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Business Owners Want Rapid Buses Off Of Broadway

— Rapid buses are sometimes called trolleys on wheels. They move people faster than other buses with fewer stops, often running in dedicated bus lanes. But a plan to run three bus rapid transit lines along Broadway in downtown San Diego is getting some serious resistance of downtown business owners.

Aired 3/23/12 on KPBS News.

Some downtown San Diego business owners say rapid buses running on Broadway will be noisy and smelly and will drive away customers.

Judi Winslow, part owner of the Sofia Hotel, says plans for a rapid bus station on her block of Broadway will force them to close an outdoor dining area.
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Above: Judi Winslow, part owner of the Sofia Hotel, says plans for a rapid bus station on her block of Broadway will force them to close an outdoor dining area.

"I'm actually almost terrified at the prospect of the changes that are going to be made by the installation of a BRT bus station," said Judi Winslow, part-owner of the Sofia Hotel, on Broadway.

Winslow fears the noise, the crowds and traffic the new service will bring to Broadway are going to seriously hurt her business. The Little Italy Association wrote to mayor Jerry Sanders saying the proposed rapid bus lines would destroy the atmosphere of what should be an iconic downtown main street.

But Dave Schumacher, with the planning agency SANDAG, said there's a reason the rapid buses are going to Broadway.

"Broadway is basically the center point for access to the office buildings and job centers," he said.

He said some local bus service will be moved off of Broadway to make room for the rapid buses, and some stations will include curb pop-outs that create more room for pedestrians.

"There will be some pavers in the street," he said, "perhaps some street trees that match the ones on the North Embarcadero.

SANDAG says the rapid bus lines are due to be in service within the next two years. The three lines that will terminate downtown run from Mid City, the South Bay, and the I-15 corridor.

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