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Carlsbad working to accommodate train traffic, improve crossing safety

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 21:30:48-04

CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - On a given evening, the streets of Carlsbad Village are filled with people walking, biking, and driving across the train tracks that bisect the city.

The number of trains passing through has also been steadily increasing.

“There are projections that say in the next 10 years train traffic is going to double through this region,” said Jason Haber, who works for the City of Carlsbad.

Carlsbad Village is one of the last remaining stretches of train tracks along the San Diego Coast that has not been double-tracked to accommodate the growth in train volume. But there are plans to change that.

The option being pushed by the city is to trench the tracks through the downtown area. That would also address the other pressing issue on the tracks: safety.

In the last 5 years, the North County Transit District says 11 people have died from being struck by a train in the city.

Last September, Jason Holsinger was killed where the tracks cross Grand Avenue when he rode his bike passed a lowered crossing arm.

Near Tamarack Avenue, Josh Foster was killed last February while walking along the tracks. The Medical Examiner determined he had marijuana in his system but ruled it an accident.

One of the most high profile deaths occurred in 2014 when 22-year-old Patrick Terrin was struck by a train while crossing at Grand Avenue after a night of drinking.

The family sued the City of Carlsbad and BNSF railways claiming there were inadequate safety measures at the crossing for pedestrians. However, they lost the case when a judge determined the city and BNSF were not liable.

If a plan to trench the tracks is given the green light, the vehicle and pedestrian crossings would go over the tracks.

Two alternatives are currently being looked at, a shorter and longer version.

The North County Transit District oversees the tracks in the area and would end up making the end decision. It’s unclear where the money would come from at this point. Depending on the alternative chosen, the project could cost between 300-400 million dollars. Construction could take several years.