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NCTD Crossing to Bear
Don Mosier, Councilmember and NCTD Board Member

Forbidden to cross the tracks to get to the bluffs.
Photo Mike Salt.
Clicik on image to enlarge.

 

Fatality on tracks at 13th Street
Saturday, September 24th Poway teen was killed by a train at 13th Street while distracted by his smartphone.

Item 15 on the North County Transit District (NCTD) Board Meeting on September 15th was a discussion of Enforcement of codes and laws for unlawful trespassing upon NCTD Rail Right-of-Way (California Penal Code Section 369i and CPUC Code Section 99170) presented by Jaime Becerra, NCTD Chief of Transit Enforcement. The presentation mirrored that presented by NCTD at the Del Mar City Council Meeting of September 6th, and emphasized the increased attention to rail safety from the Federal Transit Authority and the California Public Utilities Commission that govern NCTD operations.

Beginning August 1, 2016, the NCTD Transit Enforcement Division, including Sheriff’s Deputies and Code Enforcement Officers, initiated high-visibility dedicated patrol operations at high-incident locations (Del Mar and
Oceanside) on the railway right of way. The following table provides information regarding the results of these operations from August 1st through September 5th, 2016:

Special Enforcement Details 9
Warnings Issued (Verbal and Written) 372
Citations Issued 118
Arrests Made 3

Following the presentation and questions from Encinitas Councilmember Tony Kranz and me as the Del Mar representative to clarify what kind of citations had been issued, it emerged that by mid-August, only CPUC Code Sections 99170 citations were being issued with a fine of $75 and no misdemeanor charges.
There were 11 public speakers, all of whom urged a solution that would provide safe access to the beach for all residents who must cross the rail corridor to reach the beach. Speakers included Frank Stonebanks, who heads a volunteer organization that submitted 600 signatures in support of safe access, current District 3 Supervisor Dave Roberts, former District 3 Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, and Del Mar former councilmember and current candidate David Druker. Most speakers urged that citations be reserved for truly stupid activities in the NCTD right of way, of which there seem to be quite a few including Pokemon games and selfies while lying on the tracks.

The following NCTD Board discussion revealed that no citations had been issued since September 6th, and the resolution of the Del Mar City Council from that date that strict enforcement stood in the way of a productive solution was conveyed by me to the board. A memorandum of understanding between NCTD and the City of Del Mar is in draft form, and should be adopted at an upcoming council meeting. This will allow cost-sharing between the city and NCTD for a feasibility study to provide one or more safe pedestrian crossings between 4th and 15th Street. This is a regional issue for coastal cities that impacts more than Del Mar, and I hope that all of us can work for a meaningful solution that allows safe bluff access in the near future.

 

 

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