Coastal Commission to decide fate of Rail Trail project - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Coastal Commission to decide fate of Rail Trail project

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The California Coastal Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday to decide if the placement of the proposed 1.3 mile path in Cardiff will be approved for the west side of Highway 101.

The city's idea is to create a pedestrian and bike path west of Coast Highway 101. The plan initially was to build it on the east side of the railroad tracks adjacent to San Elijo Avenue. 

The city council voted this as its preferred alternative in May 2015, but changed course in March 2016 after hundreds of residents flooded officials for months with petitions to reconsider the location. 

Residents were concerned that the eastern alignment would trigger the installation of a fence blocking access from the east side of the tracks to the beach and that the bicycle path would replace the natural terrain with a large unsightly path.

The Coastal Commission's staff don't support the western alignment. They say it was not part of a large plan that the agency adopted, which would cover several projects including widening the freeway.

Julie Thunder, who opposes the current proposal says she's concerned about maintaining access to the beach.

"We'll be Cardiff by the fence, we'll no longer be Cardiff by the sea and our access to the beach will be locked, Thunder said.

"There's a lot of emotions and fear that this is going to be a concrete jungle and there is no chance we are going to let that happen," Encinitas City Council Member, Catherine Blackspear said.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.

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