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San Diego’s Green Line Will Finally Arrive Downtown In September

— The San Diego transit authority (MTS) plans to connect its Green trolley line to downtown this coming September, ending years of traveler frustration.

Aired 4/30/12 on KPBS News.

A major revamp of the trolley system will bring the Green Line downtown and the Blue Line, eventually, to UC San Diego.

A San Diego trolley.
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Above: A San Diego trolley.

Opening the Green Line in 2005 connected the trolley system to San Diego State and created new connections to East County. But it also made it more difficult to get downtown, from Mission Valley, because its wheelchair-accessible cars couldn't use downtown platforms.

The inconvenience of switching trains at Old Town has discouraged a lot of potential transit users. But MTS chief Paul Jablonski said by the end of the summer all center-city platforms will be rebuilt, and Green-Line passengers will finally get a one-seat ride downtown.

"We'll extend that Green Line though Old Town and through Santa Fe Depot and then along the bayside corridor," he said, "and then it'll terminate right here at Imperial on the bayside platform."

Extending the Green Line, on existing track, is part of a major revamp of the trolley system. That includes buying 57 new low-floor trolley cars, which board wheelchairs much more quickly. Buying the new cars also means phasing out the old cars with the familiar padded bench chairs, in favor of seating more similar to what's on a bus.

"The old cushioned seats, they are kind of nice," said Jablonski. "But they are kind of a maintenance headache."

As it extends the Green Line downtown, the MTS will temporarily terminate the Blue Line, from the border, downtown. Eventually, the Blue Line will go all the way to UCSD. Jablonski said construction of the Mid-Coast Line extension should begin in two years.

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