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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.

    The Golden Triangle In 2019 and What's to Come Through 2021
    by Shift San Diego | Mar 12, 2019

    The Golden Triangle In 2019 and What's to Come Through 2021

    It’s no secret that the University City and La Jolla neighborhoods are currently experiencing a tremendous period of growth, and this transformation is moving the community forward, full-steam ahead. With so many big and small improvements, it is exciting to look back to see the progress that has been made. That’s why we put together a recap video of all the 2018 projects – the community is bustling, and good headway is being made. As we look onward to this year, we are confident that this momentum will continue.

    Where are we now?

    We’re eager to share the latest updates on some of the major projects that will provide new community amenities and transportation options in your neighborhood. 

    The Westfield Residential Tower and the Center for Novel Therapeutics are expected to be completed in 2019. The Westfield Tower, a 23-story building with 300 apartments, will provide residents easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, health and fitness, and workspaces. The Center for Novel Therapeutics, an extension of the University of California at San Diego, will be a state-of-the-art research center that will foster collaboration with scientists and clinical researchers in order to provide more innovative treatments for patients. 

    The Gilman Bridge is newly complete! The bridge provides a vital link between the east and west campuses of UC San Diego, spanning Interstate 5 to connect Medical Center Drive and Gilman Drive. 

    Major infrastructure developments like the Mid-Coast Trolley are well underway. Upon completion, the trolley will extend the current Blue Line north to UC San Diego and UTC, greatly improving transportation options within San Diego and accommodating traffic demands in the burgeoning University City area. Visit for the latest construction updates, station designs, and a map of the trolley route. 

    Each of these projects adds its own enterprising element to this already-vibrant community of residents and businesses, and our team is here to help you navigate this exciting time every step of the way!

    Sneak Peek: A Preview of What’s to Come in 2019

    Construction on the La Jolla Colony Trolley Underpass is planned to begin in March 2019, to provide the Mid-Coast Trolley with a direct line from Old Town Center to the University City Communities. 

    The Torrey Pines Golf Course South Course remodel is slated to begin this Spring. Upon its completion, San Diego visitors, residents, and players alike will enjoy a new irrigation system, improved bunker infrastructure, turf improvements, and more. Two holes will be closed at a time during construction, providing course enhancements that promise to improve shot values. 

    Fire Station 50is currently in the design and permit phase and its construction is slated to begin in early summer 2019. Redevelopment of the Costa Verde Center is anticipated to begin in late 2019, and Pure Water’s Phase 1 will be starting in North County this October. By 2035, Pure Water’s facilities will produce 83 million gallons of water per day — accounting for one-third of San Diego’s future water needs. 

    Shift is here to help!

    Whether commuting across town, finding the best transportation route, or interested in learning more about projects surrounding your neighborhood, Shift is here to help you pave your waythrough this exciting period of development! Get connected with us! Check out our blog at, or learn more about these projects and stay up-to-date with the latest timely construction schedules by following @ShiftSanDiego on Twitter. 

    Insider tip: Browse through the latest developments in your area in greater detail by signing up for our monthly Shift e-Newsletter, conveniently sent straight to your inbox. 

    Join us as we look forward with what’s on the horizon for this year!

    The Shift Team

    Mar 12, 2019
    The Cut and Cover Tunneling Method for the Mid-Coast Trolley Underpass
    by Shift San Diego | Mar 11, 2019

    The Cut and Cover Tunneling Method for the Mid-Coast Trolley Underpass

    Tunneling Through to Make Way for a New Line

    The Mid-Coast Trolley project extends new trolley line service from Santa Fe Depot in Downtown San Diego to the University City community. At La Jolla Colony Drive, the line will pass under the street – where the Mid-Coast Trolley Underpass will be constructed through the cut and cover tunneling method. This is the only 0.03 miles of the 10.92 miles of new trolley line that are underground.

    Preliminary construction for this underpass, including underground utilities relocation and excavation, began in 2016. Major construction activity is scheduled to begin March 18, 2019.

    Cut-and-cover tunneling is a type of tunnel construction and the oldest method of tunneling, historically known to be used 4,000 years ago in Ancient Babylon. This technique is used typically for relatively shallow tunnels at depths of 60 feet and rarely exceeds 100 feet. The method is determined by several factors, including geology, cost, and potential disruption of other activities.

    The cut-and-cover tunneling will involve excavating a trench with slurry and reinforced concrete walls to act as support from softened earth and water. Concrete roofing provides deck and roadway support on the surface. As drilling, excavation, and utility relocation takes place, the roofing will prevent excess noise from escaping the tunnel.

    As construction ramps up for the Mid-Coast Trolley Underpass, detour routes and signage will be in place for commuters and residents. Here’s what to expect: 

    • Northbound La Jolla Colony Drive will be re-striped to accommodate both southbound and northbound traffic from east of the Interstate 5 on- and off-ramps to Rosenda Court. Southbound traffic will be shifted to the northbound lane. 
    • Freeway ramps will remain open.

    Some full weeknight and weekend closures may be required. During these intermittent closures, there will be no access to La Jolla Colony Drive from east of the Interstate 5 on- and off-ramps to Rosenda Court. Details of each closure will be included in future construction updates. 

    Refer to the Mid-Coast Trolley Underpass construction notice for even more specific information on what to expect, construction impacts, and a detour map.

    Project activities include drilling, road widening, excavation, removal of dirt, and concrete construction. Construction is expected to be complete by late 2019 and Trolley service utilizing the tunnel is anticipated to begin in late 2021.


    For more information about all Mid-Coast projects, please visit or contact Shift by phone at 844-SHIFT-SD or email us at Learn more about these projects and stay up-to-date with the latest timely construction schedules by following @ShiftSanDiego on Twitter.

    Mar 11, 2019
    Interview with Adrian Cortez, Gilman Drive Bridge Resident Engineer/Construction Engineer Manager
    by Shift San Diego | Jan 31, 2019

    Interview with Adrian Cortez, Gilman Drive Bridge Resident Engineer/Construction Engineer Manager

    img_Gilman_before_after_v1Q: How long have you worked for Caltrans? What led you to pursue a career in construction management? What projects do you currently oversee?

    AC: Just last month, I hit my 20-year anniversary as a bridge engineer with Caltrans in the Structure Construction division. What originally led me to pursue a career in construction as a resident engineer is the opportunity to make a positive impact with projects that affect the traveling public. I really enjoy my work, and I like that as engineers for the state, we are public servants. 

    As a resident engineer, we are responsible for delivering the project on schedule, ideally even when unexpected delays or construction issues may arise. I find project management extremely rewarding – when I meet the budget, help keep the contractor on schedule, and collaborate with colleagues and the contractor to problem solve, it gives me a sense of fulfillment. It’s also really important that we, as taxpayers, are getting an excellent product that will last for generations.

    We are about to wrap up a major 25-month bridge project that I’ve been a lead on: the Gilman Drive Bridge. So at present, I’m beginning a new project as the structure representative for a section of the light rail from La Jolla Colony Drive to Nobel Drive that has shotcrete walls, a cut-and-cover tunnel, and two small bridges. 

    Q: Are bridge projects a specialization for you? What made you interested in bridge construction?

    AC: Bridge building in particular is my specialization and a true passion of mine, and yet I’ve overseen other non-bridge civil projects for the state. My first intership as a student assistant was on a bridge project. Prior to that intership, I had only considered working in roadway or building design. I find it interesting that bridges, in themselves, almost always solve some real problem. For example, they might connect people more readily with each other or make daily life simpler or more efficient. 

    Q: The new Gilman Drive Bridge will unite existing UC San Diego campus roads on both sides of the I-5 Freeway. It has been a visible construction project over the I-5 for the last couple years. In your words, why is the bridge being built, and what benefit does it bring to the community?

    AC: The new Gilman Bridge creates an additional travel lifeline for the campus. It will unite the west and east campuses by creating a thoroughfare over the I-5 Freeway, and it will complete UC San Diego’s internal loop. It will also improve mobility for the community and for students, faculty and staff, increasing the options for pedestrian traffic, promoting walking and cycling, and reducing roadway traffic, which in turn will help to increase personal and environmental health. 

    Q: What have been some of the most challenging aspects about building the bridge?

    AC: Several of the challenges with building this bridge were immediately evident in that it is an arch bridge with intricate geometry which gives it its elegant design. For example, every vertical surface is rotating ever so slightly and changing height along the arch legs and parabolic superstructure slopes. This added to the intricacy which required a special design for the falsework, the temporary wooden structure used to support the bridge during construction. Extra time and effort had to be taken with these temporary forms and supports during construction to ensure that the final lines and surfaces turned out per plan. 

    One of the most common challenges in any bridge construction over a freeway is building it with the least amount of impact to the traveling public and community. One way we set out to accomplish this was by closing the freeway and constructing the bridge at night when traffic was least active. Another way we reduced community impacts was through constant coordination between adjacent projects, including our involvement with the Shift program, to share closures or avoid competition with other closures, which helps reduce the number of overall closures, saving time and money. 

    Q: Can you share with us any fun facts about the bridge?

    AC: The Gilman Bridge is a 405-foot concrete arch bridge with a multi-cell, post-tensioned box section. It is 62 feet wide with 10-foot and 6-foot sidewalks. The arch itself spans 317 feet and measures 37 feet from the roadway to the top midpoint of the arch. The bridge is supported on either side of the freeway by a spread footing supported by 48 micropiles that are 10 inches in diameter placed on an incline of 48 degrees from horizontal into the adjacent slopes, transferring the load down from the arch legs. 

    The bridge superstructure, including the arch legs, consists of over 9 million pounds of concrete, and includes 25 miles of high-strength steel strands running through the bridge.  These strands were pulled with enough force to create over 14 million pounds of compression in the bridge, a process known as prestressing.  

    Another interesting fact about the bridge is that it was built by way of nine separate concrete pouring sequences due to the various geometries. Typical, less complex box girder bridges only require two or three concrete pours.  

    Q: What has been the most rewarding or your favorite part of your job managing this project?

    AC: It was truly an honor to be a part of the professionalism, collaboration, commitment and pride with which all the various teams worked. From the designer, to iron workers, carpenters and laborers, to the Mid-Coast Trolley Contractor’s engineers and UC San Diego’s staff. I think we all had an understanding of how special this bridge is, and we wanted it to turn out great.

    Q:The bridge is slated to be complete the first quarter of 2019. To you, what is the most exciting aspect about its opening?

    AC: The most exciting aspect about its opening for me is how it will immediately serve the public and add to the beauty of our city. When I drive under similar arch bridges that span across the I-805 and the 15 Freeway, it feelslike a true gateway into San Diego. I’m excited for the Gilman Bridge to be added to the list of signature arch bridges here in our beautiful city. 

    Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about your role managing this project and/or about the project itself?

    AC: Including planning, the project has been in the works for over 10 years and has been made possible because of the collaboration between UC San Diego, SANDAG and Caltrans. 

    Jan 31, 2019
    Shift Resources for La Jolla and University City Residents
    by Shift San Diego | Jan 31, 2019

    You may have noticed the various construction projects underway in the University City and La Jolla neighborhoods. With a combination of small intersection improvements and large-scale overhauls to improve traffic flow and connectivity, like the Gilman Drive Bridge or the Mid-Coast Trolley, you may be wondering how to plan around roadway disruptions throughout the area. Shift is the one-stop shop for residents, businesses, and commuters impacted by these construction projects, providing key information and resources to minimize disruption and help get you where you need to be.

    The Shift website,, provides both construction information from the many different projects as well as connections to alternative transportation resources. On the Shift Insider blog, you can read about transportation solutions and updates about the major projects. You can also access interactive construction maps, construction impact notices and trip planners to help you get where you’re going. Shift provides timely updates from construction projects on Twitter @ShiftSanDiego, or you can sign up for convenient text alerts about large-scale project closures or impacts in your area by texting ‘ShiftSD’ to 797979. If you’d prefer to contact a member of the Shift team with any questions or concerns, you can e-mail us at or call the toll-free information hotline at 844-Shift-SD and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

    Our team is here to help you navigate this exciting time for the future of these neighborhoods by providing construction information and transportation solutions to ease daily commutes and minimize potential traffic challenges. E-mail, call, text, or follow us for updates so we can help you shift your way of traveling.

    Jan 31, 2019
    What Motivates You to Walk or Bike to Work?
    by Shift San Diego | Jan 11, 2019

    It’s tough trying to stay active while juggling work and home responsibilities. Who has the time or energy to squeeze in a gym workout after sitting through bumper to bumper traffic for an hour?

    Try walking or biking to work, instead! You’ll be able to avoid rush hour traffic while burning some calories. Plus, there are a lot of health and wellness benefits to staying active. Here are our top 10 reasons why you should get outside and walk or bike to work (at least once a week).

    1. Live longer

      A new study in the British Medical Journal finds that people who bike to work live significantly longer than those who drive or ride transit. Bike commuters were 41% less likely to die during the five-year study period.

    2. Prevent cancer and disease

      The same study also found that bike commuters were less likely to suffer from major health problems like cancer or heart disease.  Similar studies have linked active transportation to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

    3. Improve your brain function

      Walking optimizes blood flow to the brain and improves brain function. The relatively light impact of foot to pavement triggers waves of blood flow to the brain even more so than running or biking.

    4. Be more creative

      Walking may lead to more creative thinking than sitting and concentrating at your desk. Research from Stanford University's Graduate School of Education found that college students who walked instead of sitting performed better on tasks such as finding alternative uses for common objects or thinking of analogies for complex ideas – both tests used to measure creative thinking.

    5. Reduce stress

      Research from Montreal confirms that there are real stress-level differences among commuters based on mode. Predictably, drivers were the least happy with their commutes mostly due to unexpected delays. By contrast, walkers were the least-stressed commuters.  Other studies suggest that travel mode cannot only affect your stress during your commute, but also impact your stress levels throughout the day.

    6. Lose weight

      Biking and walking burn calories and can help you shed a few pounds. Studies have shown that men and women who bike or walk to work weigh an average of six or seven lbs. less than their driving counterparts and have significantly lower percentages of body fat.

    7. Save money

      Owning and maintaining a personal vehicle is expensive. You don’t have to ditch your car completely. Biking and walking to work a few times a week can save money on fuel, parking, and general wear-and-tear. See for yourself. Use this free tool to calculate how much money you can save annually by switching to a bike commute.

    8. Lower your carbon footprint

      Choice of commute mode has real impacts on the environment. Burning of fossil fuels is the single greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions. You can lessen the impact of your commute choices on the environment by replacing one or more car trips per week with a sustainable commute mode. Compare your daily carbon emissions to a sustainable alternative here.

    9. Motivate the people around you

      Your healthy commute habits can have a positive influence on partners and coworkers. Studies show that people who have spouses or coworkers who actively commute are more likely to try it themselves.

    10. Get there quicker than you think!

    People often complain that walking and biking to work is too time consuming and work is money. However, a study out of Penn State demonstrated that people consistently overestimate how long a walk or bike to work will take them. Consider how much it would take for you to walk or bike to work – or better yet, give it a test run – and compare. Is your commute as long as you predicted? And if so, is the extra time worth some quality thinking, lowering your health risks, and destressing your body at the same time?

    Not sure how to get started? Here are some ideas:

    • Use iCommute’s Trip Planner to find the best route. Don’t forget to select the bike and walk icons!
    • Check out iCommute’s bike page for resources and bike safety tips.
    • Try out a shared mobility service, such as bikeshare or electric scooters.
    • Have kids? Walk, Ride, or Roll to school!

    Remember, you don’t have to commit to walking or biking every day. Simply incorporating physical activity into your commute a couple times a week will yield some great benefits!

    Jan 11, 2019
    The 411 on 511
    by Shift San Diego | Dec 17, 2018

    Having car trouble? Out of gas? Flat tire? Call 511!

    Drivers stranded on freeways in the San Diego region can dial 511 from a cell phone for FREE roadside assistance. SANDAG, in partnership with Caltrans and CHP, operates a Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) that provides free roadside assistance to drivers stranded along approximately 222 miles of local freeways in San Diego County. The FSP operates Monday through Friday from 5:30 – 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 – 6:30 p.m., except on Federal holidays. With SB1 funding, a pilot program will expand hours to midday and weekend service. Midday service from 10-2 on weekdays will start on July 1, and weekend service from 10 – 6 will start on August 1.

    FSP’s crew of certified drivers help with:

    • A gallon of gas
    • A jump start
    • Water for the radiator
    • Changing a flat tire
    • Towing to a safe, pre-determined location designated by CHP (if they can’t get your vehicle running)

    For help, simply call 511 and say, “Roadside Assistance”.

    FSP tow or pickup trucks are white with the statewide FSP logo on the door. Drivers wear blue uniforms and yellow safety vests and are not allowed to accept tips or payment.

    For more information, please visit

    Did you have a positive experience with one of our FSP drivers? Email us to let us know!

    Photo of SANDAG 511- Freeway Service Patrol Program - San Diego, CA, United States

    Call 511 from any phone to be also connected toll-free to public transportation, traffic conditions, iCommute, FasTrak®, Compass Card, and a Spanish menu.

    Additionally, go to to learn about other commuter resources here, such as:

    • Construction information for the Golden Triangle/University City area
    • Vanpool subsidy (up to $400 a month)
    • Guaranteed Ride Home Program (for those who commute alternatively to work)

    Dec 17, 2018
    Shift Monthly Construction Update - November
    by Shift San Diego | Nov 28, 2018

    Shift Program Monthly Construction Update

    We’re excited to share updates on some of the major projects that will bring access to new community amenities and resources in your neighborhood. Please note, construction schedules are subject to change. To confirm the below and other work schedules, contact Shift at 844-SHIFT-SD.



    ConstructionTerm HighlightRetaining walls are rigid structures designed to restrain soil to a desired slope that it would not naturally keep to.

    Various types of retaining walls are currently being constructed in the La Jolla Colony Drive area, including cast-in-place, soil nail, MSE, and soldier pile. Different wall types are used depending on many factors including soil type, protecting utilities, and supporting roadways among others. The future cut-and-cover tunnel at La Jolla Colony Drive will be constructed with cast-in-place walls under the roadway and various other types will be used leading into and away from the roadway area.

    Mid-Coast Trolley Construction Along Genesee Avenue, SANDAG Project

    The Mid-Coast Trolley construction is continuing along the Genesee Avenue at several intersections. Girder construction along Genesee Avenue, north of La Jolla Village Drive will continue through January 2019.

    View closure updates at, or @ShiftSanDiego on Twitter.

    The Mid-Coast Trolley construction at the La Jolla Village Drive and Genesee Avenue intersection as of November 2018.

    Torrey Pines Golf Course, City of San Diego Project

    Preparations for the Farmers Insurance Open began in early October with a wall-to-wall overseeding process of perennial ryegrass on both the North Course and the South Course. Each of these award-winning layouts play host to San Diego’s PGA TOUR stop. The buildout for the event itself began on November 1, 2018, with the building of grandstands, hospitality tents and television towers across the two golf courses.

    Immediately following the event taking place Jan. 24-27, a South Course remodel is slated to begin in February 2019. This will include a new irrigation system, improved bunker infrastructure and improved turf on approaches. In addition, two holes will undergo a minor transformation to improve shot values that both San Diego residents, visitors and TOUR players alike can all enjoy. The City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department is proud to improve its flagship golf property for everyone.

    Torrey Pines Golf Course prepares for the Farmers Insurance Open
    held from Jan. 23-27, 2019.

    Gilman Drive Bridge, SANDAG and Caltrans Project

    The falsework – temporary support structures used during construction– for the Gilman Drive Bridge were removed in early November, revealing the bridge’s form for the first time since the project started in 2016.

    The finishing work, including sand blasting and patching blemishes, is anticipated to be completed in early 2019. Once open, there will be striping, sidewalks and crosswalk improvements as part of the Medical Center Drive South Improvement Project.

    Before-and-After: The Gilman Drive Bridge form is revealed in early November 2018.

    Gilman Drive Public Sewer Improvements, UC San Diego and City of San Diego Project

    Phase 7 construction at the northernmost point of Gilman Drive before the La Jolla Village Drive overpass was completed in November. The final overlay and striping of Gilman Drive is scheduled to occur between the end of UC San Diego’s Fall Quarter on Dec. 17 through the beginning of Winter Quarter on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

    UC San Diego Mesa Housing Pedestrian and Bike Bridge, UC San Diego Project

    The Mesa Housing Pedestrian and Bike Bridge Project consists of a new bridge across a canyon on the UC San Diego Campus to directly link the Mesa Graduate Housing neighborhood with the Medical Center campus. The bridge will allow walking and biking with significantly shorter, safer routes to campus using the new Gilman Drive Bridge.

    Cranes will be set up in late November or early December for the installation of bridge girders. For more information on this project, visit:

    Let us know what projects you’re most interested in receiving information about via email at or phone at 1-844-SHIFT-SD. Visit to sign up for email alerts about major construction updates and access the map of all the ongoing projects.

    The Shift San Diego team

    Nov 28, 2018
    Tips for Calculating Your Commute
    by Shift San Diego | Nov 19, 2018

    Have you ever wondered how much time and money you spend on your daily commute? You don’t have to be a mathlete to figure it out, just use the iCommute Commute Calculator! It’s easy and results are immediate. Check out these 7 tips to improve your commute.

    1. Figure out how many days per month you commute.
      1. Twenty-one days is a typical number for full-time employees. Calculate how many days you drive alone and then separately how many days you commute by an alternative mode .
    2. Add up how far your round-trip commute to work is.
      1. A round-trip is the total amount of miles when you go to and from work. Using Google Maps is the easiest way to see how far your route is. Just type in your to and from addresses and multiply by two for your round-trip miles.
    3. Price Compare Gas Stations
      1. You can easily compare gas station prices near you by typing in “gas” in the search bar of Google Maps, either on your phone or desktop. Google automatically shows you a list of the prices of gas stations near you.
    4. View your daily, monthly, and yearly commute costs.
      1. Fill out the simple questions on the iCommute Commute Calculator. This is an excellent tool to use when establishing a budget and doing taxes!
    5. Consider taking transit
      1. Gas can get pricey! Especially in California. Cut down your costs with iCommute’s variety of alternative commuting choices like carpool, vanpool, bike, walk and transit. Filling out the Commute Calculator shows how much you would pay daily, monthly and yearly for each different transit option.
    6. Consider carpooling
      1. Ask your coworkers and friends if they’d want to carpool. Even one day a week cuts costs! Having trouble finding someone? Waze Carpool on the App Store or Google Play can easily match you with people also looking to carpool. Some employers offer an incentive for carpoolers!
    7. Sign up for the vanpool interest list
      1. iCommute makes it easy to find a vanpool that works with your commute. Plus, you can earn financial incentives through a vanpool subsidy provided by SANDAG. You can even start your own vanpool!
    Get your fingers calculating and get yourself into a new commute. Even changing your commute a of couple times a week can make a big difference for your pocketbook, the environment and your overall health & wellbeing. Knowing what you know now about the cost of your commute, what type of change will you try for getting to work?

    Nov 19, 2018
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