After years of controversy and division between residents, Council President and District 1 Councilman Scott Peters decided it was time to lay the issue to rest. University City (UC) needs traffic relief, better emergency response times and evacuation routes, he said.
"Growth should be built with the infrastructure to support it," Peters said.
The community cannot pick and choose the projects it likes in the community plan or the entire system will break down, Peters said. The Regents Road Bridge and Genesee Avenue Widening projects were placed in the community plan in 1959.
Peters split the 245-seat chamber between bridge proponents and opponents, with 53 people in the overflow room. The community spoke with conviction, tears and facts for three hours about the positive and negative effects of the bridge.
Peters hopes that despite the divide, the community will work together to design the structure.
"Everyone is right," Peters said, dismissing accusations of NIMBYism.
"Of course you're NIMBYs," Peters said. "That's your job. You're looking out for your neighborhood and that's fine with me."
Peters moved to adopt Mayor Jerry Sanders' recommendation to build the $36 million bridge and remove the Genesee Avenue Widening option from the community plan.
He also proposed an additional $4 million for mitigation measures and access improvements to the canyon. He called for the city to hire an architect experienced in designing bridges over canyons or lagoons to improve the aesthetic quality of the structure.
Facility Benefit Assessment (FBA) fees, collected from developers in the area, will pay for the bridge.
Council members Donna Frye and Toni Atkins opposed the motion.
"I'm not convinced that it will accomplish what you believe it will accomplish," Frye said.
Council members attested that they had received thousands of e-mails over the issue. The council reviewed the UC North/South Transportation Corridor Study that assessed seven alternatives for relieving congestion in the community, which included building the four-lane bridge and widening Genesee Avenue to six lanes.
The University Community Planning Group, UC's advisory board, recommended the "Limited Roadway Changes" alternative that would add turn lanes to the Genesee Avenue/SR-52 intersection and Governor Drive/Genesee Avenue intersection.
To view the six-hour meeting, visit www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil and click on Video Archives or see Minutes.