The Oct. 23 meeting at Nobel Recreation Center was a follow-up to a workshop held previously, during which stakeholder groups gave input which helped the city determine which criteria would be used in evaluating the seven proposed alternative CRT alignments.
Evaluation criteria ran the gamut from aesthetics to connectivity, public safety, environmental, cost and geographic considerations.
The Coastal Rail Trail is a regional project that will establish a multi-use, north-south trail connecting Oceanside, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas and Solana Beach with Santa Fe Train Depot in downtown San Diego 40 miles to the south. As its name suggests, much of the proposed trail runs within the coastal rail public right-of-way.
The city portion of the CRT consists of 10 miles of multi-use trails going from Carmel Valley to Gilman Drive in La Jolla. This trail segment will provide important connections between regional employment centers in Sorrento Valley, UCSD and University City and residential communities to the north and south, linking them up with the Sorrento Valley Coaster station and a future trolley line in the project area.
The Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project will extend light-rail transit service from the Old Town Transit Center to UCSD campus and surrounding University City. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2015 with full operation to begin in 2018.
“We’re not trying to get to a singular (CRT route) alternative (tonight). We’re trying to say what would be the appropriate two or three alternatives to carry forth into environmental review so that they can be studied and analyzed in more detail,” said Mark Carpenter, consultant with KTU+A, an environmental planning and landscape consulting firm. “Tonight’s objective isn’t to cancel six out of seven and say, ‘That’s the one.’ It’s to say, ‘When you look at all of them, are there two or three that rise to the top and make the most sense to carry forward?’ ”
Transportation planner Chris Carter-ette with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the region’s transportation planning agency, said the CRT is part of SANDAG’s regional bike plan intended to “provide a bicycling environment that is convenient and safe and encourages people to choose to ride a bike in lieu of a private automobile trip.”
After that final workshop, Abi Palaseyed said three or four of the seven prospective CRT alignments will be forwarded sometime early next year for environmental analysis. In the end, he said, a best preferred alternative among the three or four finalist alignments will be chosen.
“We (city staff) will make the recommendation,” said Palaseyed. “But ultimately, the City Council has the choice.”