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Public Transit

South Bay Rapid

SANDAG held two public workshops on October 8, 2013 and October 22, 2013 at Veterans Elementary School in Otay Ranch to solicit community feedback on design options for the South Bay BRT project’s approved single-lane transit guideway between Magdalena Avenue and State Route 125.

Based on the feedback received at the public workshops and other input received, SANDAG selected a guideway supported by columns as the preferred design option.

Workshop participants also were asked to weigh-in on additional design elements for the guideway such as privacy screening, pedestrian access, landscaping, and lighting.

Construction on the guideway is scheduled to begin in fall 2015, with service starting in 2017. View project timeline.

Project Overview

South Bay Rapid service will provide a rapid and reliable transportation alternative from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry to Downtown San Diego via eastern Chula Vista. It will help minimize traffic congestion along a major transportation corridor and offer service to areas not currently served by rapid transit.

South Bay Rapid is part of a larger system of transit lines being designed and built by SANDAG in partnership with Caltrans and the region’s transit operators, Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District (NCTD). The system will bring an additional choice to travelers in the region – providing a fast, comfortable service at high frequencies similar to the San Diego Trolley in order to make traveling on transit more convenient for riders.

South Bay Rapid will include 11 stations along the 21-mile route, connecting residents to employment and activity centers in Downtown San Diego and the South Bay. South Bay Rapid will serve offices, shopping centers, recreational facilities, transit-oriented residential communities, schools, and Park & Ride lots, as well as the U.S.-Mexico port of entry at Otay Mesa.

South Bay Rapid will follow a long-planned transit route. Vehicles will travel north on SR 125 from the Otay Mesa border crossing, then west through eastern Chula Vista, head north on I-805 utilizing the carpool lanes, and then travel west on SR 94 into Downtown San Diego. South Bay Rapid  will have direct connection to the carpool lanes on I-805 via a Direct Access Ramp (DAR) at East Palomar Street.

South Bay Rapid will improve travel times when compared to other forms of transit by utilizing dedicated transit only lanes, traffic signal priority, limited station stops, and real-time passenger information. Service along the corridor will be provided at 10-minute frequencies during peak commute hours, and every 15 minutes during mid-day. Modern, comfortable vehicles will feature amenities such as improved riding quality, upgraded interiors, and Wi-Fi service.

South Bay Rapid is funded through TransNet, a regional voter-approved half-cent sales tax for local transportation projects. It will be operated by MTS and is expected to go into service in 2016.

Final EIR Certified

The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project was certified by the SANDAG Board of Directors at its July 26, 2013, meeting.

Attachment 2A - CEQA Findings of Fact
Attachment 2B - Statement of Overriding Considerations
Attachment 2C - Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program
Resolution No. 2014-14

The Final EIR and its appendices are available below:

Final Environmental Impact Report
Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Section 1 - Introduction
Section 2 - Project Description
Section 3 - Setting, Impacts, and Mitigation Measures
Chapter 3.1 - Aesthetics and Visual Resources
Chapter 3.2 - Agricultural Resources
Chapter 3.3 - Air Quality
Chapter 3.4 - Biological Resources
Chapter 3.5 - Cultural Resources
Chapter 3.6 - Geology and Soils
Chapter 3.7 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Chapter 3.8 - Hazards and Hazardous Materials
Chapter 3.9 - Hydrology and Water Quality
Chapter 3.10 - Land Use and Planning
Chapter 3.11 - Mineral Resources
Chapter 3.12 - Noise and Vibration
Chapter 3.13 - Population and Housing
Chapter 3.14 - Public Services
Chapter 3.15 - Recreation
Chapter 3.16 - Transportation and Traffic
Chapter 3.17 - Utilities, Service Systems and Energy
Section 4 - Other Considerations Required by CEQA
Section 5 - Alternatives Analysis
Section 6 - Cumulative Impacts
Section 7 – Preparers and References

Appendix A - Signed NOP
Appendix B - NOP Comments
Appendix C - Visual Impact Assessment
Appendix D - Air Quality Assessment Report
Appendix D2 - Air Quality Emissions and GHG Emissions
Appendix E - Habitat Assessment Report
Appendix F - Jurisdictional Delineation Report
Appendix G - Cultural Resources Report
Appendix H - Preliminary Foundation Report
Appendix H2 - District Preliminary Geotechnical Report
Appendix I - Hazardous Materials ISA Otay Ranch Town Center
Appendix I2 - Hazardous Materials ISA Otay Ranch Town Center
Appendix I3 - Hazardous Materials ISA Otay Border Station
Appendix J - E Palomar Water Quality Technical Report
Appendix J2 - ITC Water Qaulity Techincal Report
Appendix K - Noise Analysis Report
Appendix L - Otay Mesa Traffic Impact Analysis
Appendix L2 - Chula Vista Traffic Impact Analysis
Appendix L3 - Downtown San Diego Traffic Impact Analysis
Appendix M - Responses to Comments on the Draft EIR

SANDAG released a Draft EIR for the South Bay Rapid project on January 29, 2013. The document studied three different alignments for the service, as well as a “no build” alternative, evaluating the option of not constructing the project. Additional information includes the results of studies conducted to gauge any potential visual and noise impacts and an assessment of potential environmental impacts. The release of the Draft EIR began a 60-day public review, during which a public meeting was held in Chula Vista. Written responses to the public’s comments have been included in the project’s Final EIR.

Project Manager

Jennifer Williamson, Senior Transportation Planner
Phone: (619) 699-1959, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact David Hicks at (619) 699-6939 or

Related Resources


  • Fact Sheet - South Bay Rapid [PDF: 461KB]