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Public Review Set To Begin For San Diego Trolley Extension Project

Above: A San Diego trolley.

Aired 5/16/13 on KPBS News.

A project to extend the San Diego Trolley to the University City community is taking another step forward. SANDAG is scheduled on Friday to kick off the public review and comment period and a draft environmental report.

A project to extend the San Diego Trolley to the University City community is taking another step forward.

SANDAG

The Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project will extend Trolley service to the University City community, serving major activity centers such as Old Town, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and Westfield UTC.

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is scheduled on Friday to kick off the public review and comment period and a draft environmental report for the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project .

The $1.7 billion, 11-mile project will extend trolley service from Old Town, up along Interstate 5 to the UTC area and UCSD.

Eight new stations are proposed along the route, including Tecolote Road, Clairemont Drive, Balboa Avenue, Nobel Drive, Pepper Canyon (UCSD west campus), Voigt Drive (UCSD east campus), Executive Drive, and the terminus station at Westfield UTC Transit Center. A potential ninth station at the VA Medical Center also is being studied.

The new route will connect trolley lines in Mission Valley, East County, and South County, and will offer a ride from the international border all the way to University City.

SANDAG Executive Director Gary Gallegos said the project is needed because the population along the corridor is predicted to increase 19 percent by 2030, and it will bring people to where the jobs are.

"This particular extension is important in that it connects two of the biggest job centers of San Diego –- both downtown San Diego and the UTC area -- and connects them with the rest of the light rail system, said Gallegos. “Therefore, provides San Diegans some access to these job centers, to the medical centers that exist at UTC, to the universities."

The proposed project is being funded in partnership by SANDAG (utilizing the TransNet half-cent sales tax) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts Program. Construction is expected to begin in 2015, with service starting in 2018.

SANDAG is hosting five public workshops in June at locations throughout the Mid-Coast Corridor.

Comments

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 16, 2013 at 9:06 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

I have never had a good experience on the trolley. It seems like the majority of riders are schizophrenic, homeless, drug addicts, or gang members I would definitely not let my children ride the trolley without me. Even I get nervous when a psychotic looking man is on the trolley talking to himself and looking around with wild eyes.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | May 16, 2013 at 9:50 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

This is a neat idea, but I would prefer to spend 100 times the amount to build high speed rail infrastructure all throughout San Diego, which could connect to the new high speed rail to San Francisco. Not.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 16, 2013 at 12:14 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

While I'm in favor of expanding to UTC/UCSD, I find it absurd and unacceptable that there are no plans to link downtown with uptown.

A line up the Park Boulevard Corridor that would link the densest areas in our urban core - Downtown with North Park/Hillcrest area.

Parking is so bad in both downtown and uptown that people who live in Hillcrest and want to visit downtown or vice-versa would use this often.

Also, connecting Balboa Park and the zoo with downtown where most major hotels are located would seem like a basic route.

It's ridiculous that we will have the trolley going all the way from the border up to La Jolla, but you still won't be able to jump on it to go from downtown up to the museums/Zoo/Balboa Park/Hillcrest/North Park areas.

Shame on you SANDAG for keeping our urban core so fragmented and detached!!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 16, 2013 at 12:21 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Yes, Alex, HSR is sooooo evil.

Let's let nations like China invest in infrastructure and mass transit and prepare for the future while we in the U.S.A. stay on the "cutting-edge" by building more roads so people can sit in traffic longer even into the future when other nations will have already solved many of their transport problems. Not.

Do you work for SANDAG by chance? You seem to have the same pro-car, anti-anything else sentiment that they do (I also read your posts in the article about bike lanes).

Are you not at all concerned we are falling behind what were once considered poor, traffic-clogged cities?

Delhi and Bangkok are two examples.

Known for decades for their unruly traffic, both have invested in infrastructure (BKK's sky train and Delhi's Metro).

Today, it's easier to get around Delhi and Bangkok than it is Los Angeles or San Diego.

Is that something you enjoy seeing? Seeing our cities fall behind the 3rd world?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 16, 2013 at 2:41 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

I also think the high speed rail is an unbelievably idiotic idea. I am not pro-car, I am pro-airplane that will cost passengers less and be 5x faster than the rail. No one will use the rail.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 16, 2013 at 3:20 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

JeanMarc, what are you basing this on?

I think you are incorrect.

Flying is a big hassle, and it's not worth it for short flights.

First off, I think an SD--> LA route would do very well. Unless it's for a connection, it's impractical to fly such a short distance from SD to LA. And driving is an absolute nightmare due to the traffic in both cities. It can takes upwards of 5 hours during peak rush-hour times.

And as for SF - the amount of time and money you spend getting to the airport, waiting at the airport, going through security, dealing with delays, etc., etc., is hardly worth a 45 minute flight.

Being able to jump on a reliable HSR would be much more convenient.

And let's remember infrastructure pays for itself over the LONG TERM - meaning decades.

Infrastructure should not be looked at as a quick-profit scheme.

It's a long-term investment.

People who are short-sighted and only see the initial hurdles and costs don't comprehend the benefits to future generations. Either that or they simply don't care because they don't think they will be around by the time it's benefitting our state. Either way it's pretty short-sighted thinking.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | May 16, 2013 at 3:40 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Hi Peking_Duck_SD, I do not work for SANDAG.
"I find it absurd and unacceptable that there are no plans to link downtown with uptown.
A line up the Park Boulevard Corridor that would link the densest areas in our urban core - Downtown with North Park/Hillcrest area."
I personally don't want my tax dollars paying for something like that, so I find it perfectly acceptable. Don't we already have a great bus line that runs that route? I believe it is easy for you to go anywhere you want from Hillcrest using public transportation.
I can get most places I need to on my electric scooter, and as dangerous as that may be, I feel safer on that than on the trolley. JeanMarc's description of the majority of trolley riders is spot on.
As for the "other nations", yes, lets let them overspend on infrastructure that could well be obsolete in the future. I am not concerned with keeping up with the third world Joneses, I am concerned with being forward thinking and choosing wisely what we invest in now. I cannot reconcile preparing for the future with creating extensive, expensive, permanent mass transit infrastructure. Do you think that in the future, as population increases, we will have more and more people who need to drive to physical locations to work or shop? It seems more likely to me that more and more people will be working remotely and shopping online. Companies will move in this direction to save money on renting physical office space, etc., and/or employees will demand it if they are fed up with wasting a portion of their lives in a commute. Unless you believe the internet will go away in the future... Additionally, we were supposed to be like the Jetsons by now with little personal flying cars, so I would expect that to come in the near future (kidding).

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Avatar for user 'jstech'

jstech | May 16, 2013 at 11:23 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

"overspend on infrastructure that could well be obsolete in the future" <-- Have you seen gas prices lately? Do you think they're going to drop again? Ever? Our giant freeways will be obsolete long before rail.

You joke about flying cars, but self-driving cars are on the horizon, and they will require far less road space, since computers will be far better drivers than humans.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 17, 2013 at 9:38 a.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago

Alex, the difference between my comments regard a downtown --> Hillcrest/Balboa Park line is that I was not proposing this because it would be convenient for me personally.

It would benefit our city collectively, if not you personally.

It is fact that Balboa Park contains many of our prime tourist locations, and also fact that many hotels tourists stay at are downtown.

Linking them both via the trolley is smart urban planning.

When you go on vacation somewhere, do you want to take the bus?

I stand by my comments - it's absurd. Absurd that SANDAG is building these far-flung routes that go all the way to the border and out to El Cajon when our urban core is left with a fragmented, insufficient mass transit system.

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Avatar for user 'radiofree'

radiofree | May 19, 2013 at 4:01 p.m. ― 1 year, 2 months ago


Riding the train is so much easier and more comfortable than air travel. And when you reach your destination, you just walk out of the train station and you are there. When I travel by plane, I normally spend much more time getting to the airport early and trying to get from the airport to my final destination.

Good public transportation makes even more sense for a city like San Diego that promotes tourism. The Coaster and the trolley are two of San Diego's best and most undervalued attractions.

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