The Golden Triangle is going through a period of tremendous growth! Nearly 50 major public, private and transportation infrastructure projects are underway or
planned over the next five years. The Shift team is here to help mitigate the impact of possible challenges created by construction and provide transportation choices to make it
easier to get around. Check out the shift blog to stay up-to-date on the latest Golden Triangle transportation resources and experiences from commuters, residents and families in this area.
Meet Sandra. Sandra was honored at a vanpool appreciation breakfast event for being the longest serving vanpool driver at UC San Diego. She has been vanpooling since 1985,the same year Dionne Warwick’s hit song, “That’s What Friends Are For,” went to number 1. At the time, little did Sandra know that her commitment to vanpooling would allow her to make friends and build lasting relationships all over UC San Diego.
Sandra started vanpooling soon after seeing some flyers for vanpool riders around the campus. She was traveling from Poway to work and was motivated to save wear and tear on her car. With a vanpool, she and her fellow riders save approximately 90 minutes of commuting each day by selecting an early time to meet up each day.
Sandra shares some additional benefits of being in a vanpool, “I have built multiple friendships with other riders and it’s a great way to learn about what’s going on at different departments. As an added bonus – riders don’t have the stress of the daily traffic and can get re-energized in the afternoon by taking a nap,” shares Sandra.
Over the years, Sandra became the vanpool driver for the group because she loves to drive. She used to operate a 12-15 passenger van, but now drives an 8-passenger van. She is the primary driver for her group 5 days a week.
She loves the camaraderie of her vanpool and shares an important rule for their group that has worked for them. “A top rule is to be civil to one another. I am very fortunate because our group is pleasant and respects each other. We have a great vanpool dynamic.”
Take it from Sandra, “Join a vanpool to relieve traffic congestion, stress, carbon emissions, etc.”
As one of the largest employer vanpool programs in San Diego County –with 58 vanpools - you can say that UC San Diego staff are fans of vans. A round of applause to her and UC San Diego.
For more information about vanpooling, visit: http://icommutesd.com/vanpool/vanpool
For real-time traffic and construction information in the Golden Triangle, visit: http://www.shiftsandiego.com/
For those who are already using an alternative commute to get to work, like vanpooling, make sure to sign-up for the Guaranteed Ride Home Program here: http://icommutesd.com/commuters/guaranteed-ride-home
SANDAG recently initiated the Mid-Coast Corridor Mobility Hub Implementation Strategy, a study that will identify ways to potentially improve connections to Mid-Coast Trolley stations, making transit a more attractive and convenient option for nearby residents and employees. The study is being conducted as a separate effort from Mid-Coast Trolley construction, thanks in part to a federal planning grant.
Three public meetings were held in January to obtain input on various mobility services and amenities that could be incorporated in and around the Mid-Coast Trolley stations. Three additional public meetings will be held in February, in conjunction with community planning groups in the corridor. Join us at the Old Town Planning Group, Midway-Pacific Highway Planning Group, or the University Community Planning Group this month to learn more and tell us what you think.
Can’t attend a meeting? Take our interactive online survey. (Participe en la encuesta interactiva en lÍnea y comparta sus opiniones.)
Mobility hubs feature a range of transportation services and amenities that better connect transit to where people live, work, and play. They are places where different travel options — walking, biking, ridesharing, and transit — come together seamlessly. Supporting technologies like real-time travel information, electric vehicle charging stations, and improved trip planning and payment options offer added convenience for users.
For additional information about the Mid-Coast Trolley project, visit KeepSanDiegoMoving.com/MidCoast
As the new year begins, we want to thank each and every one of you for trying an alternative commute and sharing your story about your commuter experience. The Shift Insider blog was a new feature integrated into Shift San Diego that brings together the community with a shared vision to reduce congestion, improve the work commute, and help the environment.
A special thanks to those who participated in our blog in 2016:
Savannah at Covance Laboratories
Alexandria Real Estate Equities
Henry at Howard Hughes Medical Institute
John at American Diabetes Association
Kathleen at Texas Instruments
We look forward to sharing more commuter stories, project highlights and transportation resources in 2017. Cheers!
With two carpool lanes on Interstate 805 (one in each direction) between SR 52 and Mira Mesa Boulevard and a Direct Access Ramp (DAR) at Carroll Canyon Road now open to the public, we talked with a commuter at a nearby employer about her carpool experience and the use of the new facility.
Kathleen champions the Commuter Program at her company, Texas Instruments. Not only does she encourage other fellow employees to find alternative transportation solutions, but she carpools at least twice a week to work.
Q: How did you find a carpool?
A: I found my carpool through a conversation with another co-worker. Once we found out that we commute in the same direction and work the same hours, it was a win-win situation. I am available to carpool more days of the week than my co-worker. Due to other commitments, he cannot carpool more than 2 days per week at this time. If his schedule opens up to carpool more, I am all for it.
Q: What were your hesitations, if any, about carpooling?
A: The only thing I was worried about was the other person’s reliability and promptness. The truth is, he is more prompt than me. We make sure to communicate with one another about any changes to our schedules.
Q: What made you decide to start carpooling?
A: I have been looking for a commuting solution for myself for some time. I care about the environment and with the new carpool lane opening, it was perfect timing.
Q: How do you carpool (meet at a lot, pick each other up)?
A: We take turns picking each other up and driving. I will drive one week and he will drive the next week.
Q: What do you like about carpooling?
A: It is very nice to be able to take turns driving. I feel less stress on the days when I am the passenger. Additionally, we use the new carpool lane now and that has really shaved some time off our commute.
Q: How has the opening of the DAR and HOV lanes affected your commute?
A: My morning commute to work before carpooling was approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Now commuting on the DAR and the HOV lanes, my commute is 10 to 15 minutes.
My evening commute home before carpooling was 35 to 45 minutes. Now it is only 25 to 30 minutes with the DAR and HOV lanes.
Q: How do you help others with their alternative commute?
A: I let them know what options are available if they have any interest in carpooling. Also, at the time of hiring, employees are told about the tax-free options that Texas Instruments offers for using public transit.
Q: What are the benefits of carpooling?
A: The benefits are saving commuting time, saving money on gas, saving wear and tear on your vehicle, helping the environment, and reducing stress in your life. According to my iCommute account, I’m saving 35% on commuting costs by carpooling.
For more carpool info, click here.
To access the guide to using the direct access ramps at I-805 and Carroll Canyon Road, click here.
It is American Diabetes Month and what better way to bring awareness to the month than by speaking to Associate Director John C. of the American Diabetes Association and learning about his bike commute? Not only does biking provide the physical activity your body needs to help prevent diabetes, it also helps put you in a better mood for work. Read more about what motivates John C. to make this commute happen at least 3 times a week.
Q: What motivates you to ride to work?
A: I ride to work for several reasons: 1) I find the commute by car can be extremely frustrating and when I ride it tends to leave me in a much happier mood during the day. 2) I think it is important that we all try to do something to reduce our use of fossil fuels, and this is a small way I can do that. 3) I love the workout that I get when I ride to work. While my legs may feel tired, I feel energized.
Q: How did you get started?
A: I must admit that it took a little planning to get started because I often have to drive to various meetings, not to mention dealing with clothing, etc. Ultimately, I decided on a method that seems to work well for me. I have an armoire at the office where I keep a week’s worth of clothing; I drive to the office on Monday morning, ride home, then ride back to the office the next day. This allows me to have a car at the office should I need it.
Q: How would you describe your level of experience bike riding?
A: While I do enjoy riding, prior to starting to ride to work I had not really done much riding for about a year prior to that point. I just kept making excuses about time and such, but once I started it’s been amazing.
Q: What do you need to get started?
A: A person can get started fairly easily and relatively cheaply. I bought a used bike for $150, an inexpensive helmet for $30, a bike pump, small tool kit and spare tube, bike shoes, cycling shorts, and a jersey. All together I spent about $300. While there are many items which you can buy for more, it’s not necessary to get started.
Q: What do you like about your bike commute?
A: Passing cars!! I love when I get to pass cars that are stopped due to gridlock.
Q: What is the most challenging part about bike commuting?
A: Not getting lazy.
Q: How does your company support bike commuters?
A: I am fortunate in that I have a place to keep my bike and we have showers in our building.
Q: How do you make sure you maintain your bike?
A: I try to watch for specials on Groupon and take it in every quarter to be tuned up.
Q: What advice do you have for people who want to try biking to work?
A: Find a friend/co-worker and start by meeting up and riding together. It may mean someone has to drive a little so you can meet up, but soon you’ll be riding to the meet ups.
Q: What are the benefits of biking?
A: I really can’t underscore how happy I feel after I get home or get to work on a bike. It’s amazing.
Q: Describe how you feel when you bike.
A: It’s funny because when you ride a bike you often feel like you are all alone in the world and what do I do if I get a flat or something? When I started riding, it brought an awareness of the goodness of people and the community it creates, especially when people started to say, “Hey, if you ever need a ride or get stuck, just let me know.” It’s also great when cyclists who are stopped are asked by other cyclists, “You ok? Got everything?” Life is good!
Resources to help you GO by BIKE. iCommute has the information you need to get moving!
For more information on American Diabetes Month, click here.
Although vanpooling is technically just one benefit that Scripps Health offers, for the people who use it will tell you it’s much more than that. It’s almost like getting several benefits in one program.
Take it from the Scripps Health staff at 4S Ranch. One glance across the parking lot is all you need to see just how popular vanpooling is there. Curtis Medlock, a billing systems specialist, is one of those vanpoolers. He’s been using the program since March as part of a six-person vanpool group that travels to and from Mission Valley. In just a few short months Medlock has already become a champion for the program and estimates he’s saving more than a $160 each month by using vanpool.
“That’s just in the numbers that can be calculated,” Medlock notes. “Things like gas and insurance costs. When you also consider the savings in mileage, wear and tear, and maintenance to my personal vehicle the savings are actually even greater.”
Medlock achieves that savings through a combination of programs. First, there’s the $30 monthly subsidy from Scripps Health and the pre-tax payroll deduction of his vanpool lease and fuel costs. Each vanpool is also eligible for up to a $400 monthly subsidy from San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as long as they have at least five people in their vanpool. The actual subsidy amount is based on miles traveled. For Medlock, that nets his vanpool $335 each month.
Pam Nichols is another vanpooler who joined because of Medlock, first as part of his Mission Valley group and now part of a vanpool that goes to and from San Ysidro closer to her home. That’s a 77-mile round trip for her every day, so for Nichols a big benefit is just having someone there to share the ride.
“The camaraderie is great,” Nichols says. “I didn’t even know five of these people before I started with this vehicle. Just being able to talk in the car and enjoy the ride I nice. It’s been a great experience.”
Nichols says she also appreciates how their vanpool vendor is always on top of it when it comes to the vehicle’s maintenance. They keep tabs on when it’s due for an oil change or any other kind of service. They pick up the vehicle during work hours and take care of whatever it needs and return it before the end of the day.
“If they can’t get return it to you in time, they’ll leave you a loaner,” Nichols says. “One time we had an airbag issue with our vehicle, and we ended up with a loaner for a couple of days.”
Scripps Health`s vanpool vendor also turns over the vehicles between 30,000 and 40,000, so you always have a nice new van to use.
What happens if you need to work late or have some kind of emergency where you need a car? SANDAG can help you there, too. They provide Guaranteed Ride Home vouchers annually that can be used in these cases. If your destination is less than 20 miles away, you can call a taxi. If it’s more than 20 miles, a Rent-a-Car picks you up. Then you just have to return the car within 24 hours. Both services are free of charge.
Some people say they simply can’t be without their car during the day, but Medlock suggests trying to find someone to share vanpool with in these cases.
“Even if you’re only able to use it two weeks out of the month, you’re still saving money,” he says. “Each van is able to organize their groups however they like so that may work for you.”
To redesign your commute and get more information on vanpooling, click here. To join the vanpool interest list, click here.
Grab a blanket and join us October 22, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., on the grass at the Preuss School field (3750 Voigt Drive) for the Mid-Coast Trolley Groundbreaking Celebration! We'll kick-off construction of the Mid-Coast Trolley project with a big picnic on the grass, including free food, live music, a commemorative gift, and lots of fun family activities.
An 11-mile addition to the San Diego Trolley system, the Mid-Coast project will extend the Blue Line from Old Town up along Interstate 5 to the UC San Diego campus and beyond. The new service will create a one-seat ride from the international border through Downtown San Diego and on to University City, connecting the region’s two largest job centers. The project will add nine new stations, connecting the trolley system to destination points such as Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, the VA Medical Center, and the busy shopping, commercial, and residential districts along Genesee Avenue.
As this project gets under way, find transportation solutions and construction information in the Golden Triangle area right here on ShiftSanDiego.com. Also, stop by the Shift San Diego and iCommute tables at the event to say hi, sign up for a free iCommute account, and learn more about your alternative transportation choices during construction.
Is back to school and construction traffic slowing you down? Shift your solo drive and try an alternative transportation solution like carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, or transit. Here are some simple tips when trying a new transportation mode to work or school.
Tip #1: Meet up with your carpool or vanpool at a Park & Ride lot.
Share your daily commute and save! Carpools and vanpools take advantage of many free amenities throughout the region including HOV lanes, Interstate 805 Direct Access Ramps, Park & Ride lots, and the Guaranteed Ride Home Program.
Carpooling is an easy way to instantly reduce your commuting costs by 50 percent or more. Learn more and find a carpool match here.
Want to save even more? A vanpool brings five or more people together to share the costs of getting to and from work in a van or SUV. Vanpool participants generally pay less than $100 per month to get to work! Learn more and find a vanpool match here.
Tip #2: Make walking to school your workout routine.
Use the TripPlanner to find a walking route to work or school. You also can walk between school, work, or home to get your workout in before taking transit. TripPlanner compares trip options, while calculating time, cost, calories burned, and emissions avoided.
Tip #3: Enjoy the ocean view and free WIFI on the COASTER.
The COASTER serves eight stations between Oceanside and Downtown San Diego. There are also four Sorrento Valley COASTER Connection buses to connect you to University City and the Golden Triangle area. Check out routes and times for the COASTER here.
Tip #4: Multitask and study for an exam on the bus.
Learn about trying transit here. There are eight routes that serve the La Jolla UCSD campus, including Rapid and SuperLoop. Need to get to Downtown San Diego? Take routes 30 or 150. Live in Rancho Bernardo, Sabre Springs, or Mira Mesa and need to head to class? Take Rapid 237. Need to get around University City? Take SuperLoop Rapid Routes 201/202. With so many options, why not give one a try?
Tip #5: Bike to and from your transit stop.
GO by BIKE to catch a bus, train, or trolley instead of driving. You can leave your bike in a secure bike locker at more than 60 transit locations. You also can take your bike on the bus, trolley, or train and finish your commute to work or school by bike. Learn more about bike commuting options here.
If you are unsure how to get started with finding a new way to work or school, start with using the TripPlanner. Find the best way to get where you need to go by comparing multiple transportation choices in one place. Just enter your starting point and destination in TripPlanner, and click "Let's Go!" It's that easy. TripPlanner compares carpool, vanpool, transit, walk, and bike options, and will provide you with ridematching options that meet your preferences. Have fun trying a new commute that works for you!