|Transit Board Backs UCSD, UTC Trolley Stops - April 21, 2010|
By Steve Schmidt, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 11:40 a.m.
SAN DIEGO — San Diego transit officials on Thursday backed a trolley extension that would provide direct service to UCSD, Scripps Memorial Hospital and University Towne Centre.
The Metropolitan Transit System board unanimously endorsed the 11-mile route, labeled "Alternative 1" by planners, calling it the best choice among three possible paths that would run north from Old Town and into the La Jolla area.
"Virtually every group that we have met with has endorsed (this route)," said county Supervisor Ron Roberts, a member of the transit board. "There is an almost unheard-of consensus for this."
Several MTS officials said administrators at the University of California San Diego favor the route because it would likely attract the most students. University officials have been looking for ways to ease the traffic crunch on campus through the use of shuttle buses and other alternative transportation.
The trolley extension to San Diego State University -- opened in 2005 -- has proved popular among students, MTS officials say. The eastern stretch of the Green Line, which includes an underground stop at SDSU, carries about 21,000 passengers daily.
The MTS endorsement comes as the San Diego Association of Governments gathers public feedback on possible routes for the planned Mid-Coast trolley extension. The regional planning agency is hosting several meetings on the issue this month.
SANDAG is planning the extension; MTS would operate it.
Association officials are expected to pick among the three proposed routes in coming weeks and launch a year-long study on the project's environmental impact. Roberts said the route could be in operation by 2015.
SANDAG plans to use federal grant money and revenue from a local, voter-approved sales tax, known as TransNet, to pay for the project. TransNet funds would also cover operating costs.