By Louis Rodolico
While development continues unabated in UTC we are arguing over removing yet another planned road: the Regents Road Bridge. The Planning Group is maintaining its myopic view and does not allow the two thirds of the community, who favor the bridge, on their board.
While we argue amongst ourselves other outside interests see an opening.
The photo shows how SANDAG installed the cross tracks at Rose Canyon, just south of the Regents Road Bridge abutment. The UCPG chair and others openly complained about this Dark Project. The unnecessary jogs to the north triggered environmental remediation north of the tracks. This remediation is on either side of the Regents Road Bridge Site and will likely serve as a bridge construction hurdle. The unbanked track jogs can trigger a safety objection to the bridge from Amtrak since derailments are more likely at jogs & switch tracks.
The tracks were perfectly strait last year, why add jogs? SANDAG’s response: “The track was shifted (north) to reduce the need to construct retaining walls to support the rail infrastructure.”
The south side is fairly flat, the north side of the track has depressions close to the tracks, so SANDAG’s statement makes no sense. SANDAG may straighten out the jog at some politically expedient future date but, for now, it’s another hurdle to bridge construction.
Candidates for office and the Friends of Rose Canyon have been fundraising off the bridge issue for years. My council candidacy gave me a peek under the hood of government.
So what will become of fundraising if the bridge is off the plan this December? SANDAG added a new grade level road passage over the new tracks, which can be seen in the corresponding illustration.
Normally SANDAG supports vertical separations; but here we are left to speculate why they are building a road crossing at track level. I suspect the Friends of Rose Canyon will fight it so fundraising will remain intact for many years. If the grade level road is ever built ambulances will still need to wait for passing trains. Non-bridge advocates should be thankful that SANDAG had the disposable taxpayer cash to cover all city council scenarios.
SANDAG is failing and should not be given more money in November.
With upcoming redistricting, Councilman Todd Gloria chaired the 2010 Land Use and Housing Committee that voted to table the Regents Road Bridge EIR. He is the current Chair of the SANDAG Transportation Committee.
Gloria is looking after his districts interests by pushing the Innovation Zone, but why jog strait tracks? Adding physical and environmental barriers to the Regents Road Bridge could push high tech businesses into his District much sooner.
So along with $12 million in added taxpayer expense for Genesee Avenue traffic each year, cost of gas, man hours in traffic, poor emergency response times, poor conflagration egress, additional carbon, accidents, injuries and funerals, University can now thank SANDAG for the elevated potential of a train wreck.
This is what happens when the majority of a community is pushed outside the process. Anyone at the March trolley meeting witnessed how SANDAG manipulated community interaction. Removing the Regents Road Bridge forces cars from surface streets onto freeways, and therefore within SANDAG’s purview.
Is there any precedent if Council removes the bridge from the plan? Yes. West UC was successful in removing the Governor to I-5 connector years ago. The road was taken off the plan and at the west end of Governor, Rose Canyon access has been blocked off, this is a harbinger for Regents Road.
The land still belongs to the commonwealth of San Diego but with no pedestrian or bike access to Rose Canyon below. So the NIMBY project is nearly complete (the west end of Governor Drive may be removed from the plan via the current Draft PEIR), and the public is no longer allowed on what is now their backyard — even though it’s publicly owned land.
This last vestige of the Governor to I-5 connection is a prime piece of real estate and was shown as a New Firehouse location in the CityGate report. Firehouse location discussions are not public record, another Dark Project. I am against positioning a New Firehouse like a piece in a chess game. The city is reviewing this and hopefully the New Firehouse, or 2 Ambulance Station, will be located in the Center of University City where it will do the most good for UTC, University City and Clairemont.
If you live in East UC, like I do, city government is something that happens to you. I ran for city council to try and give East UC some voice, I had some success and thank voters who supported me and came forward with their confidential assessments.
With all the trials of trying to provide safety and health care for our families SANDAG and others are party to twisting environmental laws to eliminate the Regents Road Bridge, a bridge that would improve emergency travel times in an area with some of the slowest in the city, all the while silently diluting the annual $12 million impact by distributing the cost to the taxpayers in all 9 San Diego City Districts and via SANDAG the entire San Diego region.
Louis Rodolico has been a resident of University City since 2001. Position papers at louisrodolico.com.