ESCONDIDO — North County Transit District and the city will partner for a study to explore increasing the amount of developable land around the Escondido Transit Center.
NCTD received $240,000 from the Federal Transit Administration to study the feasibility of exchanging parcels of land with the city near the transit center.
The Escondido Transit Center is currently separated from much of downtown Escondido by several parcels with industrial buildings, creating a barrier between transit services and many jobs, leisure activities, tourism, grocery stores and other services.
By exchanging some of these parcels, NCTD could better connect transit to downtown and increase the amount of housing and other amenities near the transit center.
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with NCTD by exploring how we can increase transit and redevelopment opportunities within Escondido’s Gateway Transit area,” said Escondido City Engineer Julie Procopio in a statement announcing the study.
The total cost of the study is $300,000. While FTA funding will cover most of that cost, Escondido will provide the remaining $60,000.
The Escondido Transit Center serves a hub for NCTD’s Sprinter rail line and the Breeze bus service. Approximately 2.5 million riders use the Sprinter along the 22-mile corridor from Escondido to Oceanside in a typical year, according to the transit district.
“This study is a critical aspect to maximize the benefits of transit-oriented development in Escondido,” said NCTD executive director Matthew Tucker.
Transit-oriented development is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transit services like trains and buses to create a more sustainable environment that is less reliant on individual vehicles.
“Strategic redevelopment of land near NCTD’s stations is an opportunity to create vibrant places that improve mobility, generate organic ridership and bring community benefits such as increased housing, new commercial and retail opportunities, and the creation of world-class public spaces,” Tucker said.
The study will be conducted alongside NCTD’s search for proposals to redevelop the Escondido Transit Center. In addition to Escondido, NCTD is advancing redevelopment projects at the Oceanside Transit Center, Carlsbad Village Station and Carlsbad Poinsettia Station with future plans to redevelop several other stations along the Sprinter corridor in Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos.