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As my story today noted, Caltrans’ main reason for ruling out a rapid bus station on Interstate 805 in southeastern San Diego was the $350 million price tag. It said it would have to demolish and rebuild an existing overpass and move a nearby trolley station closer to the freeway.
So Caltrans decided against it. The agency planned almost a dozen stops as the bus route winds through eastern Chula Vista on its way to downtown San Diego, but none in San Diego itself, except at the end of the line downtown. Caltrans is reconsidering that decision after residents and leaders of one southeastern San Diego community said that was unacceptable.
But why so many stops in Chula Vista, and just the one in San Diego?
Jennifer Williamson, a San Diego Association of Governments planner working on the proposed bus route, said Chula Vista has been anticipating the route for a couple of decades, ever since the city started planning for growth and development in its eastern part. It set aside the land it needed for bus lanes. San Diego neighborhoods predate that planning, making stations in San Diego much more expensive.
Beginning in the 1990s, suburban housing development exploded in eastern Chula Vista. It’s slowed in recent years, but there are eventual plans for at least three major private developments there, including a business park, a university and a commercial center.
“The city of Chula Vista was pretty darned proactive in their planning,” Williamson said.