By Claire Harlin
The possibility of having limited Coaster Service in Del Mar is on the table, after the City Council on Jan. 23 authorized the city to have North County Transit District (NCTD) look into it.
NCTD has expressed interest in stopping at the Del Mar Train Station on weekends and during special events, and while the community has expressed disinterest in having a local train stop in the past, council members agree it is at least something to look into.
Mayor Carl Hilliard says the issue at hand is not whether this should be done, but if it can be done. Whether the Coaster has the right to stop in Del Mar cannot be determined without authorizing NCTD to look into it.
Sharon Firerobin, a Del Mar resident, reminded the council that the community previously voted against having a train stop in Del Mar.
“It appears as if this is being done for the fairgrounds, and how do we get people from the train station to the fairgrounds? Are we going to have big buses picking them up?” she said.
“Del Mar is really becoming too urban, and this will be adding to the problem,” Firerobin said. “If you are going to move forward with this, you need a new election.”
Filanc said the fairgrounds are not and have never been part of this particular discussion. A different transit platform for the fairgrounds is underway, he said.
“This is more of a way to move people in and out of our city without using cars,” he said. “It’s more green and eco-friendly than having cars come into town and sit idle at our stop signs.”
He added that this is not a decision to move forward, but to have a discussion.
“As residents, we should at least look at it and have a debate,” he said.
Councilman Don Mosier said he supports the resolution because more people riding a train into Del Mar means less traffic in the community.
Hilliard said a recent San Diego Association of Governments quality of life study showed there are more and more people coming to the beach, and the parking situation in Del Mar is getting worse.
“I’m inclined to give it a shot and see what the study says,” Hilliard said.