Trolley Stop Debate Starts

The Metropolitan Transit Development Board and the A.S. Council have narrowed down the 12 original on-campus trolley station location proposals to four, in preparation for the Feb. 22 deadline when only two proposals will remain.

“”The way parking is going to be, we need a way to get [drivers] out of their cars,”” said A.S. President Doc Kaleghi. “”We need something that will serve the entire campus community.””

Currently, the four proposed sites for the extension of the San Diego Trolley are underneath Price Center, in Pepper Canyon and there are two proposals for a station in East Campus. Though each site has its own advantages, Khaleghi has expressed major interest in the building of the Price Center station.

“”I hope the city and the administration get together to recognize that we all need an alternative form of transportation that is as close to the center of campus as possible,”” he said.

Most students believe that this location is the best of the proposed sites, as it would not require a shuttle to get to the center of campus unlike the other sites.

“”It would be so nice just being able to hop on a trolley and having it actually taking me to where I want to go,”” said Revelle junior Scott Simmonds. “”Waiting in line for shuttles and buses would defeat the whole purpose for me because I could easily park my car in East Parking and take the shuttle there.””

Moreover, many say that this site would save them money by not forcing them to buy a parking permit.

“”I think some people would take it depending on how efficient it was,”” said Muir freshman Allison Long. “”It would be convenient and cheap.””

Currently, the San Diego Trolley costs between $1 and $2.25 per ride, although monthly passes are available.

The proposed Price Center site would be located underground, with an entrance in close vicinity of the food court.

By contrast, the other sites would involve students taking a shuttle that would take more time. This extra time may be a strong enough deterrent that students may not use the trolley and may instead encourage them to continue driving.

“”Having to take a shuttle from the parking lot to the center of campus would actually take more time than it would just driving into East Parking and waiting,”” Simmonds said. “”I would be willing to wait for the trolley if it took me where I needed to go, but not for [Pepper Canyon or East Campus].””

Mark Thompson, Senior Transportation Planner for MTDB, said there is still some time before the final location will be decided, and that no such date can be estimated at this time.

However, Khaleghi said the elimination process will continue this week, as he is meeting with Campus Community Planning Commission today to discuss the four suggested sites.

Once the list has been refined to three, UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, in collaboration with MTDB, will narrow down the locations by Feb. 22 to two possible sites, taking into consideration cost, location and convenience to students, among other factors.

The Trolley Board will make the ultimate decision once the university and the administration have approved it.

Even though the location of the trolley station will be decided within the next six months, the UCSD site would not open until October of 2008, according to Thompson.

Students are unhappy over this late date, because putting a trolley on campus was originally proposed 20 years ago, although nothing happened until recently.

“”This is typical government bureaucracy,”” said Muir sophomore Steve Reis. “”It takes years for anything to get done.””

The structure will not be completed until this late date, as the Federal Transit Administration and Congress will only fund one large trolley project within a certain radius at a time. A trolley station is currently being built for San Diego State University near Mission Valley, which will be completed in 2004.

Once this $117 million project is done, construction will begin with the Balboa extension that will include a stop at UCSD on the Orange and Blue line.

The Blue line is a 25.2 mile line that makes 23 stops between Mission Valley and the International Border, while the 21.6 mile Orange line makes 15 stops between Bayside in Centre City and Santee Town Center Station.

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