Road Closures and Redirecting Vehicular Traffic

| March 1, 2015 | 10 Comments

The Impact To Mission Hills and Hillcrest Businesses and Residents

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Over the last couple of months, I have been fielding phone calls and emails from concerned business owners, residents and organizational leaders regarding road closures and redirecting vehicular traffic to accommodate new bike paths, primarily in Hillcrest and Mission Hills. The individuals who have contacted me have shared their frustration with a bike corridor plan that appears to be moving forward without necessary community input and impact analysis.

Some business owners who I reached out to have said they heard of the plan, but “never in their wildest dreams did they think this would happen. It doesn’t make sense.”

One of the major bike corridor elements being proposed is to close off a section of University Avenue, and redirecting traffic to Washington Street. Residents south of Washington Street and University Avenue have been meeting to discuss how this came about and what they can do to change this plan.

Recently, I attended a meeting that included Janet O’Dea of Powers Plumbing (Mission Hills resident and business owner), Kimberly Edwards and Carol Wilson (South Mission Hills residents), Uptown Planners board members: Bob Daniel (Mission Hills resident) and Jennifer Pesqueira (Mission Hills business owner). Also present was Andy Pendoley, project manager with MIG, a consulting firm for SANDAG.

During the meeting, Andy Pendoley announced that he is a community outreach consultant for the project and was present to explain the bike corridor plan. After showing very detailed renderings and a formal presentation, the individuals identified above asked about modifying the plan based on community input. Pendoley said that the communities impacted had been notified and that organizations representing said communities had offered their input and support.

Both Bob Daniel and Jennifer Pesqueira stated that the Uptown Planners had not endorsed the plan and had asked for further studies.

The other organizations Pendoley referred to were the Mission Hills BID, Mission Hills Heritage and Mission Hills Town Council. All of us present at this meeting said we were not aware of any endorsement by these organizations.

Previously I spoke to Barry Hager, board chair for Mission Hills Heritage (MHH), regarding the bike corridor. He informed me that the MHH had asked for more studies and had not given their endorsement.

In a conversation with Trish Watlington, president of the Mission Hills BID, she said that the board proposed a bike path on Washington Street and to not close University Avenue. They were also interested in a further study.

In a conversation with Leo Wilson, administrator for the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation, they are opposed to numerous elements of the bike corridor proposal and are preparing an alternative plan to be presented to SANDAG, Councilman Todd Gloria, Mayor Faulconer and the City Council.

At this time, the only organization to endorse the plan is the Mission Hills Town Council (MHTC). We have learned that only ten people were present at the time the vote took place and they appear to support the “engineering aspect” of the plan. However, on its website, there is a statement in support of the plan: Work with SANDAG/City of San Diego to encourage early implementation of the proposed University Avenue Uptown Bike Corridor.

What seriously concerns me about the message by the MHTC is that the residents in Mission Hills weren’t polled for their input. And, I ask, why didn’t this occur? Ten votes at a meeting doesn’t represent the “voice of Mission Hills.”

When I was a trustee for the MHTC we polled the community about street lights before we moved forward to install them. This is much more impactful and can seriously affect the quality of life in Mission Hills (north and south).

With the exception of the Mission Hills Town Council, all of the other organizations have stated, “It’s time to step back and do some very important studies to determine the impact to the communities (business and residential) that the proposed bike corridor plan proposes.”

SANDAG is planning a community meeting on Thursday, April 23, 2015. Time and location is still being confirmed. I encourage you to attend this meeting and provide your feedback.

To learn more and offer your comments, visit

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