San Diego’s trolley service will soon connect the city’s two densest areas, but the expansion’s success depends on flipping development patterns in the communities in between.

For the region’s overall transportation framework, the project accomplishes two major goals.

For one, it creates a much sought-after “single seat” rail trip — one in which a rider sits down once, without needing to transfer — between University City and downtown, San Diego’s two densest areas.

It also extends the trolley’s most-used leg — the blue line, which runs from San Ysidro to downtown. That means connecting the working-class communities north of the border and south of downtown to a major employment center, and to regional resources like UCSD.


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But between the trolley’s new northernmost destination and downtown, the blue line will also serve a number of neighborhoods that aren’t traditional hubs for transit ridership.

And areas with the dense, walkable character that normally stoke transit demand and aren’t currently reached by the trolley — like the beaches and mid-city neighborhoods — will continue to make do with bus services instead.

“The mid-coast trolley extension does not take advantage of smart-growth opportunities in ways that other transit projects have or can,” said Elyse Lowe, executive director of Move San Diego, a public-transit advocacy group that nonetheless supports the project.

♦♦♦

The Mid-Coast Trolley Corridor Transit project will eventually extend trolley service from Old Town to University City, adding 11.2 miles of new rail service and at least eight new stations, including three in neighborhoods just east of I-5 between downtown and La Jolla.

At a projected cost of $1.7 billion, the extension has been part of the region’s transportation vision for decades.

It was part of the county’s first-voter approved initiative to implement a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects, called TransNet, in 1987. One of the few uncompleted projects in that initial list, the mid-coast trolley became a priority when the tax was re-approved in 2004.

Local sales tax funding accounts for half of the project’s projected price tag, as well as operating funds through 2048. The other half is expected to come from a Federal Transit Administration program.

The public comment period on the project’s environmental effects closed July 17. SANDAG, the county’s regional transportation agency, will soon finalize that report before voting to certify it early next year. After final design decisions are made by SANDAG, the county’s regional transportation agency, construction could begin in 2015, and operations could begin in 2018.

♦♦♦

Existing trolley service basically circles the center city area, with extensions spurring east to Santee and south to San Ysidro.

A hypothetical line through the middle of that service area, into neighborhoods like Hillcrest, North Park and City Heights, could attract ridership there by capitalizing on its existing state, Lowe said.

Instead, the blue line extension will in part be judged on its ability to drive a change in land-use decisions near the stations it’ll establish in the suburban neighborhoods between downtown and University City.

That’s a tall order, but SANDAG has said the mid-coast trolley is its best option for extending the city’s existing service.

The extension scores higher on SANDAG’s evaluation scale – which measures how well projects serve regional needs, develop an integrated transit network and promote sustainability – than any other project on the agency’s 40-year plan.

Two other trolley projects on the list – one a new line from Pacific Beach to El Cajon, the other from SDSU to downtown along El Cajon Boulevard – scored much lower, and have higher price tags.

“Those projects fare pretty well, but not as well as this,” said Gary Gallegos, executive director of SANDAG. “People say they love transit, and they want it to go to the beach and other places, but we find those projects are just as controversial. And while I believe when we get to the beach it’ll be a big success, I’m cognizant that it’s not a slam dunk easy route to make happen.”

There are a few factors behind the mid-coast extension’s high evaluation score. For one, it meets the agency’s responsibility to serve lower-income communities. And since ridership on the blue line is already strong, the agency expects healthy ridership.

Also, each of the planned stations sites is included in SANDAG’s smart-growth concept map, a list of 200 countywide sites identified as ripe for sustainable development.

But the sites in between University City and downtown have the potential for dense development; other neighborhoods in the city are already there.

And two of those stops, one at Balboa Avenue and one at Clairemont Drive, fall within Clairemont’s 30-foot height limit.

That’ll affect the prospects for transit-oriented development around those two stations, Lowe said. Normal transit-oriented development standards would call for 60 to 80 housing units per acre near the stations. The height limit will force that down to closer to 20 units per acre, she said.

“If we’re talking in the immediate proximity of the project, yeah it’s going to be really hard… but you want to think of transit-oriented development as a community-based concept,” Lowe said. “So, how is the city going to think of land use in the area, considering whether someone could live there without a car? Is there grocery and retail amenities, or general accommodations like parks and schools?”

A bright spot, she said, is the arrival of the city’s new planning director, Bill Fulton, who built his name advocating for such development.

Mayor Bob Filner’s office did not respond to a request to interview Fulton.

Gallegos said SANDAG is forecasting 20,000 riders per day in the first year of service from the blue line stations north of Old Town.

But in its public comment on the extension’s environmental report, Lowe’s organization raised a concern with the amount of parking SANDAG is planning to provide at the new stations.

She’s worried the organization is looking to boost initial ridership by catering to drivers, even if it’s at the expense of long-term planning decisions.

“If you want to encourage people to live as close to transit as possible, you need to encourage that,” she said. “But they know that with this investment, they will do anything to make the ridership work, even if it means accommodating for the automobile.”

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    This article relates to: Growth and Housing, Height Limit, Infrastructure, Land Use, Mayoral Election Issues 2014, Neighborhood Growth, Neighborhoods, News, Share

    Written by Andrew Keatts

    I'm Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

    47 comments
    Kevin Swanson
    Kevin Swanson

    The "unsafe?" streetcars of 100 years ago ended up running on 156 miles of track, including Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla. The so-called "light rail system" of MTS is trying to solve a 20th century problem created by cars and urban planning based upon cars (and tearing out the streetcar lines in the mid-20th century) with a 19th century solution. Unfortunately for us, they refuse to consider 21st century solutions that include electric buses and automated vehicles. Welcome to San Diego, where the government state of mind is 19th century.

    Kevin Swanson
    Kevin Swanson subscriber

    The "unsafe?" streetcars of 100 years ago ended up running on 156 miles of track, including Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla. The so-called "light rail system" of MTS is trying to solve a 20th century problem created by cars and urban planning based upon cars (and tearing out the streetcar lines in the mid-20th century) with a 19th century solution. Unfortunately for us, they refuse to consider 21st century solutions that include electric buses and automated vehicles. Welcome to San Diego, where the government state of mind is 19th century.

    Richard Ross
    Richard Ross

    This extension was proposed and approved back when Murphy was mayor. One of the most important comments by MTS staff back then was..."it's cheaper to pour more concrete building freeways but maintenwise it is much less expensive to maintain lite rail." So don't widen the I-5 build this trolley extension to University City....it's long overdue.

    Richard Ross
    Richard Ross subscribermember

    This extension was proposed and approved back when Murphy was mayor. One of the most important comments by MTS staff back then was..."it's cheaper to pour more concrete building freeways but maintenwise it is much less expensive to maintain lite rail." So don't widen the I-5 build this trolley extension to University City....it's long overdue.

    San Ateo
    San Ateo

    I definitely agree with some of the people interviewed in the article. Providing transit in already walkable, smart growth focus areas such as Mid-City and PB would be much more useful than bringing the trolley to La Jolla. I'm sure it will be very useful to UCSD students, but I don't imagine many rich La Jolla residents ditching their cars to take transit. Many residents of Mid-City, on the other hand, already use the sub-par transit available to them. Providing light rail through the area would greatly enhance their lives, boost economic value to Mid-City as a whole, and allow for more growth in this area already targeted as a center for transit oriented development. Pacific Beach is a dense walkable area and providing rail to the beach would be a giant plus not only for its residents and traffic congestion, but for the tourism industry as well. If San Diego were smart, they would focus on the trifecta of Mid-City, the beach and the airport. This would put San Diego on par with real cities like New York and Chicago where it is possible to live and visit without an automobile.

    Augmented Ballot
    Augmented Ballot

    Nice work. Can't underline enough Ms. Lowe's comments about not designing the trolley to cater to drivers. This is the essential weakness of our existing trolley system: with some exceptions, it doesn't take you to places, it takes you to parking lots near places. The station siting for the mid-coast trolley -- again, with one or two exceptions -- makes the same fatal mistake. It makes transit second class and separate from the city. You don't arrive at your destination, you arrive at a parking lot to be traversed. This is late in the game, but -- putting aside the route and basic siting -- the precise siting of the mid-coast stations really needs to change.

    Augmented Ballot
    Augmented Ballot subscriber

    Nice work. Can't underline enough Ms. Lowe's comments about not designing the trolley to cater to drivers. This is the essential weakness of our existing trolley system: with some exceptions, it doesn't take you to places, it takes you to parking lots near places. The station siting for the mid-coast trolley -- again, with one or two exceptions -- makes the same fatal mistake. It makes transit second class and separate from the city. You don't arrive at your destination, you arrive at a parking lot to be traversed. This is late in the game, but -- putting aside the route and basic siting -- the precise siting of the mid-coast stations really needs to change.

    Don Wood
    Don Wood

    In the early 1990s, I served on the City of San Diego task force that wrote the city's first Transit Oriented Development ordinances. Our consultant was urban planner Peter Calthorpe, who is often credited with coining the term "smart growth". During all our discussions it was agreed that smart growth will work only if it results in reduced sprawl development, and if the existing neighborhoods where TODs are considered were brought up to current city standards for things like streets, traffic, sewerage and parks. Unfortunately, we don't have smart growth in San Diego. We have stupid growth, for two reasons. The county is the local agency with zoning jurisdiction over most of the sprawl development we continue to see in the region, and has no intentions of slowing down sprawl development just because the cities are approving zoning changes to accommodate proposed infill development projects. And the cities are not requiring would be infill developers to contribute to upgrading existing neighborhood infrastructure to meet current city standards. Instead they are giving away upzones in a manner which is generating lots of opposition from the residents of those existing neighborhoods. While SANDAG talks a good "smart growth" game, when anyone points out that the county is still encouraging sprawl, the SANDAG leaders just note that while SANDAG may be the voter designated regional planning organization, it has no zoning powers and thus can't tell the county of any of the cities to amend their zoning practices. Thus we have ongoing sprawl development plus infill development that further degrade our existing neighborhoods: Stupid growth.

    Don Wood
    Don Wood subscriber

    In the early 1990s, I served on the City of San Diego task force that wrote the city's first Transit Oriented Development ordinances. Our consultant was urban planner Peter Calthorpe, who is often credited with coining the term "smart growth". During all our discussions it was agreed that smart growth will work only if it results in reduced sprawl development, and if the existing neighborhoods where TODs are considered were brought up to current city standards for things like streets, traffic, sewerage and parks. Unfortunately, we don't have smart growth in San Diego. We have stupid growth, for two reasons. The county is the local agency with zoning jurisdiction over most of the sprawl development we continue to see in the region, and has no intentions of slowing down sprawl development just because the cities are approving zoning changes to accommodate proposed infill development projects. And the cities are not requiring would be infill developers to contribute to upgrading existing neighborhood infrastructure to meet current city standards. Instead they are giving away upzones in a manner which is generating lots of opposition from the residents of those existing neighborhoods. While SANDAG talks a good "smart growth" game, when anyone points out that the county is still encouraging sprawl, the SANDAG leaders just note that while SANDAG may be the voter designated regional planning organization, it has no zoning powers and thus can't tell the county of any of the cities to amend their zoning practices. Thus we have ongoing sprawl development plus infill development that further degrade our existing neighborhoods: Stupid growth.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw

    Just wondering......How much money might be freed up for local transit projects if we killed the California High Speed Rail project and immediately disbanded the High Speed Rail Authority? This ridiculous boondoggle taints all transit projects in the minds of many in the public and will waste billions on a rail line that will never be completed because it simply isn’t needed. What’s needed is to deal with traffic congestion, largely to and from work traffic, WITHIN major metropolitan areas, not between them. We already have the latter covered by a revolutionary new development......airlines.

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    Just wondering......How much money might be freed up for local transit projects if we killed the California High Speed Rail project and immediately disbanded the High Speed Rail Authority? This ridiculous boondoggle taints all transit projects in the minds of many in the public and will waste billions on a rail line that will never be completed because it simply isn’t needed. What’s needed is to deal with traffic congestion, largely to and from work traffic, WITHIN major metropolitan areas, not between them. We already have the latter covered by a revolutionary new development......airlines.

    paul jamason
    paul jamason

    Excellent article. While I'd like to see new trolley lines serving additional higher-density San Diego neighborhoods, the financial challenges of putting them there are difficult. An additional funding source for these projects beyond SANDAG is the US DOT TIGER grant program, currently proposed for elimination by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. For reference, SANDAG public transit project costs are shown in the "Draft Transit Evaluation Ranking" section (page 168 in my pdf reader) from the 2050 RTP Urban Area Transit Strategy Appendix link below.

    paul jamason
    paul jamason subscribermember

    Excellent article. While I'd like to see new trolley lines serving additional higher-density San Diego neighborhoods, the financial challenges of putting them there are difficult. An additional funding source for these projects beyond SANDAG is the US DOT TIGER grant program, currently proposed for elimination by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. For reference, SANDAG public transit project costs are shown in the "Draft Transit Evaluation Ranking" section (page 168 in my pdf reader) from the 2050 RTP Urban Area Transit Strategy Appendix link below.

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin

    Andrew. Do you know How sure this is? "The other half is expected to come from a Federal Transit Administration program." If not thats a big gap and a huge potencial unfunded liability.

    Andrew Keatts
    Andrew Keatts

    Hi Mark. It isn't certain until it happens, obviously, but it's a pretty good bet. The FTA gave a preliminary approval for engineering and related expenses about two years ago, which was taken at the time as a basic approval of the project.

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin subscribermember

    Andrew. Do you know How sure this is? "The other half is expected to come from a Federal Transit Administration program." If not thats a big gap and a huge potencial unfunded liability.

    Andrew Keatts
    Andrew Keatts author

    Hi Mark. It isn't certain until it happens, obviously, but it's a pretty good bet. The FTA gave a preliminary approval for engineering and related expenses about two years ago, which was taken at the time as a basic approval of the project.

    San Ateo
    San Ateo

    I definitely agree with some of the people interviewed in the article. Providing transit in already walkable, smart growth focus areas such as Mid-City and PB would be much more useful than bringing the trolley to La Jolla. I'm sure it will be very useful to UCSD students, but I don't imagine many rich La Jolla residents ditching their cars to take transit. Many residents of Mid-City, on the other hand, already use the sub-par transit available to them. Providing light rail through the area would greatly enhance their lives, boost economic value to Mid-City as a whole, and allow for more growth in this area already targeted as a center for transit oriented development. Pacific Beach is a dense walkable area and providing rail to the beach would be a giant plus not only for its residents and traffic congestion, but for the tourism industry as well. If San Diego were smart, they would focus on the trifecta of Mid-City, the beach and the airport. This would put San Diego on par with real cities like New York and Chicago where it is possible to live and visit without an automobile.

    Joshua Brant
    Joshua Brant

    There is one reason and one reason alone that the Mid-Coast extension didn't go through the high density area of PB where it would have served more people: Cost. It was VASTLY less expensive to build a trolley along the freeway than through a densely populated area. But, the trade off is tremendous. This extension plan should have ponied up and done it right. Instead of going straight north along the I-5 they could have used a route closer to the coast and served 1) Seaworld - one of San Diego's most well know destinations/atractions 2) The Beach - one of San Diego's most well known destinations/attractions 3) People in Pacific Beach - another one of San Diego's more densely populated areas (PB also has younger demographics, so more likely riders.) Instead they were penny wise and pound foolish. Instead of adding a well placed line to University City, they just put A line to University City and squandered a great opportunity in order to do it the cheap way.

    Joshua Brant
    Joshua Brant subscriber

    There is one reason and one reason alone that the Mid-Coast extension didn't go through the high density area of PB where it would have served more people: Cost. It was VASTLY less expensive to build a trolley along the freeway than through a densely populated area. But, the trade off is tremendous. This extension plan should have ponied up and done it right. Instead of going straight north along the I-5 they could have used a route closer to the coast and served 1) Seaworld - one of San Diego's most well know destinations/atractions 2) The Beach - one of San Diego's most well known destinations/attractions 3) People in Pacific Beach - another one of San Diego's more densely populated areas (PB also has younger demographics, so more likely riders.) Instead they were penny wise and pound foolish. Instead of adding a well placed line to University City, they just put A line to University City and squandered a great opportunity in order to do it the cheap way.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Stop heavily subsidized public transportation if you really want to pay attention to economics and lower the cost of living here for the average joe.

    Richard Ross
    Richard Ross

    Public transit enables those low paid workers to get to their jobs also with those who don't want to fill our atmosphere with vehicle exhaust fumes.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    If we get rid of the TransNet half cent sales tax, then we'll need to find another way to pay for our freeways.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    Derek, the report has no local granularity and addresses only federal highway spending. It's apples and oranges. I don't believe in subsidies, which is why we need to stop diverting road based taxes to mass transit, as the report points out a substantial amount of federal highway tax is diverted to mass transit, that needs to stop. Collect enough road tax to pay for the roads. Also we need to stop subsidizing the DOT unions with gas tax, roads should all be bid out with no public employees beyond what is needed for an open bidding process and enforcement of contract. We spend twice as much as we need to on roads, which is why gas tax alone doesn't cover it. As far as trolleys being .31 a mile, I doubt that is the true cost, in 2012 budget SDMTS overall recorded a $213 million dollar operating loss, they would basically need to almost triple ticket prices with no loss in riders to break even, and this is after hundreds of millions in unrecovered sunk costs to set the system up. There is no need for the people who will never even get near a bus or trolley to subsidize this benefit. Price tickets so mass transit breaks even and isn't a burden on those who do not use it. Roads are a necessity, busses and trolleys are not.

    Joshua Brant
    Joshua Brant

    One thought for you Jim, have you considered the fact that light rail and other public transportation is actually a big benefit to those that drive to work, truckers, and others using our roads and freeways? Look at the BART strike in the Bay Area. The traffic was horrendous during the strike. Public transportation helps to alleviate congestion on our roadways.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    @Jim Jones "Collect enough road tax to pay for the roads." Be careful what you wish for! "For example, in Houston, the 15 miles of SH 99 from I-10 to US 290 will cost $1 billion to build and maintain over its lifetime, while only generating $162 million in gas taxes. That gives a tax gap ratio of .16, which means that the real gas tax rate people would need to pay on this segment of road to completely pay for it would be $2.22 per gallon." http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008264.html Are you ready for $6 per gallon gasoline?Worldchanging | Evaluation + Tools + Best Practices: Do Gas Taxes Cover the Costs of Roads?http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008264.htmlAn online magazine covering tools, models, and ideas for building a better future.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    "[E]ven if [fuel tax] funds were fully devoted to highways, total user fee revenue accounted for only 65 percent of all funds set aside for highways in 2007." http://www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2013/Subsidyscope.org%20%E2%80%94%20Transportation%20Sector.pdf So eliminating the TransNet half cent sales tax would free up some money for highways, but that still leaves a 35% gap between what drivers pay and what highways cost. Would you prefer a higher gas tax, more tolls, or both? In any case, when drivers start paying the full cost of the highways, it will naturally increase demand for alternatives, allowing the price of mass transit to rise and become more cost-effective.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    @Jim Jones "That report is only concerned with federal highway spending, not local..." The report includes "revenue generated by income, sales and property taxes, as well as bond issues." That means it includes local spending. @Jim Jones "those that don't drive still owe their life to the highways, because they transport food and goods necessary for survival" Earlier you were opposing subsidies. Are you now supporting them? Anyway, the truck drivers who bring "food and goods necessary for survival" pay road taxes. That means people who don't drive already pay for the roads, so there's no need for the sales tax to pay for them again. @Jim Jones "We need roads" I agree. Why can't they pay for themselves? @Jim Jones "we don't need trolleys, people can take cabs instead." The San Diego Trolley costs 31 cents per passenger mile to operate, while cabs are around $5.00 per mile and contribute to traffic congestion. If taxpayers need to provide transportation for the poor, I think we should choose the 31 cent option that keeps the roads clear.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    That report is only concerned with federal highway spending, not local, apples and oranges, but even then you leave out that point, those that don't drive still owe their life to the highways, because they transport food and goods necessary for survival, especially to the high density urban centers that have no local production. Trolleys don't ship goods, they don't carry patients, they don't transport law enforcement or fire fighters. We need roads, they benefit everyone, we don't need trolleys, people can take cabs instead.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones

    The elimination of the huge mass transit subsidies will free up a lot of money. Make the trolley, coaster and busses revenue neutral, so rider fees cover the cost. Right now the car drivers are paying for mass transit they don't use.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Stop heavily subsidized public transportation if you really want to pay attention to economics and lower the cost of living here for the average joe.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    That report is only concerned with federal highway spending, not local, apples and oranges, but even then you leave out that point, those that don't drive still owe their life to the highways, because they transport food and goods necessary for survival, especially to the high density urban centers that have no local production. Trolleys don't ship goods, they don't carry patients, they don't transport law enforcement or fire fighters. We need roads, they benefit everyone, we don't need trolleys, people can take cabs instead.

    Richard Ross
    Richard Ross subscribermember

    Public transit enables those low paid workers to get to their jobs also with those who don't want to fill our atmosphere with vehicle exhaust fumes.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    Derek, the report has no local granularity and addresses only federal highway spending. It's apples and oranges. I don't believe in subsidies, which is why we need to stop diverting road based taxes to mass transit, as the report points out a substantial amount of federal highway tax is diverted to mass transit, that needs to stop. Collect enough road tax to pay for the roads. Also we need to stop subsidizing the DOT unions with gas tax, roads should all be bid out with no public employees beyond what is needed for an open bidding process and enforcement of contract. We spend twice as much as we need to on roads, which is why gas tax alone doesn't cover it. As far as trolleys being .31 a mile, I doubt that is the true cost, in 2012 budget SDMTS overall recorded a $213 million dollar operating loss, they would basically need to almost triple ticket prices with no loss in riders to break even, and this is after hundreds of millions in unrecovered sunk costs to set the system up. There is no need for the people who will never even get near a bus or trolley to subsidize this benefit. Price tickets so mass transit breaks even and isn't a burden on those who do not use it. Roads are a necessity, busses and trolleys are not.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    @Jim Jones "Collect enough road tax to pay for the roads." Be careful what you wish for! "For example, in Houston, the 15 miles of SH 99 from I-10 to US 290 will cost $1 billion to build and maintain over its lifetime, while only generating $162 million in gas taxes. That gives a tax gap ratio of .16, which means that the real gas tax rate people would need to pay on this segment of road to completely pay for it would be $2.22 per gallon." http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008264.html Are you ready for $6 per gallon gasoline?Worldchanging | Evaluation + Tools + Best Practices: Do Gas Taxes Cover the Costs of Roads?http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008264.htmlAn online magazine covering tools, models, and ideas for building a better future.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    "[E]ven if [fuel tax] funds were fully devoted to highways, total user fee revenue accounted for only 65 percent of all funds set aside for highways in 2007." http://www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2013/Subsidyscope.org — Transportation Sector.pdf So eliminating the TransNet half cent sales tax would free up some money for highways, but that still leaves a 35% gap between what drivers pay and what highways cost. Would you prefer a higher gas tax, more tolls, or both? In any case, when drivers start paying the full cost of the highways, it will naturally increase demand for alternatives, allowing the price of mass transit to rise and become more cost-effective.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    If we get rid of the TransNet half cent sales tax, then we'll need to find another way to pay for our freeways.

    Jim Jones
    Jim Jones subscriber

    The elimination of the huge mass transit subsidies will free up a lot of money. Make the trolley, coaster and busses revenue neutral, so rider fees cover the cost. Right now the car drivers are paying for mass transit they don't use.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    @Jim Jones "That report is only concerned with federal highway spending, not local..." The report includes "revenue generated by income, sales and property taxes, as well as bond issues." That means it includes local spending. @Jim Jones "those that don't drive still owe their life to the highways, because they transport food and goods necessary for survival" Earlier you were opposing subsidies. Are you now supporting them? Anyway, the truck drivers who bring "food and goods necessary for survival" pay road taxes. That means people who don't drive already pay for the roads, so there's no need for the sales tax to pay for them again. @Jim Jones "We need roads" I agree. Why can't they pay for themselves? @Jim Jones "we don't need trolleys, people can take cabs instead." The San Diego Trolley costs 31 cents per passenger mile to operate, while cabs are around $5.00 per mile and contribute to traffic congestion. If taxpayers need to provide transportation for the poor, I think we should choose the 31 cent option that keeps the roads clear.

    Joshua Brant
    Joshua Brant subscriber

    One thought for you Jim, have you considered the fact that light rail and other public transportation is actually a big benefit to those that drive to work, truckers, and others using our roads and freeways? Look at the BART strike in the Bay Area. The traffic was horrendous during the strike. Public transportation helps to alleviate congestion on our roadways.

    David Kissling
    David Kissling

    SANDAG is making a mistake if they claim that trolley service to Pacific Beach is best served by a line that runs to Clairemont and Kearny Mesa, before heading south to join the existing Green Line at Qualcomm Stadium and continuing on to El Cajon. In fact the best solution for PB would be a spur off of the Mid-Coast corridor running down Grand Avenue all the way to the ocean, since PB is both a major destination and a walkable neighborhood that would be ripe for transit oriented development. Clairemont and Kearny Mesa are not destinations like PB, and lack the interconnected street grid that facilitates walkable, non-automobile transportation. These factors are what brings down the score, not the lack of ridership in the densest, most congested part of the corridor. I'm glad that people like Elyse Lowe is advocating for less parking and more development at new stations. We need less of a park-and-ride mentality to transit, and instead build transit so that it allows people to live car-free or car-lite. The measure of success will be when new housing can be built with less than 1 parking spot per unit, making housing in San Diego more affordable.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    Sea World needs a spur, too. Maybe it could be looped into the PB spur.

    David Kissling
    David Kissling subscriber

    SANDAG is making a mistake if they claim that trolley service to Pacific Beach is best served by a line that runs to Clairemont and Kearny Mesa, before heading south to join the existing Green Line at Qualcomm Stadium and continuing on to El Cajon. In fact the best solution for PB would be a spur off of the Mid-Coast corridor running down Grand Avenue all the way to the ocean, since PB is both a major destination and a walkable neighborhood that would be ripe for transit oriented development. Clairemont and Kearny Mesa are not destinations like PB, and lack the interconnected street grid that facilitates walkable, non-automobile transportation. These factors are what brings down the score, not the lack of ridership in the densest, most congested part of the corridor. I'm glad that people like Elyse Lowe is advocating for less parking and more development at new stations. We need less of a park-and-ride mentality to transit, and instead build transit so that it allows people to live car-free or car-lite. The measure of success will be when new housing can be built with less than 1 parking spot per unit, making housing in San Diego more affordable.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    Sea World needs a spur, too. Maybe it could be looped into the PB spur.

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann

    If ridership is important, SANDAG needs to get out of the "one price fits all" mentality that plagued Communism (don't we learn from history anymore?), and start pricing trips according to distance. Someone taking the trolley just to the next station to go grocery shopping should pay less than someone taking it from end to end to attend a convention. As a side benefit, this would help keep crime out of nice neighborhoods because criminals would have to pay extra to get there. Regarding parking, anyone familiar with basic economics well enough to read a demand curve knows that you can prevent shortages (of parking or anything else) by allowing the price to rise to whatever people are able and willing to pay, like an auction. This means SANDAG doesn't have to build a lot of parking at the transit stations. This would save taxpayers money and allow our communities to become more walkable and more resistant to blight, because empty parking lots turn into crime-attracting dead zones after dark. It would also provide a revenue source to offset each station's cost to taxpayers, while overcharging nobody (because do you complain about the price when you win an auction?). Maybe it would be worth the cost to taxpayers to pay the tuition to send all of SANDAG to a community college to retake Economics 101.Demand curvehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demand_curveIn economics, the demand curve is the graph depicting the relationship between the price of a certain commodity and the amount of it that consumers are willing and able to purchase at that given price. It is a graphic representation of a demand sched...

    Derek Hofmann
    Derek Hofmann subscribermember

    If ridership is important, SANDAG needs to get out of the "one price fits all" mentality that plagued Communism (don't we learn from history anymore?), and start pricing trips according to distance. Someone taking the trolley just to the next station to go grocery shopping should pay less than someone taking it from end to end to attend a convention. As a side benefit, this would help keep crime out of nice neighborhoods because criminals would have to pay extra to get there. Regarding parking, anyone familiar with basic economics well enough to read a demand curve knows that you can prevent shortages (of parking or anything else) by allowing the price to rise to whatever people are able and willing to pay, like an auction. This means SANDAG doesn't have to build a lot of parking at the transit stations. This would save taxpayers money and allow our communities to become more walkable and more resistant to blight, because empty parking lots turn into crime-attracting dead zones after dark. It would also provide a revenue source to offset each station's cost to taxpayers, while overcharging nobody (because do you complain about the price when you win an auction?). Maybe it would be worth the cost to taxpayers to pay the tuition to send all of SANDAG to a community college to retake Economics 101.Demand curvehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demand_curveIn economics, the demand curve is the graph depicting the relationship between the price of a certain commodity and the amount of it that consumers are willing and able to purchase at that given price. It is a graphic representation of a demand sched...