Lowering The Train Tracks

The lowering of the train tracks in Carlsbad has been discussed for years, and it looks like it’s going to happen.  The number of trains is expected to DOUBLE to 100 PER DAY!

The Carlsbad City Council received an update from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) on a future project to potentially lower the railroad tracks in Carlsbad’s downtown railroad corridor.

In anticipation of train traffic doubling through Carlsbad by 2035, a second set of train tracks will need to be built alongside the existing tracks. The city is exploring the alternative of lowering the future double tracks beneath the existing street elevations through the Village and Barrio areas in Northern Carlsbad.

The City of Carlsbad, SANDAG and North County Transit District completed a study in 2017, determining that lowering the railroad tracks in a trench, beneath the existing street elevations, is technically feasible and has economic benefit. Two alternatives are now under evaluation: short trench and long trench alternatives.

Both alternatives would lower the double railroad tracks beginning from the Buena Vista Lagoon in the City of Oceanside, require replacement of the Carlsbad Boulevard overcrossing with a new bridge spanning the tracks and replace the railroad bridge across Buena Vista Lagoon.

The short trench alternative, which spans 6,000 feet, would construct vehicle overpasses at Grand Avenue, Carlsbad Village Drive, and Oak Avenue, with pedestrian overpasses at Beech Avenue/Carlsbad Village Station and Chestnut Avenue.

The long trench alternative spans 8,400 feet to include vehicle overpasses at Grand Avenue, Carlsbad Village Drive, Oak Avenue, Chestnut Avenue and Tamarack Avenue, with a pedestrian overpass at Beech Avenue/Carlsbad Village Station.

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

Next Steps

SANDAG is currently preparing an analysis study on the two options for lowering the railroad tracks in a trench. A draft report is estimated to be completed in fall 2019, at which point public input will be sought on the short trench and long trench alternatives.

Link to article @ City of Carlsbad website

Life Sciences in Carlsbad

Carlsbad’s high quality of life and rich pool of skilled workers are attracting cutting-edge life sciences companies from other industry hubs.

Carlsbad is an important part of the San Diego region’s top life sciences cluster, said Joseph Jackson, co-founder of Bio, Tech and Beyond, a science and technology incubator that leases lab space to a variety of startup tenants.

“It is one of the better managed cities in the region,” Jackson said. “That is why it keeps attracting blue chip and innovation companies.”

The city has worked hard to make Carlsbad a welcoming place for life science companies and the high-paying jobs they create, said Jackson, who came to Carlsbad from Silicon Valley in 2013. The city leased Jackson a 6,000-square-foot building on Faraday Avenue to serve as a start-up incubator.

Since then, tenants at Bio, Tech and Beyond have created more than 200 new jobs, Jackson said. The incubator has helped make Carlsbad one of the pillars of the San Diego region’s life sciences industry.

A new biotech company

One of the new arrivals to Carlsbad’s life sciences community is Lineage Cell Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company that develops novel cellular therapies.

The company manufactures retina cells to help people with macular degeneration, said CEO Brian Culley. It also manufactures cells to promote recoveries from debilitating spinal cord injuries.

It was Culley who pushed for the move to Carlsbad as a cost-saving measure. A North San Diego County resident, he had no desire to relocate. The affordability of leased space and the close proximity to other top life science companies enabled him to make a compelling case for moving to Carlsbad.

Lineage Cell Therapeutics’ Salk Avenue office currently houses 10 employees. It relocated from Alameda in the San Francisco Bay Area, although the company continues to employ people there as well as in Israel, Culley said. He described the Carlsbad office as “the heart and brain” of the company.

“It was really easy to find an ideal space for our needs,” he said.

Another bonus was finding that labor costs in Carlsbad are much more affordable than in the pricey San Francisco Bay Area. Culley said his Carlsbad employees appreciate the lighter traffic and the local work-life balance. A soccer player, he said he already has connected with other local enthusiasts. One of the places he likes to play is Aviara Community Park.

“It’s a delightful community,” he said. “It provides everything you need.”

The power of microchips

In a garage in South Carlsbad, Ana and Octavian Florescu have started a company that seeks to use the power of microchips to run analytical blood tests.

In Diagnostics is housed in their garage, but the couple also leases a lab bench from Bio, Tech and Beyond to have access to additional equipment. Their goal is to develop quick and inexpensive tests for monitoring patient wellness. The couple has raised $3 million to bring their technology to market. Their prototype will start with veterinary tests.

Octavian is a former microchip designer for Qualcomm who earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. He and Ana launched their business last year, after moving to Carlsbad from the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We chose Carlsbad specifically because the work-life balance seems to be really good,” Octavian said. “We had a baby in May of 2018 and our second son two weeks ago. Carlsbad is one of the most family-friendly places we have seen.”

The couple enjoys the coastal lifestyle – Octavian is a surfer and likes the convenience of living a short drive from the beach.

Now preparing to expand their business, the couple plans to lease 5,300 square feet of space near McClellan-Palomar Airport, beginning in 2020. They also plan to begin hiring between five and 10 people.

“We’re excited to grow our team and look forward to connecting with local talent,” Ana said. “We’re also very interested in connecting with local veterinarians interested in testing out our prototype.”

The collaborative nature of this thriving coastal community is yet another attraction to life science companies. As the region continues to thrive as a booming innovation center, Carlsbad will contribute to the ecosystem’s growth by attracting and growing both large and small cutting-edge companies.


Bye Bye Smokestack

Carlsbad has been put on notice – the NRG smokestack is coming down!

The big question is what will go up in its place, and it should be the next big fight among locals.  It’s probably a toss up between a mixed-use hotel development and a public park – but not a Nordstrom!

Will the removal of the ugly and dangerous-looking smokestack improve nearby home values?

There are two neighborhoods that could benefit – Spyglass/Heron Bay and Terramar:

The Spyglass/Heron Bay neighborhoods up on the hill have had the smokestack blocking their view since the beginning, and it would be a welcome relief for those homeowners to see it go.  When I was trying to sell the former model, the view of the ‘stack was the #1 complaint, and we never did sell the house.

This is what it looked like – it does spoil the sunset view, doesn’t it?

The other community affected is Terramar, which is across the street from the plant and has been there just about as long – both date back to the 1950s.

When I’ve had listings in Terramar, there were always comments at open houses about the ugly factor, and concerns that pollutants were being released that would kill people.  But because Terramar is ocean-close, there were always enough beachlovers who were willing to overlook any negativity about the plant.

Terramar has been under-priced for a few years now, primarily due to the lack of turnover and off-market sales.  The last sale on El Arbol was only $1,104,000 for 1,644sf on a 7,500sf lot, which if it were further north in the Garfield area it would have garnered at least 10% more.  The east side of El Arbol does get a direct shot of railroad, but the RR goes by Garfield too.

I think both areas could see a +10% benefit in nearby home values once the smokestack is gone, just for the happy factor – it will be a relief to see it go, and be one less thing for buyers to worry about!

Shulman Exhibition

Architectural photographer Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009) shot over 200 projects in San Diego.

His clients were architects, publishers, construction companies, and developers, and included notable San Diego architects Lloyd Ruocco, Sim Bruce Richards, Henry Hester, and Frederick Liebhardt. Shulman’s work, spanning seven decades, documented the region’s evolving 20th century architectural landscape, and he played an instrumental role in sharing California’s unique post-War modernism with a wide audience.

This exhibition presents selected photographs from Julius Shulman’s projects in La Jolla, represented in both vintage and contemporary prints, and ephemera that contextualize this historically significant work.

Date And Time

Fri, September 27, 2019

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM PDT


La Jolla Historical Society

780 Prospect Street

La Jolla , CA 92037

Free Show – Register Here

40th Annual Wavecrest Woodie Meet

The largest wooden-bodied car show in the country is underway! Hat tip Nancy.

This is it …… Wavecrest, the granddaddy of all woodie meets.

At Moonlight Beach at the end of Encinitas Blvd in Encinitas, CA you will experience the longest running and largest gathering of woodies in the world. Woodies begin arriving in the wee hours and by 8:00 am there are around 300 woodies of every size, shape, description on display. Throughout the day there is Hawaiian and surf music performed live, along with fabulous raffle prizes and awards for the best of the best. Wavecrest merchandise and food will be available at the event.

Friday Sept 20 Sundowner at Moonlight Beach 4:00p to 7:00p

Sat Sept 21 at Moonlight Beach 8:00a to 7:00p for Breakfast, Concerts, Sunset Dinner, Prizes and Auction.

Sunday Sept 22 8:00a Woodies Cruise Hwy 101, meet at Encinitas Civic Center.

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