Is Public Transit a viable alternative to I-5 expansion between La Jolla and Oceanside?
By Kyla Calvert // August 4, 2010
SAN DIEGO — CalTrans is holding public meetings to gather input on a proposal to ease congestion on Interstate 5. The project could add up to six lanes to the freeway between La Jolla and Oceanside. Some people at these meetings are asking why there aren’t more plans to develop public transit in the corridor.
People have lots of concerns about the proposal to expand I-5. Homeowners worried about increased noise from new lanes. Environmentalists were asking questions about impacting the seven lagoons in the project area. Labor representatives wanted to know how many local workers the expansion is likely to employ.
There was one thing it seems like everyone wants to talk about, and that’s adding public transportation. But if mass transit is built, will the riders come? The North County Transit District already runs a bus line and the Coaster train parallel to the freeway all along the 27-mile project route.
This year there were about 300,000 more empty seats on the Coaster that drivers could have filled. During the fiscal year that ended June 30 about 1.25 million people rode the Coaster. That was down from about 1.5 million the year before.
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