San Diego

San Diego Mayor Pushes for Transportation Options for Airport

As the airport seeks to upgrade and renovate its aging Terminal 1, the mayor seized the opportunity to call a meeting with some of the city’s biggest stakeholders to address transit.

In Los Angeles and San Francisco, two major hubs for air travel in California, flyers can take public transportation from their hotels directly to the airport. Not so in San Diego.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said enough is enough. He’s vowing to make something work.

There have been talks — decades-long talks — about connecting public transportation, such as the Trolley, to the airport.

There have also been talks about having a transit hub near the airport, people movers from the trolley and special bus lanes to alleviate traffic on Harbor Drive, however, none that has come to frustration — at least, not yet.

As the airport seeks to upgrade and renovate its aging Terminal 1, Faulconer seized the opportunity to call a meeting with SANDAG, the Port of San Diego, MTS, and the Airport Authority to address airport transit.

In a statement, Faulconer said he is confident the group can prioritize connectivity while reducing traffic congestion and improving access to the waterfront.

“It could be a great first step," Airport Authority vice president of development Dennis Probst said. "If the mayor's successful in bringing people along, it'd be a great day for all of us.” 

The mayor plans to sit down Nov. 20 with some of the city’s biggest stakeholders to try to determine the future of how you get to and from the airport.

Travelers told NBC 7 their experience getting from the Trolley to the airport was terrible.

Right now, to get to the airport on the Trolley, travelers would have to get off at the Middle Town Trolley Station, the closest stop to the airport, cross several lanes of traffic on Pacific Highway to catch the free shuttle that takes them to the airport. Imagine making the trek with luggage in hands.

“It's not an attractive option for people,” Circulate San Diego’s executive director Colin Parent said. “The problem right now is people really don't have good choices for how to get to the airport. It's basically car or nothing for most folks.“

In order to make transit to the airport a reality, several agencies would have to work together, Parent said.  

“One agency can't do it alone,” he said. “It's not fair to say that the airport is the only player in this. We need to see some leadership from them, along with the mayor and along with these other agencies to make this a priority.”

It's not just travelers who would benefit from improved transit to the airport, he said. Simpler transit could really help the 8,000 or so employees that work day in and day out to make the airport run.

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