The Gillespie Field trolley station is on the Green Line in the northwest corner of El Cajon near its namesake, the county-owned Gillespie Field Airport.
That’s part of its problem – aside from the airport, there is nothing around.
“I kind of laughed when I looked on Google Earth,” said Ethan Elkind, one of the authors of a UC Berkeley study released last week that blasted San Diego for failing to develop around its trolley stations – and specifically called out the Gillespie Field station as the single most underdeveloped transit area in the state. “I almost wondered if there was really a station out there or if we got the GPS wrong. It looked like cow pastures.”
Elkind said there were several criteria that transit areas needed to perform well in the study. There needed to be a high number of residents or employees in the surrounding areas who actually relied on public transportation. The station needed to be near amenities, like stores, banks and restaurants. It also needed to encourage walking with features like dense housing, sidewalks and cross-walks. The study also looked at home values, crime rates and any future plans for development in the transit areas.