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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis September 7, 2012
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San Diego MTS Extends Green Line Through Downtown

The San Diego Trolley introduced Green Line service through downtown San Diego—past the San Diego Convention Center and Petco Park to the 12th and Imperial Transit Center—on Sept. 2. The Green Line previously terminated at the Old Town Transit Center.

In advance of the opening, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) held a dedication ceremony Aug. 30 at the renovated Gaslamp Quarter Trolley Station. Participants included San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders; MTS Chair Harry Mathis; SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks; MTS Vice Chair and County Supervisor Ron Roberts; and Leslie Rogers, FTA Region 9 administrator.

The opening of the Green Line extension marks a major milestone in the $720 million Trolley Renewal project currently under construction by MTS and SANDAG. The project began in fall 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

“With the Green Line coming downtown, people all over San Diego can now reach the downtown area more conveniently,” Mathis said.“This event also marks about the halfway point in a major reinvestment of our trolley infrastructure, which will bring low floor cars and modern stations to our entire trolley network.”

The extension provides direct service from Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa, San Diego State University, and Mission Valley to downtown San Diego without the need to transfer. Trips through downtown will be six minutes faster than before for people who transfer to and from the Green Line at 12th and Imperial, and trips from Euclid Avenue to Old Town will be nine minutes faster. Trips from Mission Valley to Petco Park/Gaslamp Quarter will be 12 minutes faster, with two transfers eliminated.

“The Trolley Renewal project reflects SANDAG’s deep commitment to making transit an attractive alternative to driving alone,” said Stocks. “Not only is this project producing enormous benefits for riders, it also is giving a major boost to the local economy. Overall, Trolley Renewal is expected to create 8,640 jobs directly and indirectly in the region. Many of the contractors currently working on the project are based in San Diego County.”

The project will add 65 low floor trolley cars to the trolley fleet, providing nearly level boarding and eliminating the need for mechanical lifts. The San Diego Trolley already operates 11 low floor vehicles. The new vehicles will enter Orange Line service in spring 2013 and Blue Line service in summer 2014.

The system-wide overhaul also includes raising 35 station platforms to accommodate the low floor vehicles; replacing outdated rail and overhead wires; and improving street crossings, switching, and signaling. New shelters, closed circuit television, next-arrival signage, enhanced lighting, and a smoother ride will improve the customer experience on the Blue and Orange lines. In addition, the project will expand freight capacity between downtown San Diego and the border area.

So far, MTS has renovated and reopened five stations: Civic Center, Convention Center, Gaslamp Quarter, Middletown, and Washington Street. All stations on the Green Line extension are expected to be substantially complete by October 2012, followed by all Orange Line stations in March 2013.

Funding for Trolley Renewal comes from a variety of sources including TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation; California Proposition 1B and 1A bond money; and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.


Welcoming the San Diego Trolley’s Green Line extension through downtown San Diego are, from left, Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer, San Diego MTS; San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders; FTA Region 9 Administrator Leslie Rogers; and SANDAG Chair Jerome Stocks. 

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