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Town Hall Envisions A Transit-Oriented Future For El Cajon Boulevard ‘Hub’

A bus pulls up to a stop on El Cajon Boulevard, April 16, 2020.

Photo by Claire Trageser

Above: A bus pulls up to a stop on El Cajon Boulevard, April 16, 2020.

A virtual town hall Thursday night is bringing local politicians, community members and developers together to envision the future of one stretch of El Cajon Boulevard.

The town hall is the third in a series that has helped community members and the business community re-envision parts of the boulevard.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

The previous town hall, in 2019, led to the creation of the El Cajon Boulevard bus rapid transit lane. The temporary lane is an effort to boost mobility for the area, which is shut off from the trolley system.

Tootie Thomas, with the El Cajon Boulevard Improvement Association, which is hosting the event, says Thursday’s gathering will focus specifically on the area between interstates 805 and 15.

“With this town hall, we thought we would use it to reimagine what El Cajon Boulevard would look like in this boulevard central hub, along with our neighbors, to the north, Normal Heights, and to the south, City Heights,” Thomas said.

City planners, land use experts and developers will focus on transportation, the building of accessory dwelling units in residential areas, and business recruitment, after a number of businesses on the boulevard closed down during the pandemic.

“El Cajon Boulevard is the perfect place to put high density development,” Thomas said. “We have the infrastructure here to do it. We want to keep it out of the neighborhoods and the community, but make El Cajon boulevard really a laboratory for TOD.”

RELATED: Mayor Faulconer Marks Completion Of Dedicated Bus Lane Along El Cajon Boulevard

TOD stands for “transit-oriented development,” which land-use expert Mary Lydon says is key for encouraging development, while not displacing communities that have long called the area home.

“Within the 5-mile radius of El Cajon Boulevard is 20% of the city of San Diego’s population,” said Lydon, who will be presenting at the Town Hall. “And El Cajon Boulevard has the potential of creating a transit oriented corridor where all incomes can live, work, and play. That is an overriding design principle of what the El Cajon BIA is trying to catalyze here.”

The new development would be in line with the city’s newly adopted complete communities plan for land use.

The virtual town hall begins at 5:30 p.m. and can be viewed here.

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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