Get on Board SANDAG’s New Transit Center Vision

by on January 28, 2019 · 1 comment

in San Diego

Gretchen Newsom was at SANDAG when her op-ed piece broke, and she wrote in a twitter: “discussing airport connectivity at @SANDAG right now!”

By Gretchen Newsom and Brigette Browing / San Diego Union-Tribune / Jan. 25, 2019

Hasan Ikhrata knew what he was getting himself into when he accepted the job as the San Diego Association of Governments’ (SANDAG) new executive director. As San Diego County’s regional planning agency, SANDAG is charged with mapping out and funding transportation projects throughout the county.

But the agency became so dysfunctional that in 2017 the state Legislature intervened to increase transparency in SANDAG’s operations and ensure that decisions were made to best serve the needs of the majority of area residents.

The new and improved SANDAG — under Ikharata’s leadership — now has a chance to make a game-changing investment in the future of our region. If we build a “San Diego County Grand Central” transit hub near the airport, our region may finally break out of the gridlock (both political and literal) that has dogged San Diego County for decades.

SANDAG has been studying the need for improved transit for years. As far back as 2009, the agency released a study known as “Destination Lindbergh” that clearly spelled out the benefits of creating an intermodal transit hub adjacent to the airport. Such a hub would serve as the keystone for a truly functional transit system that would serve residents throughout San Diego County, allow for rapid train travel throughout the county and to Los Angeles and, at long last, create a reasonable alternative to car-based transportation for our region.

Ikharata’s San Diego Grand Central would allow riders to connect at the airport from trolleys, buses and Amtrak trains, including the regional Coaster and Sprinter lines as well as lines run all the way up to San Luis Obispo along the LOSSAN rail corridor. He envisions a future in which passengers could board commuter trains every five to 10 minutes, which would be a massive improvement over the current twice-an-hour schedule.

Most working people require a car to get from home to jobs because our current transit system is woefully deficient.

For the balance of the article.

Newsom is well known in OB as she was the president of the OB Town Council for years; she’s now the  political director at IBEW 569, a local labor union representing 3,400 power professionals and electricians in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Browning is president of Unite Here Local 30 and a native San Diegan.

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Avatar Geoff Page January 29, 2019 at 11:34 am

I traveled all over Mexico and parts of Central America and I did almost all of it on buses. Mexico has a three-tier bus system, first, second, and third class. Depending on how much you wanted spend, you could get a bus anywhere and anytime. Transit centers and rails are fine but if there is no good bus system to get people to them, they will rely on cars. Transit money needs to be spent on transit more than anything else. If people know they can rely on timely buses that go everywhere and often, they will use them. This system should include bus-only lanes on the freeways too. I think a system is needed before a big transit hub.

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