The Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project will extend the Trolley Blue Line service from the Santa Fe Depot in Downtown San Diego north to the University City community, serving major activity centers such as Old Town, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and Westfield UTC.
The proposed project would be funded in partnership by SANDAG and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The Trolley extension route – known as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) – was approved by the SANDAG Board in July 2010. It begins just north of the Old Town Transit Center and travels in existing railroad right-of-way and alongside Interstate 5 to serve UCSD and University City. The extension will serve nine new stations: Tecolote Road, Clairemont Drive, Balboa Avenue, Nobel Drive, VA Medical Center, Pepper Canyon (serving UCSD west campus), Voigt Drive (serving UCSD east campus), Executive Drive, and the terminus station at the Westfield UTC transit center.
Freeways and arterials in the Mid-Coast corridor are generally congested, and traffic congestion is projected to increase as the region grows. By 2030, population in the corridor is forecast to increase 19 percent and employment is expected to increase by 12 percent. The University City area has developed as a major employment and high-density residential area, similar to Downtown San Diego. University City is San Diego’s second downtown, and UCSD is one of the region’s largest trip generators; however, neither is served directly by regional transit services.
The Mid-Coast Trolley extension will provide an effective alternative to congested freeways and roadways for travelers, improve public transit services, and enhance travel options by connecting the corridor with areas served by the existing Trolley system.
The current project budget is $1.7 billion, exclusive of financing costs. The project budget will be updated for inclusion in the project’s environmental document, called the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIS/SEIR). It will be updated again during preliminary engineering, prior to entering final design in the FTA New
In May 2014, the SANDAG Board of Directors adopted updates to the project. SANDAG staff are currently working on responding to comments submitted on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIS/SEIR) and the supplement to this document that evaluated impacts to San Diego fairy shrimp, a federally listed endangered species. Comments and responses will be included in the Final SEIS/SEIR, which is anticipated to be released in late 2014.
The Mid-Coast Trolley extension has been identified as a high-priority project by SANDAG and is part of the TransNet Early Action Program. TransNet will provide a 50 percent local match to federal funding, which SANDAG is seeking through the New Starts program. TransNet also will provide operating funds for the Mid-Coast Trolley extension through the year 2048.
The Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project is the agency’s highest-priority transit project. It will improve access to growing employment, education, and residential areas. A Trolley extension is particularly well-suited to the corridor because:
- It connects with the existing regional rail system at the Old Town Transit Center and Downtown San Diego at Santa Fe Depot, providing a vast improvement to mobility within the region.
- As an extension of the existing Trolley Blue Line, it will offer a one-seat (no transfer) ride from the international border and communities south of Downtown San Diego all the way to University City.
- It will connect residents of the corridor with major activity centers such as UCSD, UTC, Old Town, and Downtown San Diego.