Friday was a big day for the ParkHillcrest Trolley, the free shuttle that runs down University Ave on weekends. A new foot-focused banner wrap was added to the trolley to clearly identify it as a free neighborhood resource, and 150+ free parking spaces in the DMV parking lot it serves have officially been made public on most evenings and weekends. As a bicyclist who supports the Uptown Bike Corridor on University, I’m glad that the “worst-case” scenario of 91 lost on-street parking spaces has been more than doubled by the 202 new spaces (including angled parking conversions). Hopefully by addressing concerns over parking, this is a big step toward place-making University and providing a safer street for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The shuttle makes 2-3 stops in each direction on University, and we rode it from the DMV lot up to 5th and University, where it dropped us close to our dining destination (East Village Asian Diner). Post-dinner, we jumped back on the trolley after a short wait and returned to the DMV lot. No circling for parking, and all totally free, except for the tip we left the driver. I know that some Uptown Parking District board members aren’t thrilled about the cost of the shuttle – so if we want this excellent resource to last, let’s support it!
Saturday was Art Around Adams, which featured an actual WWF-style wrestling match in the lot across the street from Sycamore Den. Captain Thunderfist and Vic Valentine battled it out amidst wry commentary from the ringside announcers and boxes containing various “power-ups” handed out to the audience. Definitely not something you see on Adams every day:
On Sunday we took the new MTS Rapid Route 235 from the grand opening ceremony at I-15 and University, to downtown, to see the new pocket park behind Mission Cafe:
The lettering is a neat concept and the park provides a welcome break from the sidewalks for residents.
Rapid route 235 is part of a new series of rapid bus routes from MTS. What’s great about this particular route is that it takes the same path that we do when driving downtown from Kensington – the quickest one (SR-15 to SR-94). Prior to this, it took me nearly an hour to get downtown on the route 11 bus from Adams Ave. Now it takes 12 minutes to go from El Cajon Boulevard to City College.
Currently, the buses pick up passengers at the El Cajon and University stops by stopping on the freeway exit ramps. According to the MTS rep I spoke with, elevators descending to the freeway will be installed in the next 18 months to pick passengers up without having to exit the freeway. This should make service even faster.
In addition to the 235, there’s the rapid 215, which will run down El Cajon and Park Blvd beginning in September. Also, a new semi-rapid route will be added at rush hour for route 11 that will take SR-163, cutting time off that hour-long ride from Kensington.
The interiors of the buses feature higher seat backs and more comfortable chairs than I’m used to on other MTS buses. Here’s a picture of a brand new rapid bus at the City College stop (too lazy to straighten it, sorry):
We finished up the weekend with a visit to Juniper and Ivy, which looks amazing inside and serves some pretty decent food too. The place was packed for a Sunday night, and our waiter said it’s been that way since it opened:
We wrapped up the evening with some photos of the new Waterfront Park at night: