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Like many San Diegans, I travel downtown quite often, the one thing I always notice is the amount of transit buses. There are usually three buses ahead of me and two buses behind me. This is in contrast to the times I visit the real job centers of the region, Sorrento Valley, Palomar Airport Road, University Center/Genesee, Torrey Pines, etc.
Why can’t a tech worker get from Rancho Penasquitos/Scripps to Sorrento Valley? Transit in San Diego seems to be set up for the 50s vs. the 2000s. Job center trends would seem to validate a shift in transit from a downtown centric model to the growing tech centers. A sustainable transit system should not be viewed as a purely social service. Transit should be made available to all of our citizens, even those with a high income as represented by the technology industry.
Plans for a multibillion dollar trolley that goes from downtown and ends up somewhere mid-region, bypassing the technology job centers, is truly perplexing. It shows a fundamental lack of awareness of where the region’s true job centers will be.
When bringing up transit for tech workers, many are heard to say, “Why can’t the successful tech companies pay for their own transit?” My reaction would be to ask why the hotels and other tourism related businesses can’t subsidize their employee transit needs.
Instead of penalizing tech companies who are encouraging transit, the region should be doing everything it can to create transit options for tech workers. I have seen studies that show that 25% of downtown workers use transit; transit planners should be advocating that same percentage for our growing tech employment centers.
Every region says they want to bring more tech companies to their region. What better way to demonstrate this than creating a sustainable transit system that serves the future of the region — not the past.
Kevin Carroll is the regional vice president for TechAmerica. He lives in Rancho Peñasquitos.