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New section of North County Rail Trail opens to public

Posted at 11:30 AM, Jan 29, 2021

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It was a virtual ribbon-cutting unlike no other, where those involved in the actual cutting were transformed into cartoon characters.

A COVID-friendly way of celebrating another section of the Inland Rail Trail officially opening to the public. The new 2.5-mile section stretches from Vista to the area near Cherimoya Drive, which is part of the unincorporated section of the county.

Crews have been working on this portion of the trail since 2017.

Once finished, the Inland Rail Trail will be a 21-mile, multi-use path that will stretch through the cities of Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido.

"People will be able to ride their bikes, and walk, and be separated from cars. And they can be outside during this pandemic and afterward," Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said, who's also the SANDAG Chair.

Blakespear says finishing this section is an important milestone in the plans to create a regional bike path that will span more than 70 miles that will connect the North County to the US Mexico Border.

"We need to be building the projects that will allow people to go where they want to go outside of their cars. Because when you build a space that’s comfortable and safe, then people use it. You build it and they will come kind of idea," Blakespear said.

The total cost for this portion of the project is $16.2 million that was paid for through federal, state, and local funds.