Beach Access: Beachgoers getting stopped in their tracks - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Beach Access: Beachgoers getting stopped in their tracks

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The fight is on over access to the beach, bluffs and trails of North County.

The focus of the increased enforcement has been the rail corridors from Oceanside to San Diego and between Oceanside and Escondido, according to NCTD.

Anyone crossing the track illegally or trespassing on the railroad right- of-way will face criminal penalties for their violation of the law by NCTD's transit enforcement officers, or the San Diego County Sheriff's transit enforcement services unit. The penalties for trespassing on the railroad right- of-way can result in fines up to $500 and 6 months in jail.

On Tuesday night, the Del Mar City Council agreed to look at short term solutions but called for backing off tickets. 

Crossing the railroad tracks is illegal, and North County Transit District said it has become a big problems.

In the last two years there have been 19 fatalities and 15 injuries.

Last month the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Rail Enforcement unit began to crack down by issuing misdemeanor tickets - a $500 fine.

There was backlash after a resident received a $75 citation, which lead to the formation of "Citizens for access to Del Mar Beach." 

Residents said they understand the safety concerns but according to them, tickets are not the answer.

More than 500 people have signed a petition calling for safe access such as a pedestrian bridge.

The Sheriff's department said since they stepped up efforts in August they have issued 118 citations, 372 warnings and three arrests..

In 2015, deputies issued 115 misdemeanor tickets for trespassing on the tracks.

NCTD said since it's the law they cannot turn a blind eye and stop ticketing rail trespassers, but they can look at more education rather than enforcement to make sure the public stays within the federal safety guidelines. 

The Council formed a sub-committee that will work with the North County Transit District and SANDAG to come up with a solution to the problem. 

Suggestions include a pedestrian bridge, underpass, tunnel, or grade crossing. Recommendations are expected at the end of November. 

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