Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE
San Diego – With the goals of improving regional transit and reducing pollution, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Metropolitan Transit System Chairman Nathan Fletcher and civic leaders celebrated Wednesday the completion of the new Boulevard Bus Way – a three-mile stretch of dedicated bus-only lanes along El Cajon Boulevard that will speed up service and increase usage of a transit corridor that serves over 10,000 passengers daily.
This important commercial and transit corridor – between Park Boulevard and Fairmont Avenue – connects some of San Diego’s oldest urban neighborhoods. The project’s goals are to reduce traffic congestion, increase ridership and slash greenhouse gas emissions.
“San Diego is on a journey to create a cleaner future for folks now and in the future, and the Boulevard Bus Way is the latest example,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We’re slashing greenhouse gas emissions with transportation improvements, increasing mobility options and installing hundreds of miles of new bike lanes. This type of low cost, high-impact infrastructure is how we encourage people to get out of their cars and try public transit.”
The Boulevard Bus Way is a pilot project spearheaded by the City of San Diego, the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association. Over the next 18 months, MTS will evaluate the project for operational benefits, including travel time reliability, visibility and overall ridership. The City will then use this data to determine if a more permanent fixture makes sense for the communities it serves.
“The Boulevard Bus Way is a forward-thinking, faster-moving approach to mobility. It is a great example of how the region needs to think differently about mobility,” said Fletcher, MTS Board Chair and San Diego County Supervisor. “It will help create better transit options for local communities, attract new riders, and build on the great success of the Rapid bus network we’ve been building.”
To celebrate the completion of this long-awaited project, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and MTS are offering free rides on the Rapid 215 from January 8 to January 17. MTS will host a “Morning Coffee with MTS” rider appreciation event from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on January 9 at the corners of 30th and El Cajon Boulevard and 40th and El Cajon Boulevard at the Boulevard Transit Plaza.
Local businesses along El Cajon Boulevard are also offering promotions. Bus riders who show their compass card or Compass Cloud App will receive a 10 percent discount at the following businesses:
- Media Arts Center
- Collins & Coupe
- Bluxom Salon
- Heart & Trotter
- Dojo Café
- Ceramic Heights
- Tiger Tiger
- El Borrego
“The success of the Boulevard Bus Way in San Diego will pave the way for future bus routes to follow suit, improving reliability and providing riders with frequent and efficient service,” said SANDAG Vice-Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “As the regional transportation planning agency, SANDAG is committed to working with our partners to find innovative solutions in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We invite everyone to get out of their cars and try Rapid 215 for free this week.”
The Boulevard Bus Way project is just one of many initiatives implemented by Mayor Faulconer to achieve the targets outlined in San Diego’s landmark Climate Action Plan. The plan calls for eliminating half of all greenhouse gas emissions and using 100 percent renewable energy citywide by 2035.
“Kudos to the city and MTS for showing what is possible to make public transit a better option for families in San Diego, while also helping to reach our Climate Action Plan goals. We are also excited to announce funding from the BQuest Foundation to plant 50 shade trees along the corridor, right in the heart of City Heights. Together, buses, trees and new infill homes help create a model Climate Action Plan corridor on the legendary BLVD,” said Climate Action Campaign Founder and Executive Director Nicole Capretz. “Once we prove the model, we can scale and replicate the model across our city and region. It’s an exciting time.”
As part of the ceremony, the Climate Action Campaign and the BQuest Foundation announced more than 50 shade trees will be donated and planted on El Cajon Boulevard between Interstate 15 and Highland Avenue. The trees were selected from the City’s preferred list of tree species recommended for streetscaping, low water use and canopy potential. By increasing shade and reducing heat, more trees will improve pedestrian activity, cut down on car travel and encourage foot traffic for local businesses.
Here’s what others are saying about the Boulevard Bus Way:
City Council President Georgette Gómez: “The El Cajon Boulevard bus-only lane is an important public transit expansion that will give more San Diegans a real choice in how to get around town. This paves the way for future action to reduce commute times, improve quality of life and address climate change throughout the region.”
Councilmember Chris Ward: “I’m pleased to see San Diego join cities across the country to invest in transportation designs that can improve the overall efficiency of our system. A dedicated transit lane on El Cajon Boulevard could be the start of a neighborhood transit system that decreases travel time and improves overall reliability and ridership, and inform other possible opportunities in the service area. I look forward to the data and analysis from this pilot.”
Tootie Thomas, Executive Director of the El Cajon Business Improvement District: "The Boulevard Bus Way gives us an opportunity to increase transit ridership, decrease wait times, and bring the community together. This all makes for good business on The Boulevard."
Colin Parent, Executive Director and General Counsel for Circulate San Diego: "We are excited to see a new bus-only lane for one of the busiest bus corridors in the region. Making the bus fast and reliable is crucial to attracting new riders and addressing climate change."