Councilmember Chris Ward, who backed the plan in its early stages alongside Council president Georgette Gomez, praised Faulconer for making what has always been a community priority into a city priority.
“Improving ridership and transit efficiency is a necessary solution to meet our climate action goals and make transit a smarter, more viable option for all San Diegans,” Ward said in a statement.
The pilot program would use a solid eight-inch line to designate lane-three of traffic on each side of the major roadway for buses only. Since the pilot program is only a temporary measure, the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) will evaluate whether the paint and signage work as well as looking at signal prioritization in order to improve travel time reliability.
The dedicated bus lane will extend from Park Boulevard to Fairmount Avenue, with the eventual goal of extending to San Diego State University.
This affects Rapid 215 and Route 1, which together carry 10,000 passengers per day. The goal of a bus-only lane would be to speed up their commutes as well as to expand bus service to even more people.
Unlike other projects like the recently passed protected bike lane along 30th Street that take out coveted parking spaces, the move to bus rapid transit (BRT) is receiving widespread community support. The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association (ECB-BIA) was the main proponent of it through their Blvd. 20/20 Plan, which cast a new vision of the Mid-City corridor that runs through University Heights, North Park, Kensington, Talmadge and City Heights.
At public forums held by the business association, a top concern among neighbors is making the road more walkable. The corridor currently has one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths in the city. With cars forced to drive in only two lanes, the proponents of the pilot program say this will reduce their speeds and create a safer environment for pedestrians. Businesses also think the change will improve their outcomes.