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News Updates

Railroad Trenching Public Input

On Nov. 20, nearly 100 community members attended a public input workshop with the City of Carlsbad, San Diego Association of Governments and North County Transit District to learn about a project to lower the railroad tracks through the Village and Barrio and provide feedback. An online public input survey is also open until Dec. 13. 

To prepare to fill out the survey and learn more about the project, please watch the SANDAG presentation from the Nov. 20 community input workshop here.

 Train traffic is expected to double through Carlsbad by 2035. To accommodate the increase, SANDAG is planning to build a second set of train tracks through northern Carlsbad. The result would be a continuous 8.6-mile stretch of double tracks with an expected 100 trains traveling through Carlsbad per day. 

Since the railroad crosses through two of Carlsbad’s oldest neighborhoods, the Village and Barrio, the planned expansion of a second set of railroad tracks poses unique challenges to the city.  

In 2014, the Carlsbad City Council made it a city priority to explore lowering the tracks below street level in a trench. A study conducted by the city, SANDAG and the NCTD determined in 2017 that lowering the railroad tracks into a trench is technically feasible and minimizes safety and traffic concerns.  

As SANDAG plans the construction of double tracks and considers trenching the portion through the Village and Barrio, two alternatives are now under consideration: 

  • A short trench running from Carlsbad Boulevard to the north side of Tamarack Avenue
  • A long trench running from Carlsbad Boulevard to the south side of Tamarack Avenue 

Both alternatives would:  

  • Replace the railroad bridge across Buena Vista Lagoon
  • Reconstruct the overpass for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers at Carlsbad Boulevard
  • Create an overpass for pedestrians and bicyclists at Beech Street
  • Create an overpass for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers at Grand Avenue
  • Create an overpass for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers at Carlsbad Village Drive 
  • Create an overpass for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers at Oak Avenue 

Learn more about the differences between the two alternatives here

Lowering the railroad tracks below street level is reported to have a variety of benefits, including: 

  • Improved roadway circulation
    • Eliminates the need to stop at crossing gates multiple times a day, improving traffic circulation for drivers, public safety and first responders
  • Increased car and pedestrian safety
    • Creates a positive barrier separating cars and pedestrians from crossing the tracks
  • Decreased environmental impacts
    • Reduces noise impacts from train horns and eliminates the need for crossing bells
  • Positive economic impacts
    • Considers the value of lives, time saved, walkability and railroad operations 

This project is in the preliminary planning phase. A timeline for final design and construction has not yet been set. 

Next Steps 

  • Public input is encouraged through the online survey until Dec. 13.
  • Carlsbad city staff will review all input from the online survey and the Nov. 20 community input workshop to present to the Carlsbad City Council and other decision makers in spring 2020. 
  • SANDAG is currently preparing an analysis study on the two options for lowering the railroad tracks in a trench.  

More Information 

November 26, 2019