides a viable transportation option to driving alone. The project also provides a safe route to school, encourages outdoor exercise, and has other environmental and social benefits for the region.
WTS is an international organization with more than 6,500 members and 79 chapters, including San Diego County. The WTS San Diego Awards honor women who have achieved excellence in their careers through outstanding contributions to our transportation community as well as remarkable transportation projects that help achieve regional goals by delivering effective and innovative transportation solutions. The Coastal Rail Trail – Encinitas project included dozens of women from the various agencies who managed key aspects of the project and made major contributions to its success.
“There’s no question that the women who were involved in this project were pivotal to its success,” said SANDAG Vice Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “The Coastal Rail Trail – Encinitas is truly a great community benefit. From the moment this facility opened, it’s been tremendously popular. It’s a great example of ‘build it and they will come’.”
NCTD Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember Tony Kranz expressed, “NCTD appreciates WTS for recognizing the Coastal Rail Trail – Encinitas project at this year’s awards. This trail is a wonderful example of how the community can come together in a safe manner to recreate, commute, and enjoy our beautiful city. The teams at NCTD, City of Encinitas, SANDAG, and Caltrans have completed this impressive project in a short amount of time in order to provide the city with an innovative alternative for transportation.”
“Projects like the Coastal Rail Trail are a vital part of the state transportation system,” said Caltrans District 11 Director Gustavo Dallarda. “It is an honor to be recognized by WTS as part of the team that delivered the project.”
Construction on the Coastal Rail Trail, as part of the Build NCC project, continues with completed sections in the Oceanside and Rose Creek areas. The project is a priority in SANDAG’s Regional Bikeway Early Action Program, a $200 million initiative to dramatically expand the bikeway network throughout the region.
Build NCC is a collaborative effort between SANDAG, Caltrans, United States Department of Transportation, and the cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad. The first phase of construction is in the cities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad as part of the North Coast Corridor Program. Build NCC includes extending the existing carpool lane on Interstate 5 in each direction from Lomas Santa Fe Drive to State Route 78, double tracking the rail line, and replacing the highway bridge at the San Elijo Lagoon, restoring the San Elijo Lagoon, and constructing nearly 7 miles of new bike and pedestrian trails. Construction on Build NCC began in early 2017 and will be complete by 2022.
Find more information about the Coastal Rail Trail at SANDAG’s Keep San Diego Moving website.