Residents fighting to revive plans for a Regents Road connector bridge in University City have launched an online fund raising campaign to cover attorney’s fees for a lawsuit they’ve filed against the city of San Diego.
The gofundme.com campaign, launched in mid-August, has raised more than $8,500 toward the group’s goal of $250,000.
After years of controversy over the proposed bridge that pitted neighbor against neighbor, the City Council voted 6-2 last December to remove it from planning maps.
The $60-million bridge would have provided a second north-south route through the often-congested community that past city leaders considered crucial when they approved many dense housing projects for the area.
But the council majority said they doubted the bridge would reduce congestion and that environmental concerns about the project were too significant to move forward.
The bridge would connect two large segments of Regents Road that now dead end at the northern and southern edges of Rose Canyon.
Without the bridge, Genesee Avenue is the only major north-south route through the area, which includes UC-San Diego and UTC mall.
The residents filed a lawsuit in January challenging a city environmental analysis of the project that played a role in the council’s decision to abandon the project.
They contend the bridge would improve public safety, alleviate traffic congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, shorten emergency response times and help boost city plans for a comprehensive bicycling network.
Some also say the environmental sensitivity of Rose Canyon has been overblown, noting that significant train traffic already runs through the area.
City officials say emergency response times in the area would be more effectively addressed by building additional fire stations, noting that three new stations are planned.
The city also hopes to reduce congestion in the area with a new trolley line under construction along Morena Boulevard, shuttles from UCSD and rapid bus routes.
Two council members whose districts would be affected by the bridge, Lorie Zapf and Chris Cate, voted against abandoning the project.
But the council member who represented University City at the time, Sherri Lightner, led the campaign to abandon the bridge along with Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Lightner’s successor, Barbara Bry, also opposes building the bridge.
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