New bus only lanes on Park Boulevard expected to save attendees time and money
San Diego – December Nights, San Diego's largest holiday event, returns to Balboa Park this Friday, December 1 and Saturday, December 2, and is expected to draw more than 300,000 attendees. Attendees are encouraged to avoid traffic and gridlock in the area by using the Metropolitan Transit System’s (MTS) free service on select bus routes serving Balboa Park. In addition, recently opened bus only lanes on Park Blvd. are expected to make access to the park faster and more convenient.
In previous years, San Diego has seen traffic delays of upwards of an hour to pass through the ¾ mile segment of Park Blvd along Balboa Park. This year, MTS will use the northbound bus priority lane for Route 7, Rapid 215 and a special event shuttle for faster service to Balboa Park from the Trolley in downtown. In addition to bypassing traffic, MTS is offering free rides on Route 7, Rapid 215 and the event shuttle for passengers riding between City College Transit Center in downtown San Diego and Balboa Park during December Nights.
Transit Service to December Nights:
From South Bay and East County:
- For access to the east side of Balboa Park: Take the UC San Diego Blue Line or Orange Line to City College. Transfer to northbound Route 7, Rapid 215 or special event shuttle located on 11th Street.
- For access to the west side of Balboa Park: Take the UC San Diego Blue Line or Orange Line to Fifth Avenue Trolley Station. Transfer to northbound Route 3 or 120.
From North County or East County (along Green Line):
- Take the Green Line (transfers from the UC San Diego Blue Line available at Old Town) to Fashion Valley Transit Center, and transfer to the southbound Route 120.
Please note: For post-event service when leaving the park to head southbound back to City College, catch the Park Blvd. shuttle on the east side of Park Blvd. at any bus stop between President's Way and Upas.
Here are some tips on the best ways to take advantage of transit to Balboa Park:
- Load $5 onto your PRONTO card on your smartphone using the PRONTO app at any time prior to arriving at a transit station. Youth 18 and under ride free throughout the system with the Youth Opportunity Pass Program.
- Park at one of dozens of park and rides, most of which are free, to access the Trolley system.
- Tap your PRONTO card or scan your virtual PRONTO card via the PRONTO app before taking the Trolley or Bus.
Due to heavy traffic around Balboa Park during December Nights, MTS is advising passengers on Rapid 215 and Route 7 to plan ahead, travel early and prepare for delays from 3-11 p.m. on Friday, and noon-11 p.m. on Saturday. The southbound bus routes – which normally serve Balboa Park on Park Blvd – will be detouring around the festivities for the duration of the event via SR 163. All southbound bus stops on Park Blvd. between University Ave. and C Street will be temporarily closed. (Normal southbound Route 7 and Rapid 215 service on Park Blvd is expected to return around 11 p.m. on both days)
Please visit the MTS December Nights webpage for more information about detours and how to get to December Nights using transit.
The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) operates 97 bus routes and three Trolley lines in 10 cities and unincorporated areas of San Diego. MTS is a leader in advancing initiatives to create a greener, cleaner and better-connected transit system in San Diego. Each weekday more than 250,000 passenger trips are taken throughout the MTS system taking people to work, school, health appointments and other essential trips. In FY 2023, MTS served more than 68 million riders. For service schedule updates, news, alerts and more information on how you can use public transportation, go to www.sdmts.com.