4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

University City’s politics of traffic

University City

University City encompasses the Golden Triangle (Highway 52 on the south and the I-5 and I-805 merge on the north) as well as much land around UCSD, the biotech firms on North Torrey Pines Road, and portions just east of I-805 near Mira Mesa Boulevard. According to San Diego magazine, three times more people live in north University City than in south University City. (In group terms, that's students/researchers versus families/retirees.) Traffic tie-ups are regular now at Genesee and I-5 and on Genesee from Nobel Drive south to the 52. Along this stretch, condos grow unmercifully.

Every weekday afternoon, the cars flee the offices and the malls of UTC, Costa Verde, and Eastgate. Seventy-five percent of the traffic on Genesee is "through movement," that is, nonlocal. Cars nose toward freeways and queue; in the argot of traffic engineers, intersections fail. It's gotten so bad that the community is polarized: you're either with the traffic-congestion relievers or you're with the traffic congestion.

To ease the crush, a bridge to connect Regents Road over Rose Canyon is being studied, a possibility most who live on the south and west sides of University City oppose. Including Debby Knight. Knight, who chairs Friends of Rose Canyon, meets me where Regents dead-ends on the south side of the canyon, just two blocks north of Governor. Knight is a tanned and talkative woman who leads walks into Rose Canyon Open Space Park, one of only ten such parks in the city. She has me look across the canyon to the other end of Regents, just above the railroad tracks, home of the Coaster. The breach is a good quarter mile.

Before us is a great dinosaur-back hill on whose mesa top sit several homes. To build the bridge, the city must cut a 70-foot chunk out of that hill and shore up what's exposed with a massive retaining wall. The bridge will be built on pilings sunk into the canyon. In all, it's a cut-and-fill road-and-bridge project estimated to handle 27,000 cars a day, at a cost of $28 million.

As we descend into Knight's "pristine Rose Canyon," I ask what'll be lost. The habitat of red-shouldered hawks and great horned owls; a five-year native-plant restoration project; field trips for elementary schoolkids; paths worn by joggers, bikers, hikers.

Instead of this bridge, other proposals seek to widen Genesee from four lanes to six or to build a "grade separation," a tunnel that shunts north-south traffic under the intersection at Genesee and Governor. Knight abhors these alternatives. In fact, alternatives only ensure the community will battle itself over a cynical rationale: "Don't give us the bad-road project; give another part of the community the bad-road project."

Developer George Lattimer is past president of the University City Community Planning Group, an advisory body of 18 members split between residents and businesspeople or landowners, 5 of whom live outside the community. Lattimer lives in La Jolla and, with his wife, owns an office building in north University City. He tells me by phone that the congestion is unstoppable for now, since the community — 95 percent "built out" — must abide by its 1987 approved community plan. Already in the wings are 2100 new dwellings (the majority condos), 3.25 million square feet of nonresidential buildings, and a half million square feet of structures at UCSD, whose student population will top out at 30,000. University City, he says, is San Diego's biggest success: the 150 high-tech and telecom businesses and the research done at UCSD are "the engine of this region's economy."

And yet, like Knight, Lattimer has seen traffic issues "massively divide" the community. He, too, favors none of the bridge or road-widening solutions, because for him the primary problem is "getting onto and off of the freeways." He points out that the Regents bridge may shift cars from one part of University City to another, but it won't improve traffic flow onto 52. Drivers will still have to stop at a ramp meter, the cars will back up into University City, and the Governor-Genesee problem will have been largely reproduced in another location. In short, the problem is the number of cars, not how they are routed.

Lattimer contends that in University City "through movement" is remaking our idea of community. University City has morphed from a suburban enclave into an urban one; only 46,000 people live there while 80,000 nonresidents arrive daily for jobs or shopping. University City now serves that regional identity, facing — as much as downtown San Diego does in its boom — a new self-definition: home is no longer the place we sleep but the place we work and the roads that get us there and take us away.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Santa Anas come in from high-pressure area over Nevada or Utah

Go to Cuyamaca or Palomar to get relief
Next Article

Why did Faulconer get so much cash from farmers and oilmen?

San Diego looking to replace Patton Boggs as D.C. lobbyist
University City

University City encompasses the Golden Triangle (Highway 52 on the south and the I-5 and I-805 merge on the north) as well as much land around UCSD, the biotech firms on North Torrey Pines Road, and portions just east of I-805 near Mira Mesa Boulevard. According to San Diego magazine, three times more people live in north University City than in south University City. (In group terms, that's students/researchers versus families/retirees.) Traffic tie-ups are regular now at Genesee and I-5 and on Genesee from Nobel Drive south to the 52. Along this stretch, condos grow unmercifully.

Every weekday afternoon, the cars flee the offices and the malls of UTC, Costa Verde, and Eastgate. Seventy-five percent of the traffic on Genesee is "through movement," that is, nonlocal. Cars nose toward freeways and queue; in the argot of traffic engineers, intersections fail. It's gotten so bad that the community is polarized: you're either with the traffic-congestion relievers or you're with the traffic congestion.

To ease the crush, a bridge to connect Regents Road over Rose Canyon is being studied, a possibility most who live on the south and west sides of University City oppose. Including Debby Knight. Knight, who chairs Friends of Rose Canyon, meets me where Regents dead-ends on the south side of the canyon, just two blocks north of Governor. Knight is a tanned and talkative woman who leads walks into Rose Canyon Open Space Park, one of only ten such parks in the city. She has me look across the canyon to the other end of Regents, just above the railroad tracks, home of the Coaster. The breach is a good quarter mile.

Before us is a great dinosaur-back hill on whose mesa top sit several homes. To build the bridge, the city must cut a 70-foot chunk out of that hill and shore up what's exposed with a massive retaining wall. The bridge will be built on pilings sunk into the canyon. In all, it's a cut-and-fill road-and-bridge project estimated to handle 27,000 cars a day, at a cost of $28 million.

As we descend into Knight's "pristine Rose Canyon," I ask what'll be lost. The habitat of red-shouldered hawks and great horned owls; a five-year native-plant restoration project; field trips for elementary schoolkids; paths worn by joggers, bikers, hikers.

Instead of this bridge, other proposals seek to widen Genesee from four lanes to six or to build a "grade separation," a tunnel that shunts north-south traffic under the intersection at Genesee and Governor. Knight abhors these alternatives. In fact, alternatives only ensure the community will battle itself over a cynical rationale: "Don't give us the bad-road project; give another part of the community the bad-road project."

Developer George Lattimer is past president of the University City Community Planning Group, an advisory body of 18 members split between residents and businesspeople or landowners, 5 of whom live outside the community. Lattimer lives in La Jolla and, with his wife, owns an office building in north University City. He tells me by phone that the congestion is unstoppable for now, since the community — 95 percent "built out" — must abide by its 1987 approved community plan. Already in the wings are 2100 new dwellings (the majority condos), 3.25 million square feet of nonresidential buildings, and a half million square feet of structures at UCSD, whose student population will top out at 30,000. University City, he says, is San Diego's biggest success: the 150 high-tech and telecom businesses and the research done at UCSD are "the engine of this region's economy."

And yet, like Knight, Lattimer has seen traffic issues "massively divide" the community. He, too, favors none of the bridge or road-widening solutions, because for him the primary problem is "getting onto and off of the freeways." He points out that the Regents bridge may shift cars from one part of University City to another, but it won't improve traffic flow onto 52. Drivers will still have to stop at a ramp meter, the cars will back up into University City, and the Governor-Genesee problem will have been largely reproduced in another location. In short, the problem is the number of cars, not how they are routed.

Lattimer contends that in University City "through movement" is remaking our idea of community. University City has morphed from a suburban enclave into an urban one; only 46,000 people live there while 80,000 nonresidents arrive daily for jobs or shopping. University City now serves that regional identity, facing — as much as downtown San Diego does in its boom — a new self-definition: home is no longer the place we sleep but the place we work and the roads that get us there and take us away.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

All is not wonderful where Amazon set up in Tijuana

La Nueva Esperanza dwellers expect evictions, property taxes
Next Article

Santa Anas come in from high-pressure area over Nevada or Utah

Go to Cuyamaca or Palomar to get relief
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close