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Green Line Trolley goes downtown Sept. 2

The San Diego Trolley’s Green Line will run through Downtown San Diego past the Convention Center and Petco Park all the way to the 12th and Imperial Transit Center starting Sept. 2, marking a major milestone in the $720 million Trolley Renewal project currently under construction by SANDAG and the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS).

A ceremony was held today 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. The event drew more than 100 participants, including: MTS Chair Harry Mathis, SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, MTS Vice Chair and County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and U.S. Department of Transportation Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers.

“With the Green Line coming downtown, people all over San Diego can now reach the downtown area more conveniently,” Mathis said. “This event also marks about the half-way point in a major reinvestment of our trolley infrastructure, which will bring low-floor cars and modern stations to our entire trolley network.”

With the Green Line extension, riders will enjoy 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.

“The Trolley Renewal project reflects SANDAG’s deep commitment to making transit an attractive alternative to driving alone,” Stocks said. “Not only is this project producing enormous benefits for riders, it also is giving a major boost to the local economy. Overall, Trolley Renewal is expected to create 8,640 jobs directly and indirectly in the region. Many of the contractors currently working on the project are based in San Diego County.”

Trolley Renewal started in fall 2010 and is scheduled to be complete in 2015. The project will bring 65 sleek, 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.

The Blue Line, which has been one of the most successful light rail lines in North America, as well as the Orange Line, will benefit greatly from the renewal project. New shelters, closed circuit television, next-arrival signage, enhanced lighting, and a smoother ride will improve the customer experience. The Blue Line carries up to 75,000, passengers every weekday and the Orange Line adds another 25,000 daily riders.

So far five renovated stations – Civic Center, Convention Center, Gaslamp Quarter, Middletown, and Washington Street – have reopened. All of the Green Line extension stations are expected to be substantially complete by October 2012, and all of the Orange Line stations are expected to be substantially complete by March 2013.

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, commonly known as the federal stimulus package.

Launched in 1981, the Trolley became an immediate success and sparked a resurgence of light rail transit across the nation. Today, the system is 31 years old. Many of its original components are nearing the end of their useful lives. The Trolley cars that are getting replaced have up to 2.5 million miles on them.

Construction requires that some stations be temporarily closed, partially closed, or relocated. MTS provides substitute bus service to and from affected stations as necessary. For information on the Trolley Renewal and station closures, visit sdmts.com/trolleyrenewal.asp or KeepSanDiegoMoving.com. In addition, call the Renewal Hotline at (619) 557-4533, get updates via Twitter at twitter.com/sdmts, and follow the project on Facebook at facebook.com/sdmts.

To learn more about service changes associated with the Green Line extension, visit the sdmts.com.

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or pio@sandag.org.