Hope for NOP

The NOP:  What Is It? Why Does It Matter? SANDAG’s proposed rail relocation project, moving the tracks off the bluff into a tunnel, must undergo detailed environmental review before proceeding. On June 4, SANDAG released its proposed “Notice of Preparation” (NOP), identifying the project alternatives and environmental issues it will study.  The final NOP will govern what will be studied during the two-year environmental review process. If the alignments and topics of importance to Del Mar are included in the NOP, they will be studied. If they are not, they won’t be.


Three alignment options and four potential portals are identified in the NOP, along with environmental issues to be addressed. Now is our opportunity to ask for changes to the NOP before it becomes final, to make sure all the important issues are included for study.


The alignment options include the Fairgrounds/I-5 option (Alt A), the Crest Canyon/Public Portals option (Alt B), and the CDM option (Alt C). Del Mar can feel good that we have already influenced the project in a positive way, with key options included for study.

It is critical for Del Mar to strategically address the NOP. With your help we can come together as a community to give written input to SANDAG that will make sure Del Mar’s interests are fully considered. We want to hear from you at our July council meetings to help in crafting our input. Remember that the NOP process is not the time for a decision on the alignment. That will come later, informed by what we learn from the environmental studies. Rather, it is the time to make sure all important options and issues are studied. Our comments should also respond to issues raised by other stakeholders: the Fairgrounds, City of Solana Beach, Torrey Pines Planning Group, our Carmel Valley neighbors, Surfrider, Sierra Club, property owners, transportation advocates, business interests, and others, since their concerns might impact Del Mar. Written comments will be accepted by SANDAG until the deadline (July 19 as of this writing, but the city has requested a 15-day extension).


Remaining Weaknesses in the NOP. As of this writing (late June), I have a working list of issues for the NOP. You can find it here: https://bit.ly/nop-questions. Your comments are welcome.


Your input to Council and SANDAG will be most helpful if you read the NOP and focus your comments on environmental issues or alignments you think are missing or need clarification or correction. The NOP is online here: bit.ly/sandag-nop. You can dig deeper into how SANDAG reduced 26 alignment options to three by reading the Alignments Screening Report: bit.ly/alignments-screening.


Note: this article reflects my personal views and not necessarily those of my council colleagues or the official city position.