“SANDAG is very pleased to be able to work out a compromise with Protea that serves the needs of future Trolley riders, and satisfies the desires of the community to see a mixed-use development at the Clairemont Drive site,” SANDAG board chair and County Board of Supervisors chair Ron Roberts said.
The Mid-Coast Trolley project will extend the existing Trolley Blue Line by 11 miles. New tracks will run from just north of the Old Town Transit Center along the existing railroad right-of-way and Interstate 5 to UCSD, and then turn east and south on Genesee Avenue to terminate at the Westfield UTC mall. Nine Trolley stations will be built, including one at Clairemont Drive.
Plans for the Mid-Coast Trolley call for building 150 parking spaces at the site off Morena Boulevard between Ingulf Street and Clairemont Drive. Under terms of the settlement, which still must be executed by staff, Protea will set aside a minimum of 150 street-level parking spaces inside a parking garage that will be built as part of a mixed-use development. Protea will maintain the parking spaces for 30 years, after which time it will be maintained at public expense.
For the near future, SANDAG’s contractor will use the property, which is currently vacant, as a laydown yard for Trolley project construction materials.
SANDAG had been pursuing eminent domain action against the previous owner. Protea Properties then acquired the site in September 2016. SANDAG continued to pursue eminent domain, but also negotiated with Protea regarding the company’s development proposal.
The Mid-Coast Trolley represents a $2.1 billion investment to expand the regional transit network. Once built, the extension will allow transit riders to enjoy a one-seat ride (no transfers) from San Ysidro to University City. Planners estimate that the project will result in more than 20,000 new weekday Trolley trips north of Old Town.
Project construction is expected to produce more than 14,000 local jobs. Even after construction is over, the Mid-Coast Trolley will generate an estimated $116 million of economic benefit for the region each year 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 began in October, with service anticipated to start in 2021.