Your Help Needed- Mid-Coast Trolley Will Eliminate Public Access to Rose Creek Bike Path! Support the Rose Creek Coastal Connection to Improve Access for Cycling and Walking
By Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
A little understood outcome associated with construction of the Mid-Coast trolley is a key pedestrian and bicycle link between Clairemont, University City and Mission Bay (via the Rose Creek bike path) will be severed. The Rose Creek Coastal Connection will counteract that, if supported and implemented by the City of San Diego.
Before highways 5 and 52 and the railroad tracks were constructed, San Clemente Creek and Rose Creek joined at their confluence (now approximately where highways 5 and 52 connect) and flowed to then False Bay, now Mission Bay. Early San Diegans could easily walk along these creeks through our canyons to the bay and ocean. Later, when the freeways and railroad tracks were built, it was still possible to make the connection (under the freeways and over the railroad tracks) but unsafe and, in the case of the railroad tracks, illegal. With the construction of the Mid-Coast trolley, federal railroad safety regulations require that public access to the tracks be prohibited via secure fencing.
In 2005-6, a community-driven planning study by San Diego Earthworks and the Rose Creek Watershed Alliance of ways to enhance the Rose Creek watershed identified creating a safe and legal crossing of the railroad tracks in Rose Canyon as a high priority. The study, the Rose Creek Watershed Opportunities Assessment (www.rosecreekwatershed.org) called out possible locations for a safe crossing. The Rose Creek watershed begins on MCAS Miramar and extends from east to west along Rose Creek and San Clemente Creek (via Marian Bear Memorial Park), joining at the confluence as Rose Creek before heading south to join the ocean at De Anza Cove. That planning study recommended additional analysis of ways to safely cross the tracks.
Fortunately, the California Coastal Conservancy provided a grant to the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition to design a bridge that would allow pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross the creek and tracks so people could get to and from the coast. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition hired a team of consultants to design a bridge structure which would be an asset to the communities and would tie the canyons together to provide a safe, legal crossing over the tracks and under the freeways, allowing residents to walk or bicycle from University City and Clairemont to Mission Bay without competing with cars.
Working in coordination with plans for the Mid-Coast trolley, bridge engineering firm Wilson and Company has just completed a bridge design that will meet the constraints associated with the site, i.e. under the freeways, but over the tracks and at a height designed to accommodate passage of the Mid-Coast trolley, as well as the freight trains and Coaster trains that now transit the canyon on a daily basis. Named the Rose Creek Coastal Connection, the project will significantly improve and enhance current coastal access and give Clairemont, University City and Pacific Beach residents a wonderful new recreation and commuting connecting to the beach, bay and employment centers to the north and south.
If implemented by the City of San Diego, the project will provide safe and legal access across the tracks for current and future residents and visitors alike. If the project is not built, key pedestrian and cycling access will soon be lost.
Earlier this year, the Rose Creek Coastal Connection, which includes a neighborhood connector path, was endorsed unanimously by the Clairemont and Pacific Beach planning groups. The bridge was also endorsed by the University City Planning Group (without the neighborhood connector path).
We need your help to get the word to the Mayor and City Council that this project is important for pedestrians and cyclists and to the quality of life in our communities. Please contact the Mayor and your City Councilmember and ask them to support this project and prioritize it for funding!
Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Find your City Councilmember at this link: http://arcg.is/1GvO807
District 1 – Council President Sherri Lightner
District 2 – Councilmember Lorie Zapf
District 3 – Councilmember Todd Gloria
District 4- Councilmember Myrtle Cole
District 5 – Councilmember Mark Kersey
District 6- Councilmember Chris Cate
District 7- Councilmember Scott Sherman
District 8- Councilmember David Alvarez
District 9 – Council President Pro Tem Marti Emerald