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Controversy Erupts as Rail Relocation Project Sparks Debate Between Del Mar and Solana Beach

A proposed project to relocate train tracks away from the bluffs in Del Mar has ignited a heated debate between the neighboring cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) recently unveiled three possible route alternatives labeled as A, B, and C for the tunneling and relocation of the rail line.

While Alternative A starts at the Solana Beach train station and traverses along the fairgrounds and Interstate 5, Alternative B cuts through Del Mar, offering the shortest travel time. On the other hand, Alternative C boasts the shortest tunnel, potentially reducing costs for the project.

Historically, SANDAG’s community meetings have primarily attracted residents from Del Mar. However, a recent meeting saw a significant turnout from Solana Beach residents, expressing concerns over the potential impact of the proposed routes on their community. Solana Beach resident Donna Glenn highlighted the importance of engaging with the community and ensuring that their voices are heard in the decision-making process.

Mayor Lesa Heebner of Solana Beach criticized SANDAG for the lack of engagement with their city regarding Alternative A, which she deemed costly, inefficient, and damaging to existing infrastructure. She emphasized the need for more inclusive discussions that consider the interests of both Del Mar and Solana Beach, as well as the region as a whole.

Interestingly, the shift in pushback from Del Mar to Solana Beach has raised questions about the evolving dynamics of the project’s stakeholders. Leif Gensert from the public transit advocacy group RideSD pointed out the changing perspectives among residents based on how the proposed routes affect their respective cities.

Regardless of the chosen route, Gensert emphasized the importance of prioritizing factors like speed, reliability, and electrification of the rail system. SANDAG continues to seek feedback from the community, allowing residents to submit their comments on the project until July 19. Feedback can be shared via mail, email, or online submission through SANDAG’s official channels.

As the controversy surrounding the rail relocation project deepens, it is essential for SANDAG to address the concerns of both Del Mar and Solana Beach residents in a transparent and collaborative manner to find a solution that benefits all parties involved.