If you’ve ever tried to get onto an Interstate 8 onramp from Grantville at 8:00 a.m., you know the neighborhood’s got some traffic issues. And it’s those issues that support many of the concerns about redeveloping the area, not rosy glassed reluctance or NIMBYish wishes that developers stay away from the little community in Mission Valley.


A 12-acre chunk of this block beside Mission Gorge Road in Grantville is slated for the Centerpointe project, about 2,000 feet from a trolley station. Photo: Jessica Horton

The San Diego Planning Commission voted today to send a project for a mixed-use development in Grantville, a neighborhood tucked near I-8 and Mission Gorge, to the City Council for review. The project, called Centerpointe at Grantville, would bring a wave of residential units to the community for the first time in decades. Despite legal challenge from the county, the city has designated the area a redevelopment zone, and city planners say this project could be the catalyst for that change.

But one of the major reasons for the redevelopment classification in the first place was that the area is snarled with traffic, especially during peak hours. Currently zoned mostly for industrial and commercial uses, Grantville already suffers from traffic problems. And adding residents with cars and jobs outside of the community would compound that problem. The nearby Grantville trolley station, one of the features that could help the developers sell their units, is only currently accessible to pedestrians willing to walk along busy Mission Gorge Road.

In a $75,000 study paid for by the Centerpointe developers, a transportation firm found that the proposed project would add 3,190 new trips to the block (each incoming or outgoing automobile counts as a trip). Compare that to 48,600 trips at the Fairmount Ave./I-8 interchange and it may not seem like much, study manager John Boreman said. But traffic at that interchange exceeds the city standards for allowable traffic.

The traffic issue was logged as a chief concern in the recommendation the commissioners made today to send the project to City Council for review, which should take place in a month or two. The developers would pay $1.25 million into a fund to “re-align” Alvarado Road, which would, apparently, alleviate some of the traffic on neighboring Mission Gorge Road. One idea the developers also support — but say they can’t pay for by themselves — is a shuttle that would run from their project to the Grantville trolley station.

Jay Wexler, consultant for the developers, said the Centerpointe project’s been unfairly burdened with mitigating of traffic issues that have been building for years.

“We were the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said. “We’re not going to be burdened with everybody’s problem.”

The commissioners acknowledged that the city, and probably surrounding private developers, would have to step up if the traffic is to go away anytime soon. Judging from the recent lack of private-public communication on the redevelopment area vision plans, you future Grantville commuters may want to get a couple of audio books to listen to while you wait in traffic.

KELLY BENNETT

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