The Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project will extend light rail service from the Santa Fe Depot in Downtown San Diego 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 will be funded in partnership by SANDAG (utilizing the TransNet half-cent sales tax) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts program.
The Trolley extension project and 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 Gilman Drive, then crosses to the west side of I-5 just south of Nobel Drive and continues on to serve the UCSD campus, crosses back over I-5 near Voigt Drive to the UCSD east campus medical centers on the east side of I-5, transitions into the median of Genesee Avenue, continues down Genesee Avenue to the Westfield UTC transit center (see map).
Eight stations are proposed as part of the project at Tecolote Road, Clairemont Drive, Balboa Avenue, Nobel Drive, Pepper Canyon (serving UCSD west campus), Voigt Drive (serving UCSD east campus), Executive Drive and the Terminus Station (at the Westfield UTC transit center). A station at the VA Medical Center also is included as an option in the project’s environmental document.
The project will connect corridor residents with other Trolley lines serving Mission Valley, East County and South County. As an extension of the existing 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. This new service will enhance direct public access to other regional activity centers and improve travel options to employment, education, medical, and retail centers for corridor residents, commuters, and visitors.
Freeways and arterials in the Mid-Coast Corridor are generally congested and traffic congestion is projected to increase as the region grows. Population in the entire corridor is forecasted to increase 19 percent and employment is forecasted to increase 12 percent by the year 2030. The Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project will expand transportation capacity in the corridor to accommodate existing and future travel demand, particularly for peak period commute trips. The project will provide an effective alternative to congested freeways and roadways for travelers and will reduce vehicle miles traveled.