Serra Mesa neighbors push back next protected bike lanes as traffic surges from Snapdragon Stadium

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The city plans to reduce traffic lanes and install a protected bike lane on Mission Village Drive in Serra Mesa. Neighbors say the city refuses to listen.

SAN DIEGO — Residents of Serra Mesa say the city is moving forward with plans to narrow traffic lanes along parts of Mission Village Drive, one of the community’s main thoroughfares, in order to make space for protected cycle paths.

The proposed redesign of Mission Village Drive will cost the city nearly $1.4 million. According to the website, the improvements include new sidewalks, retaining walls, protective ramps, new crosswalks, as well as a protected bike path along parts of Mission Village Drive. Work is due to start in October.

Improvements will come as residents begin to see more traffic from Snapdragon Stadium and years before the stadium site is even built.

According to plans, the uphill section of Mission Village Drive from Friars Road to Ronda Avenue will remain a four-lane road with an average of 13,960 vehicle trips per day. Starting at Ronda Avenue, the city plans to halve the number of lanes, to a two-lane road with a separate bike lane and parking lane alongside.

Residents say the proposal is misguided. The steep climb keeps many cyclists away from Mission Village Drive. And reducing the lanes from a four-lane street to two lanes will only cause traffic jams and make it harder for neighbors to come and go from their homes.

Dennis Yard has lived in Serra Mesa for 36 years. Yard understands the need to address climate change, but says few cyclists use Mission Village Drive due to the steepness. It’s the morning and evening commute that will get worse when the bike lanes come in.

“In the mornings and evenings, this road is already clogged with people using Mission Village as a shortcut to get to Friars and the highway. It’s only going to get worse,” Yard said.

Yard says he and other neighbors are concerned that few cyclists are using the road and that the narrowing of lanes will create a traffic jam that has fallen on deaf ears.

“It was a change that was going to happen whether we liked it or not, as long as it was in line for them to try and tackle climate change,” Yard added. I’m quite angry actually. We feel like we’re not being listened to by the person who was elected to be our representative.”

To make matters worse, residents say event staff at Snapdragon Stadium are routing drivers to Mission Village Drive during game days, which they were told would not happen. And with construction in western San Diego far from complete, other Serra Mesa residents fear what will happen to their community.

“They should have engaged with the community better, asking us what potential issues we see because we live here, we see what’s going on every day,” resident Jeremy Lopez-Decot said. “I would have liked them to work with us to see how we are going to solve these problems.”

Lopez-Decot added, “The neighborhood isn’t afraid of a little traffic once in a while, but now we’re talking about constant traffic. This is just the beginning of what’s to come in this domain.”

At a community meeting on September 8, residents raised their concerns with City Council member Raul Campillo.

Neighbors said they wanted more time to discuss potential impacts with the city.

District 7 council member Raul Campillo said the changes were necessary to ensure pedestrian safety while addressing the need to get people out of cars and bikes and public transport.

“Ensuring the public safety of everyone in the community is always my number one priority,” council member Campillo told CBS 8. from parents of children who attend neighborhood schools This traffic calming measure will reduce speeds as many residents have requested Two lanes of traffic in each direction from Rhonda Avenue to Friars Road Lanes will narrow to one lane in each direction north of Rhonda to ensure on-street parking remains in place for residents who live along this portion of Mission Village Drive.

City spokesman Anthony Santacroce told CBS 8 the city has worked long and hard in hopes of protecting pedestrians in the area. Santacroce says the new lanes and the reduced lanes should come as no surprise.

“After extensive study and planning, and after written and in-person contact with Council District 7 with the Serra Mesa Planning Group and the public, the upcoming city works will resurface and re-scratch Mission Village Drive from Ronda Avenue to Ruffin Road, providing a smoother street and safer passage for people on bicycles and other means of mobility in this important corridor,” Santacroce said. “The end result will add buffered bike lanes, will close a gap in the cycling network, keep all on-street parking and calm high-speed traffic, improving safety for all road users.”

Regarding traffic impacts from Snapdragon Stadium, a spokesperson for San Diego State University told CBS 8 that they encourage fans to try using alternate routes or use the tram to get to and from matches.

“We recognize that as part of Game 1, fans relied too heavily on the main entrance and exit to the venue, which may have contributed to a buildup of vehicles on Mission Village Drive,” the spokesperson said. the university. “However, we have since modified operations and more directly promoted alternative entries and exits to reduce this issue, and the game on Saturday 10 September saw traffic which was significantly reduced.”

The spokesperson told CBS 8 that traffic will only improve as more people learn about alternative modes of transportation to the new stadium and after an exit at Fenton Parkway is completed the next year.

“Although SDSU did not promise that Mission Village Drive would not be used in the same manner as it has been for over 60 years, the university has indicated that other measures will be encouraged. Snapdragon Stadium will continue to work hard to improve operations as fans reacquaint themselves with the site after a nearly three-year hiatus.”

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