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Del Mar's coastal bluffs could be fenced off

dm train pic.jpg
Posted at 4:53 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 20:21:47-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A six-foot-tall chain link fence could soon line Del Mar's famous coastal bluffs, which trains pass on top of daily.

On Jan. 20, the North County Transit District board will consider a plan to fence off the picturesque bluffs, cutting off surfers, joggers and walkers from the 1.5-mile stretch. For decades, people have been illegally crossing the train tracks to get down to different parts of the beach or walk along the bluffs. The move would come after negotiations between Del Mar and NCTD for a scaled back version failed in part because NCTD wanted Del Mar to assume liability for any incidents.

NCTD board chair Tony Kranz noted the agency is being sued by a family whose loved one was killed in an accident in recent years.

"Trains have become more frequent and they're quieter," Kranz said. "The impacts upon the transit system when there are incidents have been pretty impactful."

On Monday, the Del Mar City Council approved a response letter to the transit district ahead of the meeting. Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland said NCTD's standard fence could destabilize the already eroding bluffs, and instead is pushing for blufftop, legal crossings with appropriate barriers were needed elsewhere. She said access to the beach is a right for residents and tourists, alike.

"Now is the time to take a step back, to really think about the crossing and get something in there that makes it legal for people to get to the other side," Gaasterland said.

The transit district's fence would also block the upper part of the bluff that runs 7th Street to the south, far above the passing trains.

"What they want to do is completely imprison the entire bluffs away from the public so that they can use that as a negotiation tactic," said Del Mar resident Shirli Weiss, who walks that area almost daily.

Del Mar's letter to NCTD is expected to be made public Tuesday.