Trump could be answer to Del Mar blufftop danger

Posted at 5:58 AM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 08:59:03-05

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) - People in Del Mar are searching for solutions after a train hit and killed a woman walking her dog along its picturesque coastal bluffs last week. 

For years, people have been illegally trespassing along the bluffs to take in the view, or get down to the beach. Last Wednesday, a woman walking her dog was hit and killed by a train.

"It's really sad," said John Leach, who works in Del Mar and walks across the tracks. "I don't know what hte answer is. I don't know if anybody knows."

Del Mar Deputy Mayor Dwight Worden says the region needs to find those answers fast, with 12 people dying in the region every year by train.

"When we're killing people, that's a safety issue that should rise right to the top of the priority list," he siad. 

Del Mar wants to reroute the tracks off the bluff, but that costs $1.3 billion. The San Diego Association of Governments has that project slated for 2050, but no funding exists, Worden said. 

He said, however, that President Trump's proposed trillion dollar infrastructure plan, if it moves forward, could be an opportunity, so he wants to make sure the project is shovel ready if it passes.

"If we don't start pushing now, it's never going to happen," he said. 

As for quicker alternatives, Warden said it's difficult to get the Public Utilities Commission to approve an at-grade crossing, with arms and bells, since those are also dangerous. He says a tunnel wouldn't work under the sensitive bluffs, and fencing off the area would create a firestorm in Del Mar. 

Worden says SANDAG budgeted $100,000 to do a feasibility study for fixing the problem, and he says Del Mar is meeting with all of the North County cities to broaden the project. The hope is by having all involved, the project is given higher priority.