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Residents fight plans to build chainlink fence along Del Mar railroad tracks petition to end NCTD fence plan.png
Posted at 10:25 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 02:16:46-04

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV)-- Some residents in Del Mar are fighting the North County Transit District's (NCTD) plans to create a safety fence along the railroad tracks above the Del Mar bluffs.

NCTD, which operates and maintains the rails in North San Diego County, said they want to make it safer for riders and residents. Monday night, the Del Mar City Council heard the issue.

Last June, NCTD hired a consulting firm to assess the risk of trespassers and found that there were 33 pedestrian strikes between Del Mar and Oceanside from 2015 to 2019. In the worst areas in Del Mar, there were 11 deaths. NCTD's answer was to build a mile and a half long, 6-foot chainlink fence atop Del Mar's bluffs to block out trespassers.

"They play up the safety thing very big, but the reality is it's all about liability," Del Mar resident Frank Stonebanks said.

Stonebanks, who leads the Facebook group, Citizens for access to Del Mar beaches, bluffs, and trails, despises the plan.

"It's a terrible idea from a pure urban design and pedestrian perspective. It blocks evacuation routes in case of fire," Stonebanks said.

Members in this group also argue that the fence will ruin the landscape, lower property values, and can even pose a new danger.

"From a safety perspective, maybe not in the way they're looking at it, but if someone actually then tried to go to the beach and got stuck, they're going to get hit," Stonebanks said.

A petition to put an end to NCTD's minimum $2 million fencing plan has more than 5,500 signatures. Members of the Del Mar city council will bring the city's voice to the NCTD board meeting on Thursday. But Stonebanks hopes it does not get to that point.

"Our hope is is that it's going to come to a full stop on Thursday," Stonebanks said.

ABC 10News contacted NCTD for comment on this story. They were unavailable.