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Quality of Life

Complaints over rail relocation project shift from Del Mar to Solana Beach

A proposal to re-route train tracks away from the bluffs in Del Mar is getting some pushback from its neighbor, Solana Beach.

Earlier this month, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) announced three route possibilities for the tunneling and relocation of the rail line, labeled Alternatives A, B and C.

Alternative A goes along the fairgrounds and Interstate 5, but begins at the Solana Beach train station.


Alternative B, the straightest route, cuts into the city of Del Mar and has the shortest travel time.

Alternative C has the shortest tunnel, which could mean a cheaper cost.

In the past, SANDAG’s community meetings have mostly been filled with Del Mar residents.

But the one held Tuesday evening had a large turnout from the city of Solana Beach.

"I realized that one of the alternatives would go right through Solana Beach and would impact quite a bit of the life that we live and the centers where we shop, the rails to trails where we walk and run," said Donna Glenn, a Solana Beach resident.

San Diego LOSSAN Rail Realignment project alternatives map. Lines depicting the railway alignments and portal locations to be analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report.
San Diego LOSSAN Rail Realignment project alternatives map. Lines depicting the railway alignments and portal locations to be analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

Tuesday was her first time at a SANDAG meeting.

She said she was disappointed the agency didn’t do more outreach with the city of Solana Beach.

"I don't want Del Mar to be impacted negatively. It's not a them and us situation," Glenn said. "I just hope that maybe we can get more information in Solana Beach so that we can understand the process and and be heard." 

Solana Beach Mayor Lesa Heebner was also at the meeting, and was not happy about the news of Alternative A.

"We have not been notified about this. We found this out a couple of weeks ago," Heebner said. "Our community has not been engaged at all. Our businesses have not been engaged, nor has NCTD (North County Transit District) the transit operators, nor has the fairgrounds. So we really need to have a lot more engagement and find an alternative that works for Del Mar, Solana Beach and the region."

She said Alternative A doesn't pass the common sense test. "It's extremely expensive. It's twice as much as any of the others. It also destroys a lot of infrastructure that the region has already invested in," Heebner said, and also noted it would take the longest to build.

But it was also the route many Del Mar residents urged SANDAG to study in past meetings. Leif Gensert of the public transit advocacy group RideSD said it's interesting how pushback has shifted from city to city.

"Del Mar residents are now very quiet, now it's not going through their city. They had the argument before saying 'It's not the right decision or track,' and then suddenly it is correct only because it doesn't go through their city. And now Solana Beach is acting up," Gensert said.  

Whatever the choice, he said it should include three things: "What we care about is making the train fast, making it reliable, and making it electrified," Gensert said. 

SANDAG is still collecting feedback from the community that could change the routes.

The public has until July 19 to submit their feedback on the project to SANDAG.

Written comments can be mailed to SANDAG, 401 B Street, Suite 800, San Diego, CA 92101, ATTN: Tim Pesce. They can also be emailed, with subject line “SDLRR Project NOP,” to; or submitted online at

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