The proposed extension of San Diego's trolley system to Ocean Beach will probably never happen, according to Ron Roberts, the Fourth District San Diego county supervisor who says he intends to run in the next election for mayor of San Diego.
Speaking to editors at San Diego Community Newspaper Group, Roberts said, "I don't want to throw cold water on it [the proposed trolley extension]. But sometimes you can get people excited."
Of the January announcement of a feasibility study he said, "A premature press conference was called," and "a $50,000 grant for a study is not usually something you get excited about in the world I work in."
While Roberts called the trolley extension "a critical project for San Diego" he said it was "high cost and low priority" and it is "very difficult, especially in Ocean Beach, to figure out the right of ways."
Responding to Roberts's remarks in a telephone interview the following day, Deputy Mayor Byron Wear said, "It is unfortunate that Ron Roberts who represented the beach community for seven years does not understand the traffic and parking problems of the beach community."
Wear, who said he is also considering running for mayor, said that Roberts was among the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB) members who voted for the trolley extension and that "while it is not our top priority it certainly will be one of our priorities."
Wear said, "If the guideway study shows that there is ridership, this will be a priority. And as far as the issue of right of way acquisition goes, we are not looking at any right of way issue because the trolley would end in the vicinity of West Point Loma Boulevard and Sunset Cliffs."
Roberts had said that there may be some way to link Sea World to Old Town but although "Sea World has said they will help, their assistance has been pretty modest" and he said, "I wouldn't be surprised if it [the link] was a ways off."
In response, Wear said, "The other aspect of the guideway study is that we're looking at redevelopment around the area of the Sports Arena, Sea World, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach. And if we can get people out of their cars onto a mass transit system it will reduce traffic and be a win-win for the community."