Adding a controversial connector road in Mission Valley's Civita came to a North Park Public Facilities committee (part of the area planning group) Wednesday night for review for its potential effect on Texas Street traffic. The group voted unanimously in support of the city plan to finish constructing a long-planned connector road from the western edge of the 230-acre development to the 805.
"It's in North Park's interest for that connection road to be put in," said panel member Dionne Carlson. "It will also allow people in surrounding residential areas to access the park."
At first glance, the addition of the four lane connector road far from North Park doesn't seem like a neighborhood issue. The north-south connector on the west side of the 805 would connect the northwest part of Civita to Phyllis Place, which connects to Murray Ridge and the 805 ramps. But there are few ways out of Civita, and the effect of the complex on Texas Street traffic was included in the environmental review for the project as a whole.
Carlson explained that having other ways out of Mission Valley will matter a great deal in an emergency, like a fire or flooding. In a strong earthquake, she noted, the ground beneath the development may be subject to liquefaction.
Residents fear that the connector will turn Civita into a quick shortcut around the intersection of the 805 and the 8. Though the road is part of the original plan in 2004, residents have fought it for years.
"Civita will be impacted by heavy volumes of non-stop regional traffic diminishing the community’s walkability, pedestrian safety, village character, and environmental quality," the website says. "The high traffic on the streets of Murray Ridge in Serra Mesa, Texas Street in North Park, and Mission Village Road in Serra Mesa have diminished the quality of life for those residents."
Civita is one of the largest master-planned communities in recent San Diego history. It has 4,500 homes and more than a million square feet of retail and commercial space. It was one of the first density/infill projects when development policies changed to embrace infill rather than sprawl.
The project's park, a 14-acre, $20 million amenity intended for all regional residents (not just for Civita) opened at the end of April and has been widely praised and heralded. Not all the features are completed.
The area where Franklin Ridge Road will connect has already been graded, panel member Rene Vidales said. It is about 300 to 400 feet long.