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San Marcos Shuttle Plan

San Marcos, California
Firm Role
Transit Planning
2011, adopted 2011
95,000 residents, 24.4 square miles

In 2011, the City of San Marcos engaged Nelson\Nygaard Consulting to plan a shuttle system for the rapidly growing city. Patrick Siegman directed the project while a Principal at Nelson\Nygaard, following up on previous work for the City and for CSU San Marcos.

The shuttle system was inspired by three developments. The Sprinter light rail line had recently opened, with two stations in San Marcos. Two planned districts had also broken ground: the University District and the Creek District. Together, the new districts are providing San Marcos with something it had never had: a dense, walkable, mixed-use downtown, with thousands of apartments, townhomes, student residences, restaurants, cafés, and academic buildings.

To plan the shuttles, the project team completed a thorough alternatives analysis, allowing the City to weigh trade-offs between various routes, levels of service and vehicle types.

The chosen system efficiently links the Creek District, the University District, the Civic Center, existing high-density neighborhoods, retail hubs, and regional rail. Its routes are anchored at each end by a college campus and a rail station. Palomar College and its rail stop anchor the northwest. CSU San Marcos and its rail station anchor the southeast end. To finance the system, the project team helped the City establish a Community Facilities District, which taxes new developments that will be served by the shuttles. The system’s phased routing plan coincides with planned development: routes will evolve as new roads and bridges are completed.

The City Council adopted the shuttle plan and its Community Facilities District in 2011.

Images courtesy of CSU San Marcos and the City of San Marcos