Faulconer, Lightner Back Plan to Protect Canyon Park, Start Community Process to End Regents Road Bridge Controversy

City to study removing cross-canyon bridge project from community plan, explore new fire stations for University City

Thursday, September 25, 2014 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego - Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and Council President Pro Tem Sherri S. Lightner today announced their support for a community-driven solution to end the controversial plan to build a bridge through Rose Canyon.

"It's time to move forward with a realistic plan that can be put into action and deliver real results for this community. This new plan will protect our environment, help the community get the fire protection it needs, and give us the final word on the Regents Road Bridge," Mayor Faulconer said.

On Monday the City Council is scheduled to vote on studying the removal of the Regents Road Bridge project from the University Community Plan. Doing so will provide certainty for the future of the community and help City planners focus on alternative solutions to ensure south University City is more accessible to emergency first responders. Building one or more fire stations south of Rose Canyon is one of the options that will be explored.

"Next week's action by the City Council is the first step needed to bring the University Community Plan into the 21st century," Lightner said. "This community will benefit from added public safety and community facilities, all while preserving the picturesque Rose Canyon Open Space Park and protecting South University City neighborhoods from unacceptable traffic congestion."

The question of whether or not to build the Regents Road Bridge through the canyon that separates north and south University City has prompted considerable controversy and environmental concerns over the last two decades. The bridge proposal has been the subject of litigation, numerous City Council hearings and public debates.

The process to amend the University Community Plan will include a new analysis of traffic and emergency response times.

"I fully support this approach," Assistant San Diego Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said. "It means we're focusing on genuine solutions to improve emergency response times in south University City."

The announcement drew praise from environmental and community groups.

"I applaud Mayor Faulconer for taking action to protect our environment, parks and open space. And I thank Council President Pro Tem Lightner for championing this issue on the City Council," said Deborah Knight, Friends of Rose Canyon Executive Director. "The bridge would seriously impact Rose Canyon Open Space Park, and removing it from the community plan will help us preserve this land for generations to come."

"Our community has been looking for leadership from City Hall, and we are looking forward to putting this divisive issue behind us," University Community Planning Group Chair Janay Kruger said. "We have many transportation projects and systems that have come online or are in the process of being built since the bridge was first added to our community plan in 1987. These include the new I-5 and Genesee interchange, the mid-coast trolley line that will connect to University Town Center, the SuperLoop bus system, and private and public shuttles. Our driving patterns have changed and now they need to be studied to bring our circulation plan and community plan up to date."

CONTACT: Matt Awbrey (619) 453-9913 or [email protected]