SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – The battle lines were drawn Tuesday night regarding a controversial trail project through Cardiff.

The Cardiff Rail Trail would create a walking path, bike lanes and a fence along the railway corridor.

The Encinitas City Council wants the trail and bike paths to run along San Elijo and Vulcan Avenues as opposed to Coast Highway 101.

Supporters said it would safely connect Cardiff with downtown Encinitas for bicyclists and pedestrians, but a group of vocal opponents counter that argument by saying the rail trail would cause irreparable damage to their community.

RELATED: Friends of the Cardiff Rail Trail

Vocal opponents, complete with signs, protested before a public meeting held Tuesday evening by SANDAG, which has allocated $5.1 million for the Cardiff Rail Trail. The rail project was approved a year ago in a 3-2 vote by the Encinitas City Council.

RELATED: No Rail Trail

According to opponents, the trail would cut off access to the beach because of a fence that would be built along the railroad tracks, which they said would also harm the local environment, eliminate parking and change the character of Cardiff.

Supporters said the project would benefit the entire city and connect Cardiff to Encinitas in a safer way.

The Coastal Commission still has to give its approval to the project which would not begin construction until 2017.