San Diego’s trolley system given a C- grade

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The Metropolitan Transit System Tuesday defended its San Diego trolley stations in the wake of the release of a statewide study in which they got an overall grade of C-minus.

The report by the UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment studied how transit rail stations encourage ridership and impact the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods.

The researchers examined 489 stops among the six light rail systems operating in California.

The MTS released a statement that said the scorecard was narrow in scope, designed to support high-density neighborhoods and transit-oriented
development. The criteria used is largely outside the control of MTS, according to the agency.

The statement pointed out that an all-time high of more than 40 million passenger trips were logged on the trolley in the fiscal year completed June 30.

According to the study, the best performing Metropolitan Transit System stations in San Diego were the main 12th and Imperial stop in the East Village, and one on C Street in front of the City Administration Building in downtown San Diego. Both received B grades.

Grades of F were given to the following stations — Massachusetts Avenue in Lemon Grove, Santee Town Center, Spring Street in La Mesa, Fenton Parkway in Mission Valley, and the El Cajon Transit Center and Gillespie Field in El Cajon.

The latter was named the worst station in the state because it is used by almost no nearby residents or workers, according to the study, while the MTS defended the stop as useful as a park-and-ride location for special events.

The best overall grade went to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which received a B. The Metro rail system serving the Los Angeles area received a C.

The letter grades were based on 11 factors, among them transit use by residents and workers, the number of jobs or homes near a station, walkability, crime, change in real estate values between 2009-13, transit affordability and greenhouse gas emissions.

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