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On Friday, members of San Diego Association of Governments' (SANDAG) Transportation Committee received an update on the Mid-City Rapid Bus project, a $44 million dollar project to implement rapid bus service from San Diego State University along El Cajon Boulevard to Downtown. The new bus line will have fewer stops, new bus stations, synchronized traffic signals along El Cajon Boulevard, and a dedicated bus lane on Park Avenue in University Heights.

Committee members were informed that the agency was awaiting final approval from the City and expects to issue bids for construction sometime in April.

Also mentioned in staff's status report were changes made to the project in response to concerns from the community, which included relocating two bus stations on El Cajon Boulevard, and reducing the width of the sidewalk on Park Boulevard for additional parking.

Councilmember Todd Gloria, an outspoken supporter of mass transit, commended staff for their hard work. "[The Mid-City Rapid Bus] is a big step for Mid-City and I appreciate that staff worked so hard to accommodate the community's concerns."

But the so-called accommodations don't far enough for many residents living on Park Boulevard. They say the dedicated bus lane and inadequate parking along Park Boulevard will impact local businesses. And they worry about traffic on already busy roads after Polk Avenue is closed. Because of these concerns, the Hillcrest Town Council, North Park Planning Group, and Uptown Planners opposed the project.

"The project is wasteful and foolish. The businesses and Hillcrest residents will suffer just because SANDAG rushed to spend Transnet Funds before they disappeared," says Hillcrest resident Richard Rachel, an outspoken critic of the project. "There was no public input and when the public did begin to voice concerns, neither SANDAG or councilmember Gloria were listening."

In a previous statement, Councilmember Gloria's office acknowledged the community's concerns but said the project will take the community one step closer to other mass-transit projects such as introducing a streetcar.

"Councilmember Gloria continues to advocate for projects like streetcars to be funded sooner than highway projects," said Gloria's spokesperson in a May 2011 statement. "The Mid-City Rapid Bus project will preserve this precious right-of-way to ensure the desired streetcar project can be realized."

Rachel disagrees. "Not only will this project hurt local businesses and endanger the senior citizens living in senior housing on Park Boulevard, it will be a barrier, a wall, cutting Hillcrest off from North Park."

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Comments

Dennis Feb. 18, 2012 @ 3:58 p.m.

Does SANDAG think students live downtown & go to SDSU? Why does every bus in the city run through downtown? I see busses going into SDSU every day with only one or two people on the bus. There are whole sections of the city that do not have any bus service within a reasonable distance of where they live, why not serve them instead? Most SDSU students wouldn't be caught dead riding the bus!

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NorthParkGemini Feb. 25, 2012 @ 10:21 a.m.

Todd Gloria is an idiot! After the very people he is supposed to be representing said no to this he is pushing it through anyway. Why is the word representative used if he's not representing. I don't know who he's in bed with downtown or at SDSU but neither of those places are his district! Those are the people he needs to be concerned with. I say, vote the idiot out!!!

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gfjmcginnis Feb. 25, 2012 @ 10:46 a.m.

Exactly what community concerns were addressed? When the signs taped to the lamp posts with duct tape, maybe intentionally looking like yard sale signs so people would ignore them, at Park & Polk went up the wording made it clear that the project was going forward and that the intersection was going to be closed to through traffic and at the end announced a community meeting at a time when most people are working or commuting. That is how our community was informed of this atrocious waste of tax dollars. The project serves no useful or legitimate purpose other than to put more money into the pockets of contractors to work on projects that are not needed or wanted. This new bus lane only takes minutes off the trip the bus that now takes that route uses. They would be better off changing the existing route or increasing the frequency of busses with the busses leapfrogging the bus stops to half the number of stops it makes while still providing service to the entire route. That would save more time and would not cost millions of dollars. I believe Todd Gloria is just a mouth piece for the companies that will get the construction contracts rather than of a representative of the people in his district. That money would be better spent fixing the broken sidewalks all over this area of north park, fixing the street light on Alabama Street between Lincoln and Polk that has not worked in over 5 years and I have reported numerous times. As it is the only street light on the entire block we have a very dark block. There are palm trees with dead palm fronds growing over the power lines on Polk between Georgia and Florida Streets; one of the trees on that hill has grown leaning into one of the power line poles. That has also been reported and I got a response from street maintenance saying that they don't consider it an emergency like the brush that was overgrowing the sidewalk on the other side of the street. There are so many more useful and urgent things that need to be done in this area, adding a dangerous lane is not one of them. Perhaps Todd Gloria should actually tour the neighborhood before he decides what projects to support in the name of his constituents.

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historymatters June 14, 2012 @ 11:08 p.m.

This is about 1 thing....getting public transit down Park BLVD SO that CEQA is now eliminated and developers can have their way w/ anything w/in a half mile radius and Todd (professional liar) Gloria knows it.

Whatever you do don't post any concerns on his Council facebook page or he will block you like he did me....

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