Leaders take first full-length ride on Mid-Coast trolley

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear and SANDAG chair before the first ride on the mid-coast trolley.
(Courtesy MTS)

The Mid-Coast extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley took its first passengers on the full 11-mile extension to UC San Diego and Westfield UTC this month.

The $2.1 billion, 11-mile light-rail extension, operated by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and built by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), will open for service on Nov. 21.

“The Mid-Coast Trolley Extension will help connect people to quality jobs and economic opportunities,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear in a news release. “The 2021 Regional Plan is an opportunity to build many more projects like this, creating 10,000 new connections through a transportation system that is faster, fairer and cleaner for all.”

The tour started at the 12th & Imperial Transit Center in downtown San Diego and took passengers through all nine new stations, including the terminal at Westfield UTC.

The project will expand the current trolley network to provide a one-seat ride from the U.S./Mexico Border all the way north to the University community, connecting the two largest employment centers in San Diego. It will also provide healthcare access to the VA San Diego Healthcare System’s 84,500 veterans, as well as to the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center and other major medical facilities.

SANDAG began major construction for the 11-mile trolley extension in 2016.

“It’s been an exciting few months of celebrations and sharing milestones with the community for this trolley extension,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board chair, and San Diego County supervisor. “This is the biggest milestone yet. It is an amazing ride to UTC. The best part is San Diego residents will get to experience this same ride in November.”