La Mesa Dedicates Elevators At Grossmont Station

GROSSMONT TROLLEY STATION -- It took 22 years and nearly $8-million, but La Mesa Saturday gathered happily to celebrate completion of a large improvement project for the trolley station serving Grossmont Hospital and the Grossmont Center.

At the center of the redevelopment was a nearly $7-million structure that houses two elevators that make the hospital and shopping district now fully accessible to mass transit.

For years, trolley riders have had to walk up 77 steps to get from the station to their destinations and disabled riders had virtually no way to exit the station.

"This is another red letter day in La Mesa,'' Mayor Art Madrid said, despite the long wait for this improvement.

Looking up at both the elevator structure and the 527 new apartment units, Madrid said La Mesa was proud to have brought together housing, transportation and services that now will be accessible, without cars, for all of La Mesa and the region.

Madrid thanked the coalition of San Diego Association of Governments, Metropolitan Transit System and a host of local officials who worked with La Mesa staff and elected officials to make this development go.

Jack Dale, a councilman from Santee who represents that city on the SANDAG board, congratulated Madrid for La Mesa's achievement and then described La Mesa as his "favorite Santee suburb.''

Madrid kidded back, saying La Mesa was filing papers to annex Santee.

But amid the speeches and praise-taking, there were a number of people for whom this type of development is crucial. Jackson Alexander, a San Diego County administrator, spoke from his wheelchair to thank public officials for finding the funding that will make Grossmont and its housing and services fully accessible to the disabled.

"When we first started considering how to get from down here to up there, they were talking about a really long switch-back for wheelchairs,'' Alexander said. "It would have never worked. This is ideal.''
Making that point, Madrid, flanked by much of the City Council, cut the official opening ribbon and then gave the honor of the first elevator ride to two wheelchair bound commuters.

In many ways, what La Mesa has managed to build at the Grossmont Center Station is a model of the kind of development the San Diego Association of Governments has been pushing for this region -- transit-based, higher density that can eliminate at least some cars from the region's highways.

La Mesa City Councilman Ernie Ewin, who serves on the MTS board, pointed out that La Mesa has five trolley stations. He said more than 1.6 million riders use the Grossmont station every year, including more than 30,000 with limited mobility.

"I am proud of the role the City of La Mesa and MTS played in this project,'' he said.
About half the project's cost came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved by Congress. SANDAG oversaw construction, which was executed by the La Mesa-based Riha Construction.





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Tags: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Ernie Ewin, Grossmont Center, Grossmont Center Station, Grossmont Hospital, Grossmont Trolley Station, Jackson Alexander, La Mesa, MTS, Mayor Art Madrid, More…Metropolitan Transit System, Riha Construction, SANDAG, San Diego Association of Governments, Santee


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Comment by Phil Sluder on November 21, 2011 at 12:23pm

$8-million. Really?

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