A group of San Diego residents is suing the City of San Diego for deleting long-term plans to build the Regents Road bridge from the University City Community Plan.
The proposed bridge, in discussion for four decades, would provide drivers and pedestrians with another north and south bound link by spanning Rose Canyon. Not all University City residents have supported the bridge. During the past 40 years, some neighbors objected due to the environmental impacts the bridge would have on the canyon while others claimed the true impact to the environment would occur by allowing current traffic congestion to remain on Genesee Avenue.
In recent years the debate intensified as the city moved forward with updating the University City community plan. In September 2014 the city's planning commission recommended initiating the environmental studies needed in order to proceed with the community plan update but without the bridge component included.
By June 2016 the environmental studies were completed. Engineers who wrote the report found that deleting the bridge from the plan would pose "significant and unmitigated environmental impacts" in regards to greenhouse gas pollution, traffic, and noise.
But supporters of the bridge were not without some victory. Seeking compromise, planning commissioners in October 2016 recommended that the bridge be placed back into the plan while an accompanying measure to widen Genesee Avenue be excluded.
The following month, a council committee forwarded the recommendation to the city council.
On December 5, 2016, the city council met to sign off on the proposed amendment. After several hours of testimony, the council, in a six to two vote, rejected the commission's proposal and decided to move forward with the update without the bridge and without the widening of Genesee Avenue.
Now, the city must defend the city council's action. The lawsuit contends that the council's last-minute change violates the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to address the impacts created by deleting both the bridge and plans to widen Genessee Avenue. The complaint also alleges the council failed to examine the impacts that would be created in surrounding neighborhoods if the Regents Road bridge were built.
The complaint points out that the Regents Road bridge was included in the city's bicycle master plan as well as San Diego's "City of Villages" planning approach.
The petitioners are asking a judge to halt the implementation of the amendment and perform the necessary environmental studies needed to advance the plan. The case will make its way through San Diego Superior Court.