I looked through and text-searched the Morena Corridor Specific Plan to
see what was proposed for pedestrian/bicycle crossings between Mission
Bay Park and the trolley stops at Clairemont Drive and Tecolote Road.
As best I can tell, the only proposal in the Specific Plan was for
better bicycle lanes (pages 48-49 of the Specific Plan). It is
interesting, perhaps significant, and perhaps even deceptive, that the
mock-up on page 49 does not show intersections with freeway on-ramps and
off-ramps, which is obviously where the danger lies.
I have expressed concern in the past about the dangers to bicyclists and
pedestrians crossing Clairemont Drive and Tecolote Road; see the links
Also, I know of at least one very serious bicycle accident at an
intersection on the overpass on Clairemont Drive. My personal opinion
is that the best solution is pedestrian/bicycle bridges at both
Clairement Drive and Tecolote Road, possibly coupled with a bicycle path
between on the WEST side of I-5 between I-5 and Mission Bay Drive (this
would also improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in Mission Bay Park).
At a recent Planning Commission hearing several speakers advocated for
Parenthetically, the tone of the article indicated a dismissive
(contemptuous??) attitude on the part of City planners toward public
concerns about quality of life compared with the City bureaucracy’s
priorities of population growth and federal dollars. People at the
meeting said the attitude was even worse than the reporting. That’s a
subject for another day.
The reason for this comment is to STRONGLY recommend that the Specific
Plan include a recommendation for pedestrian/bicycle bridges at
Clairemont Drive and Tecolote Road.
If such bridges are not built, and when – not if – someone gets off
the trolley, walks or bicycles across one of the overpasses, and is
seriously injured or killed by a vehicle, it is reasonable to expect the
following to happen (I’m not an attorney, but…). The person and/or
his/her family will sue the City and SANDAG, and prosecutors will pursue
criminal liability for deliberate failure (willful criminal
negligence??) to spend a fraction of a percent of the overall budget on
pedestrian/bicycle safety in spite of clear knowledge and warnings about
the dangers. The cost of one such accident for civil liability alone is
likely to be greater than the cost of the bridges. Also, it appears that
case law is expanding the individual criminal and civil liability of
public officials; e.g., Flint, Michigan. The people most likely to take
the fall for criminal liability will be the lowest-level people
responsible for the pedestrian/bicycle bridges not being built. At this
point, my guess is those people will be the authors of the Specific Plan
(Mr. Prinz in particular), if there is no recommendation for
pedestrian/bicycle bridges in the Specific Plan.
If pedestrian/bicycle bridges will not be part of the Specific Plan, my
strong recommendation is that the authors of the Specific Plan get
either written instructions from their superiors not to include
pedestrian/bicycle bridges (so the superiors will be the ones to assume
criminal, civil, and moral responsibility for the inevitable and
avoidable tragic outcome), or written assurances from traffic engineers
that what is in the Specific Plan conforms to modern standards for
pedestrian/bicyclist safety. That way, they might (??) be protected
from becoming the fall guys. The authors of the Specific Plan would be
well advised to consult attorneys to see what actions they need to take
to minimize their exposure to individual criminal and civil liability
when the inevitable tragedy happens if pedestrian/bicycle bridges are
not recommended or built.