LA JOLLA–Several thousand people Saturday attended the Mid-Coast Trolley groundbreaking and community celebration held on the field at The Preuss School UCSD near the future Voigt Drive Trolley station.
Dignitaries who participated in the event included Congressman Scott Peters, Congresswoman Susan Davis, UC San Diego Vice Chancellor Gary Matthews, Federal Transit Administration Region 9 Deputy Regional Administrator Edward Carranza Jr., and Metropolitan Transit System Chair Harry Mathis.
Attendees enjoyed a free community picnic on the grass while learning about the upcoming construction of the region’s largest public transit project.
The $2.1-billion Mid-Coast Trolley project will extend the existing Blue Line by 11 miles north of Old Town, adding nine new stations serving Mission Bay Park, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, the VA Medical Center, UC San Diego, business clusters along Genesee Avenue, and the Westfield UTC mall. Once the extension is built, transit riders will enjoy a one-seat ride (no transfers) from San Ysidro to University City. Planners estimate that the project will attract more than 20,000 new Trolley trips every weekday north of Old Town.
“This is the largest transit project that we ever had in San Diego county,” said SANDAG Chair and San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chair Ron Roberts.
“Tens of thousands of people are going to benefit from this project, as it will give them the option to leave their car home and take the trolley to work, school, shop or to visit one of the many medical facilities.”
Congressman Scott Peters called the Mid-Coast Trolley project “a milestone in our region.” He added, “A new stop at the VA Center gives veterans another transportation option for traveling to and from their medical appointments.”
Rose Colangelo, a nurse at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, and Franklin Hang, Preuss School senior class president, spoke at the event about what the Trolley extension means to them, and how it will help improve their quality of life.
“I know I speak for the entire medical community when I say that the extended Trolley service from Old Town will bring an important and welcome convenience for physicians, staff, our patients, and their families and visitors,” Colangelo said.
Construction of the Trolley extension is expected to produce more than 14,000 local jobs. Even after construction is over, the Mid-Coast Trolley will have an estimated $116 million annual economic impact on the region by taking cars off the road, reducing parking needs, and increasing access to jobs. The Mid-Coast corridor supports more than 325,000 jobs. The two ends of the route – Downtown San Diego and University City – account for nearly half of that total.
Pre-construction activities to clear the way for the project – primarily the relocation of underground and overhead utilities – started in early 2016. Primary construction will begin this month, with service anticipated to start in 2021.