Roadways of El Cajon, California

El Cajon is a city located in San Diego County, California. With a population of over 100,000 residents, El Cajon has an extensive network of roads and highways to support the transportation needs of its residents, businesses, and visitors. This local guide provides an overview of the major roadways and thoroughfares in El Cajon.

Interstate Highways

Interstate 8

Interstate 8 (I-8) is the major east-west highway serving El Cajon and the San Diego region. Within El Cajon city limits, I-8 has 6 to 8 lanes and runs in a east-west direction.

Key Exits:

  • Exit 12: Los Coches Road
  • Exit 13: Second Street
  • Exit 14: Greenfield Drive
  • Exit 15: Mollison Avenue/El Cajon Boulevard
  • Exit 16: Johnson Avenue
  • Exit 17: Fletcher Parkway

I-8 connects El Cajon to San Diego to the west and Imperial County to the east. It’s the main route used to access San Diego’s beaches, Downtown San Diego, San Diego State University (SDSU), Qualcomm Stadium, Mission Valley shopping centers, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and Lakeside.

To the east, I-8 leads to destinations like Alpine, El Centro, the Imperial Sand Dunes, and Yuma, Arizona.

Interstate 15

A small section of Interstate 15 (I-15) cuts through the northern part of El Cajon between Exits 15 and 18:

  • Exit 15: Magnolia Avenue
  • Exit 16: Main Street
  • Exit 17: El Cajon Boulevard/CA-67
  • Exit 18: Fletcher Parkway

I-15 connects inland North County, Temecula, and Riverside County to points south like Miramar, Kearny Mesa, Mission Valley, and Downtown San Diego. For El Cajon residents, quick access to I-15 is handy for reaching inland destinations.

State & County Highways

California State Route 67

California State Route 67 (SR-67) is an important 16-mile north-south artery through El Cajon and eastern San Diego County. SR-67 runs along Magnolia Avenue and continues south to become Midway Drive.

In El Cajon, SR-67 intersects with I-8 and helps connect neighborhoods like Santee and Lakeside to the north with San Diego proper to the south.

California State Route 125

California State Route 125 (SR-125) has its southern terminus in El Cajon. Also known as the South Bay Expressway, SR-125 runs in a north-south direction through San Diego’s South Bay communities.

SR-125 intersects with I-8 in La Mesa, providing an important bypass freeway from I-8 to Chula Vista and the U.S.-Mexico border.

San Diego County Highway S2

San Diego County Highway S2, also known as Santee Street and Graves Avenue, traverses El Cajon in an east-west direction across its northern half.

S2 runs between SR-67 and I-8, connecting Lakeside to the west with unincorporated areas like Bostonia and Rancho San Diego to the east.

Major Surface Streets & Thoroughfares

El Cajon’s grid network of surface streets handles much of the local vehicle traffic across neighborhoods, commercial districts, and downtown areas. Here are some of the major thoroughfares:

Main Street

Main Street begins near Downtown El Cajon and runs north-south across the entire city. It is one of the oldest streets in El Cajon and home to many of the city’s original buildings and landmarks.

Main Street provides access to City Hall, the El Cajon Police Department headquarters, and the East Main Street shopping district. It crosses I-8 and eventually becomes Santee’s Mission Gorge Road.

Magnolia Avenue

Magnolia Avenue is El Cajon’s portion of SR-67. It is a major north-south thoroughfare lined with businesses and retailers. Key sites along Magnolia Avenue include Parkway Plaza mall, Fletcher Hills Plaza, and Grossmont Center mall.

El Cajon Boulevard

El Cajon Boulevard starts in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood and becomes one of El Cajon’s main east-west streets. It crosses I-8 via an overpass and provides access to dining, shopping, and entertainment destinations.

El Cajon Boulevard connects various neighborhoods like Downtown El Cajon, Arnele Avenue, Bostonia, and Rancho San Diego. It extends east all the way to Rancho San Diego’s own downtown village center.

Fletcher Parkway

Fletcher Parkway runs diagonally across El Cajon from the southwest to the northeast. It connects neighborhoods like Granite Hills and Fletcher Hills while linking up I-8 and SR-67.

Major landmarks accessible via Fletcher Parkway include Gillespie Field airport as well as Grossmont Center and Grossmont College.


Broadway starts west of Downtown near I-8 and runs northeast towards Fletcher Parkway and Rancho San Diego. This main road provides access to many neighborhoods and shopping centers in central El Cajon.

Washington Avenue

Washington Avenue is a north-south street beginning south of I-8 near Downtown El Cajon and the city’s southern border with La Mesa and Lemon Grove. It crosses Main Street and provides access to neighborhoods and businesses in central and northern El Cajon.

Washington Avenue extends all the way north to become West Washington Avenue in the city of Santee.

Freeway On & Off-Ramps

With two major interstates and state highways converging in El Cajon, there are numerous on and off-ramps providing access to the freeways:

I-8 East/West

  • On/Off Ramps at Los Coches Road, Second Street, Greenfield Drive, Mollison Avenue/El Cajon Boulevard, Johnson Avenue, and Fletcher Parkway

I-15 North/South

  • On/Off Ramps at Magnolia Avenue, Main Street, El Cajon Boulevard/CA-67, and Fletcher Parkway

SR-67 North/South

  • On/Off Ramps at Broadway, Bradley Avenue, and Mollison Avenue/El Cajon Boulevard

SR-125 North/South

  • On/Off Ramps at Jamacha Road, Campo Road, and Spring Street

Having multiple ramp options helps connect El Cajon’s local street grid with the major freeways efficiently. Commuters can choose the on/off ramp closest to their origin or destination.

Scenic Drives & Byways

Although most drivers use El Cajon’s road network to reach practical destinations for work, errands or social reasons, there are a few scenic drives around the outskirts of the city for leisurely weekend cruises.

Fuerte Drive

This winding road provides panoramic views from the hills looking down on Rancho San Diego, Mount Miguel, Spring Valley, La Presa, and nearby communities. Fuerte Drive is a nice choice for a Sunday drive, motorcycle ride, or just taking in scenic rural vistas.

Skyline Truck Trail

Part of the Brabant Ranch Rural Historic Landscape, Skyline Truck Trail off of Dehesa Road is a dirt road that passes by boulders, brushy hills, and great views across East County. Only suitable for high-clearance off-road vehicles.

Historic Route 80

The old alignment of Historic Route 80 passes through Flinn Springs outside El Cajon. This curvy road with vintage metal guardrails is fun to cruise for a retro driving experience through the Cleveland National Forest. Easy for all types of vehicles to access and enjoy.

So while most El Cajon roads are designed for pragmatic transportation, there are a few scenic byways around the city’s periphery to enjoy on a special drive.

Trucking Routes & Restrictions

With two major interstates and substantial industrial areas, El Cajon streets see a lot of truck traffic. Here are some key notes for truckers navigating El Cajon’s roadways:

  • I-8 and I-15 are the designated truck routes to bypass the city. Exit off to surface streets for local deliveries.
  • Certain roads prohibit truck traffic. Avoid Route 67 along Magnolia Avenue and Second Street through downtown.
  • Truck weight limits are posted. Stay under 10,000 pounds on normal streets.
  • Watch out for low bridges like those under the trolley tracks on Main Street.
  • Nighttime truck traffic restrictions from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am. Stick to freeways or park at approved stops.
  • Noise and air braking restrictions. Avoid jake braking and minimize loud noises especially at night.

Following posted signs and being aware of truck restrictions will help semis, big rigs, and commercial haulers coexist with regular El Cajon traffic. Check city ordinances for full details.

Traffic Patterns & Congestion

With around 100,000 residents plus many more commuters passing through, El Cajon traffic follows certain trends and patterns each day:

Morning Commute – Most congestion before 9:00 am especially on I-8 and I-15 heading west towards San Diego and south on SR-67 and SR-125. Local roads like Magnolia Avenue, Fletcher Parkway, and Broadway also see delays.

Mid-Day Lull – Traffic eases a bit in late morning after the work rush. I-8 westbound still shows slowing around El Cajon Boulevard during midday.

Afternoon Commute – Evening commute starts building around 3:00 pm and intensifies by 5:00 pm. Worst evening congestion is on I-8 eastbound starting at I-15 through El Cajon portion. I-15 southbound also gets delays exiting at El Cajon Boulevard.

Evening Quiet Period – Traffic on most major roads returns to free flowing conditions by around 7:00 pm. I-8 and SR-67 still maintain moderate flows.

Overnight – Very light traffic after 10:00 pm. I-8 and I-15 maintain consistent speeds except for sparse patches of slowing. Ideal for truckers and night drivers.

So be prepared for the predictably bad commute congestion if traveling during rush hours. Other times of day see relatively free-flowing traffic patterns around the city.

Public Transit Network

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS)

El Cajon is served by San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) which provides public bus and light rail transit.

MTS Bus Routes

Major El Cajon bus routes include:

  • Route 1 – SR-67 between Downtown San Diego and El Cajon
  • Route 14 – El Cajon Boulevard through Mid-City communities
  • Routes 851/852 – Rancho San Diego along Campo and Jamacha Roads
  • Route 854 – Fletcher Parkway between La Mesa and Grossmont Center
  • Route 855 – Broadway between La Mesa and Downtown El Cajon

Trolley Light Rail

El Cajon is served by the Orange Line and Green Line of San Diego’s light rail trolley system:

  • Orange Line – Connects El Cajon to Downtown San Diego, Lemon Grove, La Mesa, San Diego State University, and beyond
  • Green Line – Runs along I-8 from Santee through El Cajon, La Mesa, San Diego State University, Mission Valley, and Downtown

Having accessible public transportation like MTS bus and trolley routes helps reduce vehicle traffic on El Cajon streets.

Walking, Biking & Micro-Mobility

In addition to driving and public transit, El Cajon has infrastructure to support more sustainable transportation modes:

Bike Lanes & Trails

El Cajon has bike lanes or routes designated along:

  • Fletcher Parkway
  • Johnson Avenue
  • Avocado Avenue
  • Chase Avenue
  • Broadway
  • Ballantyne Street
  • Brabham Street

There are also paved paths and trails for cycling at:

  • Wells Park
  • Prescott Promenade
  • Kennedy Park
  • Sycuan Peak Mountain Bike Trail
  • East County Bike Trail

Sidewalks & Crosswalks

Main streets like Magnolia Avenue, El Cajon Boulevard, and Main Street have wide sidewalks lined with businesses, restaurants, and retail shops convenient for pedestrians.

Most intersections have dedicated pedestrian crossing signals for safety. Newer neighborhoods feature walking trails and paths that connect to commercial centers.

Scooters & E-Bikes

Shared micromobility services like scooter and e-bike rentals are available in Downtown El Cajon and around San Diego State University. Look for vendors like Bird, Lime, Wheels or Spin to hop on an electric scooter for quick trips.

El Cajon aims to be more pedestrian and cyclist friendly by upgrading its walking, biking, and micro-mobility infrastructure throughout the city.

Driving Laws, Safety & Etiquette

Following proper driving etiquette helps keep El Cajon roads safe and pleasant for everyone sharing the pavement. Some key tips:

  • Obey all posted speed limits, traffic signs, and signals. Fines are doubled in construction zones.
  • Yield right-of-way to pedestrians, cyclists, and crossing vehicles. Let others go first at intersections.
  • Use turn signals before changing lanes or turning. Tap brakes when slowing down.
  • Avoid distractions like mobile phones. Pull over to park before using devices.
  • Keep headlights on at night and during rain or low visibility conditions.
  • Allow merging vehicles to enter your lane when safe. Take turns zipper merging in congestion.
  • Don’t block intersections when traffic is backed up. Wait until space is available before entering.
  • Give large trucks extra room. Avoid their large blind spots when passing.
  • Park only in legal public spaces or private lots. Don’t block driveways, disabled spaces, or fire hydrants.
  • Report reckless or suspected drunk drivers. Call 911 for emergencies.

Following these tips for defensive and mindful driving helps keep El Cajon a safe place to get around for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.

Ongoing & Future Road Projects

To modernize infrastructure and meet capacity needs of a growing population, El Cajon has major road projects in progress or planned:

I-8 Corridor Enhancements – Caltrans is adding managed lanes and making improvements along I-8 through El Cajon and La Mesa. Expanded capacity by 2027.

Magnolia Avenue Widening – Widening Magnolia Ave from 4 to 6 lanes between Chase Ave and Broadway. Adding bike lanes, sidewalks, landscaping. Completion by 2025.

Los Coches Road Widening – Widening Los Coches Rd from 2 to 4 lanes south of Fletcher Pkwy. Includes drainage upgrades and sidewalk improvements. Slated finish in 2024.

El Cajon Transit Center – Consolidating bus stops into new transit plaza at Main St and Magnolia Ave. Enhanced amenities for riders. Opening estimated 2026.

Complete Streets Upgrades – Adding bike lanes, bulb-outs, high visibility crosswalks, and pedestrian refuges along North Magnolia Avenue, East Main Street, and East Washington Avenue.

El Cajon continues upgrading its transportation networks to offer modern, efficient options for driving, cycling, public transit, and pedestrian access throughout the city.

Emergency Road Closures & Detours

Unplanned incidents sometimes necessitate quick road closures and detours in El Cajon:

Crashes – Police may close lanes or divert traffic temporarily after major accidents until the scene is cleared.

Vehicle Breakdowns – Roads could be blocked if large trucks or machinery break down and require repairs before being towed away.

Fallen Trees or Powerlines – Storms or high winds can knock over trees or power poles, requiring road closure for debris removal or utility repairs.

Flooding – Heavy rain may flood roads or wash out pavement, needing closure until floodwaters recede and repairs are made.

Police Activity – Law enforcement operations like car chases, active crime scenes, or search warrants may warrant roadblocks and rerouting traffic away from affected areas.

Protests or Marches – Organized demonstrations in streets like those held Downtown require temporary closures and traffic redirection.

Fires – Major brush fires can cause evacuation orders and road usage restrictions around affected zones.


Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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