Jeff Clemetson | Editor
The members of the Navajo Community Planners (NCPI), especially those who represent Grantville, are frustrated with the process to update neighboring Mission Valley’s community plan.
At its Feb. 14 meeting, the NCPI board voted to send a letter to San Diego city planners, traffic engineers, City Council members, SANDAG, the Mission Valley Planning Group and even officials from outlying cities like Santee requesting that the Mission Valley community plan update (CPU) include studies on how its vastly increased density housing will affect traffic along the borders of Mission Valley.
“I noticed there was a lack of concern for traffic in the Grantville area, considering the fact that Qualcomm is going to be developed by someone big or the university. The roads that we have east-west will be severely impacted,” said NCPI board member Dan Smith. Smith, along with a small contingent of board members and citizens from Navajo neighborhoods, attended meetings of the Mission Valley Planning Group (MVPG) as well as its subcommittee overseeing the CPU.
“They don’t seem to care about anything east of [Interstate 15], and I raised that as an issue,” Smith continued. “It made me realize they aren’t considering our neighborhood. There’s a lot of land between Qualcomm and Grantville and we need to have some roadways studied there, not just down around Hotel Circle.”
Former NCPI board member Jay Wilson, who also went with the Navajo contingent, said he learned that the traffic studies for the Mission Valley CPU are conducted by SANDAG using the data provided by the city. Currently, the traffic studies done for the six alternatives for Mission Valley’s CPU stop at the east end of the San Diego River as it goes toward Twain Avenue, according to Wilson.
“But it includes bike paths on San Diego Mission Road, because [they believe] increased bicycle traffic will cut down on cars,” Wilson said. “They’re implying that there’s no real plan to do anything with that road.”
San Diego Mission Road will require some work done to accommodate the bikes because it floods, is very narrow already and the plan calls for adding bike lanes, Wilson added.
“[The Mission Valley CPU] really needs a strong analysis to look at the thoroughfares,” he said.
According to the city, that analysis will be done, but it may not be as “strong” as the NCPI board would like.
“Planned land uses for adjacent communities are included in the SANDAG regional model being used for the Mission Valley CPU,” said Arian Collins, supervising public information officer for the city of San Diego. “The analysis will include evaluating future conditions on freeways, roadways, intersections, bicycle facilities and pedestrian facilities within the community of Mission Valley and into the areas of the adjacent communities where there is circulation and interaction between the two communities.
“It is the city’s practice for conducting CPU mobility studies and traffic impacts studies to include projected land uses throughout the region in the travel forecast model, and to study roadway segment and intersections beyond the community boundary,” he continued. “The intention is to adequately study the area being planned to identify needed improvements.”
The Mission Valley CPU Final Mobility Existing Conditions Report, which was released in June of last year, show the boundaries of the traffic study area. Maps show the study area does extend east of Interstate 15, but barely. The traffic study area in the eastern section of the map is confined to west of the San Diego River along Friars and San Diego Mission roads; south of Friars Road on Interstate 15 and Rancho Mission Road; west of Mission Gorge Road on Camino del Rio North, Interstate 8 and Camino del Rio South; and north of Camino del Rio South. To view the report, visit bit.ly/2tgYkKA.
Future studies beyond those boundaries may never happen, because they may not have to.
“A CPU is not required to complete a traffic impact study to neighboring communities,” said Elizabeth Leventhal, who chairs MVPG CPU subcommittee. “The state does not require a CPU to conduct an exhaustive traffic study on networks outside the CPU boundary. As such, the Mission Valley CPU traffic study is limited to the first network and will not include an exhaustive traffic impact study on our neighboring communities.”
Although the state doesn’t require it, Smith said the city’s planning department needs to get the community planning boards “a little bit more in sync with each other.”
“When they start choking the roadways for bicycle lanes, and then they choke away our pathway along the river, we got a problem there,” he said.
— Reach Jeff Clemetson at email@example.com.