By Katie Nelson Rodolico
We hear a lot myths, assertions, or just plain false arguments from bridge opponents — provably false. Here are the top 10 myths Regents Road Bridge opponents keep repeating — accompanied by THE TRUTH.
- The bridge will bring more traffic into the area (even though we want projects that provide more jobs in UC) and it will destroy the canyon.
FALSE: This is the BIG LIE. Actually it’s two big lies. The UC development that has already been built or is being developed now has been based on the Regents Road Bridge being in place as a key piece of the infrastructure. The traffic is already here… as can be seen with the mess on I-5, La Jolla Village, Genesee, I-805, Nobel. The golden triangle is the high tech job center for San Diego. The jobs are already here or are coming (from already approved projects.) The large number of workers and residents in the Golden Triangle have brought all roads in the area to a standstill during rush hours The bridge doesn’t bring more traffic to the area… the development does.
As far as destroying the canyon goes, this is really an egregious misrepresentation regarding the impact of the bridge on the canyon. The canyon already has many imprints from civilization and development. There are the human influences from heavy rail transportation, construction activity, trash, and the occasional shopping cart. There is no regular or systematic cleaning or maintenance in the canyon. While segments of the canyon have been “set aside” as an open space park, those are simply lines on a map for a canyon that was already in the City’s property inventory.
2. Rose Canyon is the last (or the best) of the open space parks.
FALSE: We are fortunate to live in a city with many canyons and open space parks. We are even more fortunate to live in an area of the city that has several open space parks: San Clemente Canyon, Barnes and Lopez Canyon in nearby Mira Mesa, Peñasquitos Canyon in nearby Carmel Valley, and Tecolote Canyon in Clairemont. Those are just the canyons and open space parks within a few miles. San Diego Canyonlands lists over 130 canyons in the San Diego area. Many of these open space parks have much better amenities than Rose Canyon has and much better access for the elderly, handicapped, and disabled. http://www.sdcanyonlands.org/pdfs/canyonlocationsmasterlist09f30.pdf
3. Rose Canyon is special for its lack of development.
FALSE: Rose Canyon is an enjoyable canyon to hike and bike in… but anyone who spends time there knows that it is a heavily used area and is not, by a long shot, pristine.
* There are railroad tracks running through the canyon carrying 24 Amtrak trains a day and 22 Coaster light rail trains a day. These numbers will double when double tracking projects are completed north of us.
* There is a road that carries 31,000 trips a day through the canyon.
* There is a high school on the edge of the canyon.
* There are water, gas, and electrical utilities in the canyon. And there is…
* …A leaky sewer trunk. This sewer trunk is expected to be repaired over the next several years starting in 2018. This will be a multiyear project costing $7M http://cipapp.sandiego.gov/CIPDetail.aspx?ID=B11025
- The Trolley will take traffic off the street
FALSE: In order to ride the trolley you need to get to a trolley station. For those of us that live south of the trolley, that means a trip north on Genesee. SANDAG clearly knows people will commute to the trolley stations which is why they are adding commuter parking at Westfield UTC and at La Jolla Village. Parking wouldn’t be needed if people weren’t go to be driving to the trolley.
- Uber and Lyft carpool services, and creative bus loops will cut down on traffic.
FALSE: Several projects recently approved at UCPG have promoted the idea that employees of these developments would take the trolley then Uber or Lyft the last mile. This suggests that Uber and Lyft cars are somehow not ACTUALLY cars. In reality an Uber ride is a round trip since the driver has to reach the rider, drive them to their destination, then drive out from their destination.
- The construction projects planned for UC won’t make the traffic any worse because all of the trips have been accounted for.
FALSE: UCSD does not have to account for additional trips through the area. They are currently building new residential housing that includes 2 large parking structures. Several of the large developers are proposing projects that expand the square footage and average daily trips beyond what was originally allotted to their parcels. The trip load assigned to parcels was based on having the Regents Road Bridge. So we’ve removed a major road and are allowing developers to build projects with even more trips than originally allowed.
- You need to be “forced out of your car.”
FALSE: This idea suggests that if cars are inconvenient more people would take public transportation or ride bikes or walk. But removing the Regents Road Bridge from the UC Plan makes bike travel harder by removing a key element from the City’s Master Bike Plan. Parents who want to walk their kids from the Doyle area to Spreckels (sent there because of overcrowding at Doyle) would be forced to walk on Genesee or drive around. And public transportation does not adequately service the UC area south of Rose Canyon. Wouldn’t a bridge crossing above the canyon, 70 feet above the creek, be a better path to walk or bike? To even tempt people to get out of their cars we need to provide adequate bike lanes, safe pedestrian walkways, and effective public transportation.
- We can just build a pedestrian, bicyclist, handicapped access bridge with a single locked lane for emergency vehicles only.
FALSE: The traffic study and the draft PEIR looked at this option. It offers 100% of the cost with much less benefit. No emergency egress in the case of a fire. No traffic relief for those who live and/or work in the Golden Triangle. And traffic relief means less idling cars emitting carbon pollution. See: The Regents Road Bridge is GOOD for the Environment
- Doyle Elementary school children will be put at risk due to traffic and harmful emissions from cars.
FALSE: Doyle is in the most protected position of all 5 schools in the UC Cluster. It is not directly on Regents Road. It is on Berino Ct, a block off of Regents Rd. It is further from Regents Road than Curie is from Genesee. UCHS is directly on Genesee. Curie, Spreckels, and Stanley are all on Governor Dr, exposing the children to traffic and harmful emissions. Students who attend Doyle elementary will eventually attend Stanley Middle School and then UCHS. Doyle students will continue to attend school in a facility that is NOT on a major arterial roadway and is set back further than any other school in the UC Cluster.
- Ducks that use Rose Creek will not understand the new bridge structure and will be in jeopardy.
(This issue was actually raised at a Scoping Meeting prior to kicking off the current EIR effort.)
TRUE: Ducks probably don’t understand or care about the bridge.
FALSE: Ducks will not be put in jeopardy if the bridge is built. The Rose Creek watershed does not originate in Rose Canyon. In fact it is a 36 square mile area that originates south east of Scripps Ranch. It crosses I-15, I-805, and I-5. It runs through a military base. A bridge that is 70 feet above the creek will not impact the ducks.
These are just a few of the misleading and false statements regularly presented as talking points by the anti-bridge crowd. This is an important topic about a very important project. Too bad we can’t have a FACT based discussion.
University City needs a completed Regents Road Bridge!