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The Mission Valley corridor has been said to one of San Diego's burgeoning communities. A January 31 UT-San Diego article touted the valley's bustling shopping malls and retail stores, mixed-use communities, and proximity to the trolley.

The valley, also home to the UT-San Diego, will soon be the site of the massive master-planned community, Civita, a 230-acre mixed-use development project north of Interstate 8, between State Route 163 and Interstate 805.

And while the new development will cement Mission Valley's spot on the list of flourishing areas in San Diego, many Serra Mesa residents are trying to prevent the construction of Franklin Ridge Road, a four-lane street linking the two communities.

The proposed road extends from Phyllis Place in Serra Mesa to Civita's northern boundary and will provide access to Interstate 805. But the road will also bring something else to Serra Mesa: traffic. Due to the increased congestion, the Serra Mesa Planning Group voted against the road connection. In fact, the Franklin Ridge Road has long been a dividing line for Serra Mesa residents.

On February 7, many of those residents will have a chance to voice their grievances at a City meeting, the first step in amending the community plan to make way for the road.

James Feinberg, vice-chair of the Serra Mesa Planning Group, supports the development but opposes the road. He says the extension will actually bring more traffic to both communities as well as to Interstate 805 and believes making traffic improvements to Mission Valley makes more sense.

"Based on the traffic studies, it's not beneficial for Serra Mesa residents or for people living in Civita. It's going to be an extra 25,000 [average daily trips]. It will essentially double the wait times getting on Interstate-805 and increase congestion.

The residents in Civita will have a much harder time on the feeder roads and getting out of the community and the people living in Serra Mesa will have a much harder time getting through their community and getting on the freeway."

Feinberg and others plan to attend the scoping meeting, which will be held at Serra Mesa Branch Library at 6pm on February 7.

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Overhead view of Quarry Falls from City's staff report

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Image of Civita from http://www.sudprop.com/

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Comments

Brian_T_Peterson_DVM Jan. 31, 2012 @ 3:24 p.m.

This is from the “Environmental Initial Study” for this road-connection project: “The current configuration of the street system in the southern part of Serra Mesa and the surrounding area contributes to the congestion of arterial roadways and the surrounding freeway system.”

However, we know that this proposed road connection is all about mitigating traffic impacts from the Quarry Falls (now Civitas) development in Mission Valley. It is not about Serra Mesa. We know this, because when then District 7 City Councilman Jim Madaffer made the motion in favor of Quarry Falls, the motion included initiating the Serra Mesa community plan amendment to allow for this road connection. (By the way, why wasn’t Donna Frye, who represented Mission Valley at the time, allowed to make the motion at City Council?)

This statement in the Environmental Initial Study has the ring of a “presumptive conclusion” to it. This is like the Grantville settlement agreement, which will shunt $31 million of Grantville’s property tax to downtown to pay for C Street trolley improvements. According to the City, the C Street trolley improvement is a Grantville improvement. Because the City Council said so, it is presumed true. Here, Serra Mesa traffic demands road connections to Mission Valley, because the Planning Department says so.

The environmental documents for the Phyllis Place road connection should at least be honest and say this road connection is all about Mission Valley traffic—not Serra Mesa’s traffic. If it were not for the massive Civitas/Quarry Falls development, this road connection would not be a consideration. And we know that the Mission Valley traffic coming up this road will only make Serra Mesa traffic worse—especially as it relates to the arterial roadways in Serra Mesa.

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Ponzi Jan. 31, 2012 @ 7:57 p.m.

The connection should be denied. Even much smaller developments have been denied access to older communities because of traffic impacts. Here is an example: In the master planned Fashion Hills and Vista townhome community project built in 1981-83, Fashion Hills Blvd. ends is a cul-de-sac rather than continue onto Acheson St. in Linda Vista.

The older communities should enjoy the neighborhood they bought into and live in without such a major disruption. For the majority of residents in Serra Mesa, they would have never had a disclosure or indication that this massive development would spill thousands of hectic commuters onto their streets. It was a cement and gravel quarry when most took up residence.

It is absolutely unfair to the community of Serra Mesa to try and connect it to that massive mess of Civita and the rest of Mission Valley. There are other routes from Serra Mesa to Mission Valley such as Highway 163, Highway 15, Mission Center Road, and Mission Village Drive that comes straight down through Serra Mesa to the stadium.

When a developer builds out a site, they usually put in all the roads. If this one was meant to be, it should have already connected. But what the developer chooses to do was wait until it started building and then use its momentum and buyers to start and bitch about the lack of a connection.

Now for my rant: Disclosure: I do not live in that community. I live in Del Mar. But I used to live in Fashion Hills and I know the valley well enough to know I would not want to live there today. And especially not when Shea Homes is done dumping those Stairmaster (I say that because most are narrow with 3 to 4 stories) file folders of a townhome on the public. Last I looked $400,000 could buy you a nice single-family home in a less congested neighborhood. The Civita is mod and chic, but if you want to raise a family and not spend your life in traffic jams near the Stadium and Fashion Valley mall, don’t buy there. If you plan on raising a family, go look in La Mesa, Spring Valley or somewhere that you can own a home for $400,000 instead of a shoebox. There my rant is done.

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Visduh Jan. 31, 2012 @ 8:39 p.m.

This reminds me of a "street connection that never was." As Tierrasanta was built out, the street of the same name was cut over the area as an east-west arterial/collector street. Many buyers of homes in Tierrasanta wanted an access/egress to the east, and assumed that one would be provided. Otherwise the access to that large 'hood was strictly from the west either using Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Balboa Ave, or Aero Drive. Oh, eventually there was Santo Road to the north and its connection with Hwy 52. But no connection to the east. Look in your Thomas Bros Guide, and you'll see that Tierrasanta Blvd reaches very close to the San Diego River in Mission Gorge and lines up (?) with Princess View Drive in the Mission Gorge/Allied Gardens area. Why doesn't it connect? It was planned to connect, and if it were to have happened would have been 20-30 years ago. Why not? It doesn't take a degree in rocket science to see that if the connection (a bridge/overpass crossing the river) were built, it would have become an instant bypass for traffic on Mission Gorge Road to access Kearney Mesa. As in lots and lots of traffic on a street that went through an area that didn't want lots and lots of traffic. Without any big noise, that connection was never built. Now that 52 cuts through to the north, maybe that bypass wouldn't be such a big deal, but why take a chance? Not every possible connection of streets has to be built. In many cases they don't improve traffic flow for the users, but can ruin the neighborhood character.

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bsavall Feb. 1, 2012 @ 10:27 p.m.

I am glad to see that the Reader and other news sources are picking up on an issue that is relevant to many San Diegans; namely the development of Mission Valley and the impact on the surrounding communities. At over 230 acres, the Civita project is nearly the same size as Balboa Park and with the addition of over 16,000 Civita residents will have a severe impact on the area.

With access to the trolley lines and the untapped natural resource of the San Diego River, Mission Valley has a lot to offer. However, I would not describe Mission Valley as "flourishing" as stated in the article. MV is certainly bustling, and burgeoning, and maybe even thriving on some level. But with NO parks, NO schools, NO fire stations, and NO community events in Mission Valley, it can hardly be described as "flourishing".

If Mission Valley continues to grow without responsible planning, twenty years from now I predict that "festering" will be the appropriate adjective to describe Mission Valley. Let's not let that happen San Diego; get involved and let your voice be heard.

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Sciens Feb. 4, 2012 @ 12:07 p.m.

Dear San Diego Residents,

To my mind the Civita project is going to be a tragic development to the city of San Diego. The corny representatives and greedy developers that got this pushed through without proper support are going to freeze up our freeway system right in the middle of San Diego and are in the process of robbing the citizens of life in this city for many many years to come. All in the name of making a fast buck – much like ripping a stereo out of an expensive car to get ten bucks while causing thousands of dollars of damage. I am very grateful that the Reader is providing a form to inform others. I have found that many other media outlets in the city get advertisement from the developers and will not touch reporting on what is coming down the road.

Because of the likes of Civita no more will San Diego enjoy the relatively un-congested traffic most times of the days it has for many years. Even though our traffic flow has slowly degraded over the years, you have not experienced anything close to what is coming --- think of the worst parts of LA traffic.

In the EIR study for this project Cal Trans informed the city that they should NOT allow this development to take place unless the developer FIRST improved the surrounding freeway interchanges. Moreover, likely anticipating the very high costs of doing that, Cal Trans strongly recommended that the city not take any payment in place of making these improvements. And informed them that without these improvements the city’s freeway system would be unacceptably impacted. With 163 already rated an “F” at rush hour and I805 and I8 not far behind, it is considered to be very poor judgment and outlined to be strongly ill-advised to further impact a freeway system with such ratings without making significant improvements to alleviate further congestion and degradation of traffic. So what did the city cronies do? They accepted a fee instead from the developers in exchange for permits to build and did nothing significant to improve the freeway system. Not only that, further studies on improving the freeway and traffic infrastructure have bared out that the costs of the needed improvements are prohibitively expensive and are unlikely to ever happen (city can not afford them so they are just pocketing the paltry fee). So now the developer is building like crazy to get in what it can in before the citizens of the city realize they have been bilked with no infrastructure in place to support the monstrous project the developer is creating. Funny thing too is that the developer is trying to favorably spin the fact that they made payments to improve the roadway system in the area when the truth is the crony deal left them off the hook for most of the real costs of making the project viable.

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Sciens Feb. 4, 2012 @ 12:10 p.m.

The road of issue is simply a last ditch effort to put in place some kind of road to provide service to the development. Without that road the area will be grid-locked every day far worse than even Christmas time with commutes just to get across Mission Valley running up to an hour or more and all this gridlock filling into the exit and on-ramps to the freeways backing up our freeways. Friars and surrounding roads in the area have turn lanes established for 4 to 6 vehicles per stop light cycle. When tens of hundreds of cars try to make use of these routes it will take long cycles of lights for people just to get on and off roads, while the people behind will be stuck not being able to get around the people turning pushing gridlock everywhere.

Likewise this developer touts itself as building a green community in the middle of San Diego while behind the scenes in back-rooms it is trying to force the elimination of bicycle lanes on our roadways in the areas to create massive four lanes of traffic flow.

Indeed citizens, you are about to live in LA. All because we have let our politicians once again get away stealing from the community to help their friends make a fast buck off you...when are we going to put a stop to it?

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Dicken Feb. 4, 2012 @ 7:55 p.m.

The Mission Valley Planning Group (MVPG)is one of the wealthiest planning groups in the City of San Diego, and as such, has a lot of political power with the Planning Department staff, who take their lead from Jerry Sanders, our soon-to-be-ex-mayor (due to term limitations).

In the February 2, 2012 issue of the Reader, Dorian Hargrove, in an article entitled "Let's Build an Even Bigger Nuisance" points out another area where the city's Development Services (the new name for the Planning Department) "..is willing to ignore its own rules about zoning.." in North Park, just as it has with the Serra Mesa Planning Group's (SMPG) stated opposition to the road connection to Phyllis Place. Money talks, yea SHOUTS, in the halls of all the City offices.

The MVPG has been reluctant to acknowledge, even ignoring, any adjoining planning group's desires, when those desires conflict with the MVPG ideas. The SMPG's founding documents, set forth in 1975 (seven years before the founding of MVPG) stated that we wanted NO CONNECTION to Mission Valley, other than Mission Center Road, and we still feel that way. The Abbots Hill neighborhood is a nice, quiet, peaceful area, isolated by I-805 from the rest of Serra Mesa, with only 218 single-family houses and one church with 57 senior's apartments. This neighborhood will be destroyed by adding some 25,000 daily trips through it to access the I-805 freeway, just because the MVPG wanted the extra income from the thousands of residents to increase their power in the city.

Typical of Jerry Sanders' rule, MONEY is the dominant factor in virtually any decision, whether it is a road connection that no one wants, or a Jack-in-the-Box that inflames a community, or a stadium that will be used only about a dozen days a year, and displaces many homes and businesses. In the Environmental Impact Report for Quarry Falls (Civita), it is pointed out that the couple of hundred homes fronting on the connecting roads will face a nightmare in the morning, trying to back out into a street on such a steep grade with more than a thousand cars on those streets, trying to access the freeway. Not to mention the smell from those thousands of automobile exhausts that will be polluting the atmosphere. But, NOTHING is as important as the MONEY for the planning group - - and the mayor.

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