Planners voted to designate the new station as Balboa/Pacific Beach.
Concerns have been expressed about increased density from residential proposed on the project site. Some are also questioning whether the new station will provide sufficient access for non-motorists into Pacific Beach.
The Balboa Avenue station is one of nine planned for the Mid-Coast Trolley project extending service 11 miles from Santa Fe Depot downtown to University City, ending at UTC and serving major activity centers including Old Town and two UC San Diego stops.
A specific plan for the Balboa station re-designates about 51 acres of commercial land uses to the “community village” classification. That would allow high-density multifamily housing in a mixed-use setting along with commercial, service and civic uses. The plan also calls for identifying multi-modal improvements to increase non-motorized access to the transit site.
“We’re working on four new bridges, three north of Balboa and one south of SR 52,” said Pete D’Ablaing, city senior transportation engineer, at the April 25 meeting. “Then we have to shift track over to start construction on the trolley corridor segment. It will be a huge milestone.”
D’Ablaing said construction on the Balboa trolley segment is scheduled to start in October with project completion expected in late 2021. He added visual footage of the trolley route can be seen on YouTube by inputing Mid-Coast Trolley.
After the meeting, PBPG board member Kristin Victor said she was worried project planning isn’t covering all the bases.
Noting the Mid-Coast extension is a joint project between SANDAG, MTS and the City of San Diego, Victor, said: “There is very little collaboration to ensure safe pedestrian-, bicycle and disabled-access into Pacific Beach. Currently the plan is to direct all non-car centric and car-centric movement down the same path of Balboa/Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive into one of the city’s most traveled intersections and a [dangerous] Vision Zero Corridor into Pacific Beach.”
Addressing the project’s Community Village component, Victor said the impact of increased population density will be "equivalent to a net increase of 6,525 persons at buildout under the adopted Pacific Beach Community Plan, a three-times increase in the population in this area, which the current PB community plan has at 2,75 persons. This will have a huge, long term impact on PB.”
New PBPG board member Carolyn Chase, said, “The trolley station should not open without an underpass being built,” adding, “nobody has ever planned any pedestrian connections.”
Renaming the trolley station was the idea of longtime PB planner Eve Anderson.
Colleague Karl Rand pointed out the future trolley station site is actually “not in Pacific Beach,” adding, “There is no Balboa neighborhood.”
“I’d rather tell [MTS] the name, rather than them tell us,” countered Anderson.
The group vote was 9-3-1 in favor of Anderson’s proposed name change.
PBPG chair Henish Pulickal said he would draft a letter with the suggested new trolley station name and send it off to MTS.