On Thursday, August 24, San Diego's planning commissioners will consider a proposal to build a freeway connector from Mission Valley through the heart of one of San Diego's largest master-planned communities and into Serra Mesa.
The road, which would run from Friars Road in Mission Valley to Phyllis Place in Serra Mesa, has been on the city's drawing board for a number of years. However, planners and developers shelved the plan in 2008 when developer Sudberry Properties announced plans to build a 230-acre, two-billion-dollar mixed-use development named Civita.
In order to push the project through, Sudberry touted Civita as the future of Mission Valley development, a transit- and pedestrian-oriented community. City officials praised the plan as fitting perfectly into its "City of Villages" planning strategy, aimed at taking people out of their cars and onto sidewalks and bike lanes.
In April 2016, the city announced its plans to build the freeway connector straight through the community. Residents were stunned.
They formed a group, Save Civita, to oppose the project. Their efforts soon gained traction. The group says they conducted surveys and found more than 400 homeowners in Civita oppose the connector road.
Since 2016, community planning groups in Mission Valley and Serra Mesa recommended the city not proceed with construction. They say the road does not provide a quicker route to Interstate 805 and instead will turn the walkable, transit-friendly community into a pedestrian death trap, with more than 34,000 cars running through Civita.
In May of this year, after hearing complaints from Mission Valley and Serra Mesa residents, North Park's planning group decided to remain neutral.
"Civita is a thriving, growing neighborhood with residents bicycling, exercising, walking with toddlers and pets, and pushing baby strollers," reads a report from Civita residents that will be presented at Thursday's hearing.
"This community cannot successfully serve two diametrically opposed purposes. It cannot be a safe, walkable dense urban village, designed in the mode of a self-contained live, work play environment, and be a conduit for freeway traffic at the same time."
Adds the report, "Civita should be a neighborhood and a destination, not a short-cut directed by GPS."
The planning commission meets at 9 a.m. in city hall.