San Diego, CA–Leaders from the SANDAG Board of Directors gathered at the future Balboa Avenue Transit Center in support of the draft 2021 Regional Plan, encouraging residents to participate in the public review of the proposed plan before a vote of the SANDAG Board later this year.
The draft 2021 Regional Plan will enhance the quality of life in our region by making our transportation system faster, fairer, and cleaner:
Faster by optimizing traffic flow through implementing the interdependent 5 Big Moves
Fairer by improving social equity with expanded transportation options and job opportunities for historically underserved communities
Cleaner by meeting state and federal requirements related to climate change and clean air, investing in greener transportation options, and helping to implement local climate action plans and housing goals
“This is a transformational plan in that it is completely different from our previous and old plan, and it focused on the things that are really important,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear at Thursday’s press conference. “We have three main themes that we’re working around, and that is faster, fairer, and cleaner. And all of those together create what is a more resilient and prosperous region.”
Chair Blakespear cited SANDAG’s data-driven approach to developing the 2021 Regional Plan. This approach included extensive community outreach and the use of SANDAG’s Activity Based Model, which assesses different transportation scenarios and allows SANDAG to evaluate the impacts of various policies and programs. This reliable, data-driven system has been thoroughly developed, with integrity checks performed through an independent peer-review process.
“This Regional Plan, excitingly, can be a blueprint for thousands of good-paying local jobs that will allow folks to live in San Diego and provide for themselves and for their families. This can help us connect working- and middle-class people to quality jobs in every corner of the region,” said SANDAG Vice Chair and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “It can help us reduce carbon emissions. It can help us improve local roads, because nobody likes potholes, and this plan can deliver far fewer. It can help us address traffic on our freeways. And for the first time ever, offer safe, affordable, and realistic alternatives to driving.”
Vice Chair Gloria made the comments outside the future Balboa Avenue Transit Center, one of nine new stations that will be served by the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley when the Mid-Coast extension opens this fall. When completed, this project will provide for the first time a direct transit connection between the U.S./Mexico Border and the University community, with stops at popular destinations including Old Town, UC San Diego, and University Towne Centre.
“People in the San Diego region deserve a world class transportation network that makes all of our lives better,” said National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, Second-Vice Chair of the SANDAG board. “So many of us have fought for a comprehensive, equitable system that addresses traffic, protects our environment, and expands access for all. And I am very proud to say that SANDAG – this plan, the 2021 Regional Plan – has put this idea forward.”
Second-Vice Chair Sotelo-Solis spoke about how the South County will benefit from the draft 2021 Regional Plan. It would create managed lanes and frequent rail service to connect people in South Bay to Sorrento Valley, currently one of the most congested freeway corridors in the region. The draft Plan also outlines construction of the future Otay Mesa East Port of Entry at the U.S./Mexico border, which will help provide reliable and predictable crossings with an average wait time goal of 20 minutes.
Major benefits of the draft 2021 Regional Plan include:
Expanding convenient and reliable transit throughout the region by tripling the number of people within a half mile of transit, with even larger increases among people of color, seniors, and low-income individuals
Addressing traffic congestion by making more efficient use of the road and highway system through managed lanes and other strategies
Improving local roads and safety with investments that enhance local infrastructure and increase protections for pedestrian and cyclists
Reducing carbon pollution and improving air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions per person by 19%
Equitably increasing access to jobs and education with faster and closer transit connections that allow more people to arrive at higher education destinations and major employment centers within 30 minutes
The SANDAG Board of Directors is slated to discuss the draft 2021 Regional Plan at its virtual meeting on May 28 at 9 a.m.