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Wants Trolley 'Loop'

July 26, 1987

About Nancy Ray's article, "Coming Soon, the San Diego Hook, Trolley Won't Circle Downtown in a Continuous Loop" (July 11).

The choice of the "hook" configuration for light-rail transit serving downtown appears to be a most unfortunate configuration for this fine system. While it doesn't close future options, it may make them more difficult to achieve as land prices and costs escalate.

The transit loop exists in a number of cities where the downtown area is emphasized as the metropolitan hub of the area and transit ridership is to be optimized. It has also been used as a development catalyst and has permitted functional activity nodes to be spread to reduce vehicular congestion.

The continuous loop system's advantages are substantial. First, there is the economic or time advantage of not needing to double-back over the same route to exit Centre City. This is a savings of 16 or more minutes that could be used to increase frequency of trains. The proponents of the hook argue that the loop will inconvenience passengers in the C Street corridor who would be required to travel farther than would be necessary by the hook operational configuration. This is not the case. If the trains operated as in some cities, they would simply reverse their operation in the loop configuration in the afternoon. Therefore, office workers, etc., in the C Street corridor would not travel farther and could be advantaged by a higher frequency of train operation.

Second, the loop system clearly eliminates transfers between the two transit lines as now planned. Transit research by a national organization has indicated a substantial loss (up to 30%) of ridership when transfers are involved, as with the hook. There will be thousands of employees in the bayside corridor when completed and a large number of tourists and conventioneers bound for Mexico. The proposed hook configuration requires all of these people to transfer.

The loop would enable all three lines that will enter Centre City in the future to serve each of the employment centers on the loop and no transfers would be needed. The economic development advantages of this system are obvious.

The loop is time tested and deserves a proper evaluation by experts who understand the opportunities that exist for the transit/development connection.

We must have a broader solution than one that considers primarily engineering aspects.


First Vice President

San Diegans Inc.

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