Pilot Program for Dedicated Bus Lane on El Cajon Boulevard Moving Forward
SAN DIEGO – Earlier this year, the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association (ECB-BIA) unveiled its “Blvd. 20/20 Plan,” a new vision for the mid-city corridor that runs through the communities of University Heights, North Park, Normal Heights, Kensington, Talmadge and City Heights. Now, a key component of the plan, a new dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) lane along a key stretch of the Boulevard, is one step closer to becoming a reality following a recommendation to proceed with a pilot program from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
On Jan. 24, two days after the ECB-BIA presented its Blvd. 20/20 Plan at its annual meeting, Council President Georgette Gomez (District 9) and Councilmember Chris Ward (District 3), issued a memorandum to Mayor Faulconer supporting the dedicated bus lane effort and requesting that the City’s Transportation Engineering Operations (TEO) staff work with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to study the feasibility of a bus-only lane in each direction, maximize signal prioritization operations, and prepare cost estimates and work plans for re-striping and additional signage for the pilot program.
On May 8, a memorandum was released by the City with three potential project options for evaluation and consideration: (1) a full bus-only red lane, queue bypass lanes and a bus-only lane line pilot project.
The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association and MTS strongly support the bus-only lane line pilot project, which would involve painting a solid eight-inch line to identify the number-three lane of traffic as “bus-only” on a temporary basis, in order for MTS to evaluate if the treatment provides operational benefits, such as travel time reliability, along the corridor. The lane could also potentially be shared by both buses and bikes. The pilot program is included in the Mayor’s updated budget and is expected to be approved in the coming weeks.
The El Cajon Boulevard corridor is home to Rapid 215 and Route 1, which together carry 10,000 people per day. The pilot program along the Boulevard aims to improve transit route efficiency and increase ridership along a key 2.7-mile stretch of El Cajon Boulevard from Park Boulevard to Fairmount Avenue, with the ultimate goal of extending the bus-only lanes all the way to SDSU.
“We are very pleased to see progress being made on this important initiative for our community,” said Tootie Thomas, acting executive director and former board president of the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association. “During our series of town hall events last year, the pilot program idea was met with overwhelming community support. This approach makes a great deal of sense and will help us ensure that we get it right for the long-term. We believe strongly that a dedicated bus lane will go a long way in making The Boulevard a premier example of TOD development, efficient transit and sustainable urban living in San Diego.”
The Jan. 24 and May 8 City memos can be viewed here.
About the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association
Formed in 1988, the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association is an economic development agency comprised of over 1,000 local small businesses committed to improving the physical and economic conditions along the El Cajon Boulevard corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods in Mid-City San Diego. The district encompasses 60 blocks along El Cajon Boulevard, from Park Boulevard to 54th
Street, including the communities of University Heights, North Park, Normal Heights, Kensington, Talmadge and City Heights. More information is available at www.theboulevard.org.