San Diego Trolley Blue Line Expansion Hits University City
Drilling commenced in University City recently for the expansion project of San Diego’s trolley service. Funded by SANDAG and the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Program, the expansion project is called the Mid-Coast Trolley Project.
An eleven-mile extension of the San Diego Trolley Blue Line will serve Westfield UTC shopping center, Old Town, and UC San Diego, running from Downtown San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot to the University City area. The trolley will travel in an existing railroad right-of-way alongside I-5. Once completed, the project will appear as one similar in Mission Valley — as a bridge going over traffic.
10 News reported the above-ground trolley will be supported by columns and circumvent traffic by running over it, surpassing the congestion of the area.
By 2030, the Mid-Coast Corridor population is expected to increase by 19 percent, with employment increasing by 12 percent. The Mid-Coast Trolley will alleviate future travel demand, particularly during peak period commutes by expanding transportation capacity in the corridor. Not only will the trolley be effective in that sense, but will also help reduce vehicle miles traveled. The project will connect with the Mission Valley, East County, and South County lines.
SANDAG Director of Rail John Haggerty has overseen the Mid-Coast Trolley Project for years. He told 10 News, “this is one of the areas that has a significant amount of congestion. We’ll be able to move people in and out of the area without impacting the flow of traffic on the street. It will be a vital transportation link in this area, now, but more importantly in the future.”
To have construction move as smoothly as possible for those who live and work in the area, SANDAG crews created an expansion of Genesee Avenue. But with a project of this size, inconveniences for drivers is unavoidable.
In response to that, Haggerty noted that “it will be disruptive; it’s a significant project, but we’re doing everything in our power right now to make sure that we keep traffic flowing that we keep access to businesses and that we keep people doing what they do on a normal basis.”
Drive times are expected to be reduced as street congestion is relieved once the project is complete. The bridge is being built to be earthquake resistant and to last for about a century.
The project began in the fall of 2016 and is expected to have its first run of service in 2021.