North County Transit District bus
A North County Transit District bus. Courtesy of NCTD

The North County Transit District has received $240,000 from the Federal Transit Administration to advance projects to develop the Escondido Transit Center, it was announced Monday.

The funding from the FTA’s pilot program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning will go toward studying the feasibility of exchanging parcels of land with the city of Escondido near the transit center to enhance the amount of developable land at the site.

“This study is a critical aspect to maximize the benefits of transit- oriented development in Escondido,” NCTF Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker said. “Strategic redevelopment of land near NCTD’s stations is an opportunity to create vibrant places that improve mobility, generate organic ridership and bring community benefits such as increased housing, new commercial and retail opportunities, and the creation of world-class public spaces.”

The Escondido Transit Center is separated from downtown Escondido by parcels of land largely comprised of industrial buildings. According to NCTD, through the exchange of land near the transit center, the transit agency could connect transit with downtown Escondido and increase housing and amenities at the site.

The study also is intended to identify improvements to better connect NCTD’s BREEZE buses and SPRINTER hybrid rail to increase accessibility and pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with NCTD by exploring how we can increase transit and redevelopment opportunities within Escondido’s Gateway Transit area,” said Julie Procopio, city engineer for Escondido.

The total study will cost $300,000, so the remaining $60,000 not covered by federal grants will be paid for in partnership between NCTD and the city of Escondido.

The study will happen concurrently with a request for proposals to redevelop the transit center, which was advertised in October.

–City News Service