by Austin Speed, President, Citizens for the Regents Road Bridge
This week we will conclude our look at the North UC projects that will have a significant impact on the already failing traffic patterns on our UC roadway network. As we have mentioned in part one and two of this article, there are over 50 major construction projects planned for North UC that will have a long term impact on our already intolerable traffic situation.
Over the last few weeks we looked at six of these top 10 projects: the Westfield UTC expansion, the Scripps Hospital campus expansion, the Illumina Headquarters development, residential towers going up at Costa Verde and UTC, and the UCSD Hospital Expansion.
This week we’ll conclude our look at projects seven through 10.
Before we do this, keep in mind that from our perspective each of these projects can be viewed as indicators of economic success with the inevitable expansion of facilities and housing to sustain and even expand the capacity of the community to support that success. However, a certain form of insanity comes into play if you consider the scope of these projects in light of an absolute refusal by the City to significantly improve roadway capacity and infrastructure in University City.
So here we go. Let’s look at what’s going on up at Campus Point(e), other major housing construction projects in North UC, research facilities and office space expansion, and miscellaneous other projects.
Number 7. The Campus Point Projects: Campus Point Drive is the main access road (off Genesee Avenue) for a major new facility that has opened up at the north end of the area called the Alexandria Life Sciences Center at Campus Pointe.
Alexandria has renovated the 24 acre property to create this Life Sciences complex. The project was nominated this year for the coveted Orchid award by the San Diego Architectural Foundation. A number of life science related businesses and one high end restaurant now occupy the facilities.
Figure 1. Alexandria Life Sciences Center at Campus Pointe
There is ongoing construction at the site which apparently will consume one of the major parking areas that occupied one side of the building. We’ll see what kind of strain all of this puts on traffic to and from the area.
Figure 2. Construction Adjacent to Alexandria Life Sciences Center (9/24/17)
Before we leave Campus Point, you should know that Amazon recently leased space in the area – 107,000 square feet at 10300 Campus Point Drive to accommodate more than 500 employees. Many of these employees will be driving to and from work. Many of those will use Genesee Avenue as part of their travel route.
Figure 3. Leased by Amazon – 10300 Campus Point Drive
Number 8. The Trolley Arrival at UTC. These are pictures of the elevated trolley platform that will enable the trolley to travel to and from the UCSD East Campus above the centerline of Genesee Avenue to ultimately turn into UTC.
Figure 4. The Trolley is Coming to UTC
There is an assertion that pops up occasionally that the trolley will change traffic patterns and reduce car traffic in UC. Frankly, I don’t see it. A few current commuters may use the trolley, but I doubt that we’ll see any significant reduction of UC’s traffic congestion.
Number 9. Condominium and Apartment Projects in the UTC Vicinity
Figure 5. La Jolla Crossroads
Phase one at The La Jolla Crossroads 360 apartment complex, east of Westfield UTC, just completed. The overall plan appears to add at least another hundred or so rental apartments to the North UC residential inventory.
Here are a couple of pictures of these apartments under construction.
Figure 6. La Jolla Crossroads 360 Under Construction (June 2016)
Number 10: Other Office and Research Space Projects
Finally, there are a number of other projects that will add to our demand for roadway capacity in UC. Here is a sampling:
Alexandria is planning a 3-story, 163,648-square foot mixed lab and office building at 9625 Town Centre Drive…with parking…for cars.
The Irvine Company is planning a three-story, 96,435 square-foot, campus-style workplace called Eastgate Terrace…with parking…for cars.
Here are a couple of pictures of another mixed use facility on Executive Drive that was under construction in June 2016…with parking…for cars.
Figure 7. North UC Mixed Use Facility Under Construction
Below is a SANDAG map of public and private projects that includes the specific projects we have been talking about in this three part article as well as others. By the City’s count there are 50 major projects either recently completed, under construction, or planned over the next five years.
MANY OF THEM WITH PARKING STRUCTURES…FOR CARS.
NO ADDITIONAL ROADWAYS
Figure 8. A North UC Construction Project Map (SANDAG)
That wraps up our discussion of the Top 10 Traffic Related Reasons Why Regents Road Should be Completed. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a development advocate. UC can benefit from the economic opportunities and the modernization. However, the commitment to accommodate this incredibly intense development activity should be supported by a commitment to increase our roadway capacity and improve our transportation infrastructure.
Remember, improving roadway capacity isn’t development. Adding to our roadway capacity provides the infrastructure needed to support the economic opportunities and development that has been clearly approved by the City for our UC community.
We just cannot have one without the other.
We’ll tackle another subject next week. Stay tuned.
President, Citizens for the Regents Road Bridge