A newly formed community group announced Thursday that it would fight proposed San Diego Trolley routes that would take light-rail cars through Rose Canyon, saying the trolleys would destroy an irreplaceable swath of University City open space that is heavily used by joggers, hikers and bicyclists.
The Committee to Save Rose Canyon wants the Metropolitan Transit Development Board to run its proposed North Line along Interstate 5--one of three possible alignments for that leg of the trolley--instead of paralleling existing railroad tracks through the canyon before turning north on either Regents Road or Genesee Ave.
"To run a trolley through there is just a blatant violation of our community plan," which designates the area for passive recreational activity, said Pat Arter, chairman of the new organization.
Homeowners in the gated community of La Jolla Colony have previously complained that plans to run the trolley through Rose Canyon and along the surface streets would drive down property values and create a safety hazard for schoolchildren.
The new group also condemns MTDB plans to surround its proposed tracks with a chain-link fence, saying it would cut animals' ability to cross the canyon.
A separate group of community residents is fighting MTDB plans to put an elevated trolley through Little Italy and Harbor View.
MTDB Chairman James Mills said Tuesday that the agency would drop that plan and place the trolley tracks at grade level, a decision that would mean disrupting auto traffic. But the MTDB has take not yet taken formal action to alter its plans.
The agency is studying the proposed 14.5-mile North Line, which would run from Interstate 8 to Carmel Valley Road, bringing service north to University City, the Golden Triangle and UC San Diego, MTDB spokeswoman Judith Leitner said. Scheduled to open late this decade, the line would cost about $385 million, she said.
The MTDB is studying whether to build a light-rail line, augment bus service or make no improvements at all, she said. By late next year, the agency will choose from among those three alternatives.
If light-rail service is selected, one of the three alignments would be designated as the locally preferred alternative.
Leitner said the I-5 route is the most expensive alternative because numerous bridges and tunnels would have to be built. Bringing the trolley inland would better serve riders in residential and commercial neighborhoods, she said.
The signature bright-red trolley cars would run through Rose Canyon every 7 1/2 minutes, next to tracks already used by 16 Amtrak trains and occasional freight trains each day, Leitner said.