marking a major milestone in the $720-million Trolley Renewal project currently under construction by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS).
A ceremony was held at the newly renovated Gaslamp Quarter Trolley Station to celebrate the extension of the Green Line, which currently terminates at the Old Town Transit Center.
With the Green Line extension, riders will have direct service from Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa, San Diego State University and Mission Valley to Downtown San Diego without the need to transfer. Trips through downtown will be six minutes faster for people who transfer to and from the Green Line at 12th and Imperial and trips from Euclid Avenue to Old Town will be nine minutes faster. Trips from Mission Valley to Petco Park/Gaslamp Quarter will be 12 minutes faster, with two transfers eliminated.
Trolley Renewal started in fall 2010 and is scheduled to be complete in 2015. The project will bring 65 low-floor trolley cars to the region, improving access for all riders. The new vehicles provide nearly level boarding, so time-consuming mechanical lifts will no longer be needed.
Combined with 11 low-floor cars already in the MTS fleet, the trolley system will eventually have 76 low-floor cars. The new vehicles will be added to the Orange Line in spring 2013 and to the Blue Line in summer 2014. The ultimate result will be faster boarding for all passengers and improved on-time performance.
The system-wide overhaul also includes raising 35 station platforms to accommodate the low-floor vehicles, replacing outdated rail and overhead wires and improving street crossings, switching and signaling. In addition, the project will expand freight capacity between Downtown San Diego and the border area.
Trolley Renewal is funded by a variety of sources, including TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation; California Proposition 1B and 1A bond money and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.