Through the process of advocating for a Regional Transportation Plan that prioritizes affordable and accessible public transit, biking and walking, our communities grew stronger and more united.
Doing much of this advocacy work in partnership with City Heights CDC and MAAC Project, we organized community support in unprecedented ways. We brought the concept of transportation justice to our neighbors, to community meetings, to City Council and SANDAG. We led bike rallies to celebrate a future where pedestrians have safe places to ride bikes and walk. We taught each other the importance of having transportation alternatives to improve our quality of life and encouraged each other to get involved in the planning process and build healthy neighborhoods.
We accomplished the following by raising our voices and spreading hope for the past two years.
- A Transit Pilot Project on the 94 Freeway. $31 million will go toward a pilot project to assess the feasibility of using the existing median for public transit on the 94 Freeway. SANDAG stated that results of the demonstration project would be shared with the Federal Transit Administration for potential use nationwide.
- A Golden Hill/Sherman Heights Bus Stop. Golden Hill and Sherman Heights residents will get a much-needed bus stop, a $66-million investment, near the 94 Freeway and have better north-south transit access to communities from Otay Mesa to Escondido.
- 94 Freeway Environmental Impact Report (EIR). SANDAG had proposed two alternatives to add lanes to the 94 Freeway to increase car capacity, which would increase climate change and air pollution. We were able to successfully halt the process and incorporate two community-supported alternatives which put transit before freeways to be analyzed in an Environmental Impact Report.
- Purple Line Trolley. The purple trolley line, slated for the year 2035, will connect the communities of San Ysidro to Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and National City as well as become the first trolley line to go through City Heights and up to Kearney Mesa. This trolley line wasn’t included in the first Regional Transportation Plan, but our community members raised their voices about the necessity of a north-south bound trolley line through our neighborhoods. This new trolley line will require an investment of $5.471 Billion, making it a major victory for the community.
- City Heights Rapid Transit. $78 million will fund a rapid transit line through the City Heights neighborhood traveling up 54th street. Originally in the Regional Transportation Plan for 2050, our community members got it slated to be operating by 2025.
- Community Bike Ride. We hosted our first-ever community bike ride for City Heights residents to pedal in support of the new bike infrastructure planned for 54th, University Avenue and Orange Avenue. More than 100 people attended this community bike ride to celebrate, support and raise awareness for bicycle and pedestrian improvements that include bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks and more. The bike ride also gave our allies a platform to share stories and build new partnerships in the community in the interest of safe streets. Everyone had a great time. Residents who hadn’t ridden a bike in years decided to join and many loved it so much they made plans to begin biking regularly again.
- National City gets Safe Routes to School. The popular route to Kimball Elementary school underwent improvements to implement a community vision for a safe and healthy way for children to get to school. With the addition of stop signs, traffic-slowing infrastructure, bike lanes, bike racks, sidewalk maintenance and an improved student pick-up and drop-off area, getting to school is now safer and more enjoyable for nearly 400 students in our communities.
- Affordable Housing Near Transit. National City broke ground on 201 Paradise Creek affordable housing units. This development, nationally recognized for being transit-oriented and sustainable, is a perfect example of what can happen when residents come together and get involved in the planning of their communities.
- Community Involvement. With a common interest of making the region more accessible for everything, EHC and the Built Environment Team hosted a total of 19 community meetings. Residents gave public testimony at 12 total meetings, including SANDAG committee meetings and board meetings, City bike corridor and climate action plan meetings and neighborhood workshops. More than 600 community members signed EHC’s petition to protect the 94 freeway from expansion.
- One Regional, Unified Voice. Advocating for a Regional Transportation Plan that prioritized transit, biking and walking improvement before freeway expansion brought San Diego’s regional environmental community, social justice, community based organizations, transportation advocacy and labor organizations together for the first time to go on record in opposition to the regional plan. This was the first time all these organizations united over a common cause.
The fight continues for transportation justice. With your help and your commitment to #healthyhoods, we will continue to advocate for the transit, biking and walking improvements our communities need to have a safe and healthy place to live, work and play.