Students board trolley
UCSD students board a Blue Line trolley at the UC San Diego station. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Rep. Scott Peters joined UC San Diego students and transit advocates on Tuesday to call for more housing and employment opportunities in University City now that the region is served by the Mid-Coast Trolley extension.

“After years of hard work, it was so exciting to see the extended Blue Line open to move San Diegans to work and school,” said Peters. “After investing $2 billion, we should consider this project the beginning of a new era for transit in our region.”

Peters pointed to a new report by Circulate San Diego, “Making the Most of the Mid-Coast Trolley,” which recommends changing zoning to encourage development of new homes, biotech laboratories, office space, and neighborhood retail establishments in University City.

“Our report recommends increasing capacity for homes and jobs,” said Colin Parent, executive director and general counsel for Circulate San Diego. “It will also boost our economy by giving new opportunities to the industries that drive San Diego County forward, and housing their workforce.”

The nonprofit think tank’s report cited the overall economic benefit of leveraging the trolley to build more homes and expand biotech and other industries in University City.

“Increasing capacity around the Mid-Coast would allow economic growth, reduce housing
costs for workers, and reduce commute times by allowing employees to live near where they work,” the report said. “This change would allow more prosperity for San Diegans.”

Melanie Cohn of Biocom, the trade association for the California life sciences industry, said more housing in University City would help companies attract and retain employees.

For students, the trolley represents access to the world beyond the university — and the prospect of staying in San Diego after graduation.

“The trolley has opened up a world of opportunity for UC San Diego Students,” said Aidan Lin, a junior who heads Our Time to Act United, an organization that focuses on local issues that involve youth.

There are six trolley stations in University City, making it easy now for students to move around the neighborhood.

Longer term, he hopes the trolley will spur construction of new housing for students while they are studying, and after they graduate.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.