Tuesday, 19 April 2011 16:48

Councilmember Sherri Lightner Slays the Regents Road Bridge Dragon

Written by  Deborah Knight
Rate this item
(11 votes)

The Environmental Quality Report Card series examines environmental stewardship of San Diego Councilmembers and the Mayor. The series looks at history of past reports, shows the voting record of individual Councilmembers, explains voting methodology and examines the environmental issues the Councilmembers voted on.

In this year’s Environmental Quality Report Card, City officials were graded on their positions on a proposal to build a road and bridge through Rose Canyon.

Thanks to the leadership of Councilmember Sherri Lightner, in 2010 the San Diego City Council finally stopped the environmentally destructive Regents Road bridge project in its tracks.

This was a big win for the environment.  Mayor Sanders proposed to move this project forward by spending millions of dollars on consultant contracts to do a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Councilmember Lightner led the Land Use and Housing Committee to a 3-1 vote to reject those contracts, thus shelving the project. She, along with Councilmembers Todd Gloria and Tony Young, received positive marks on the Environmental Quality Report Card for their votes on this issue. Councilmember Faulconer and the Mayor were marked down for trying to push the project forward.

Councilmember Lightner’s stance against the Regents Road bridge project reversed the City Council’s position on this issue. In 2006, before she was elected, the Council, with Mayor Sanders’ support, voted to certify a previous EIR and build the project despite opposition by many environmental organizations. Friends of Rose Canyon and other organizations sued over the inadequacy of that EIR. To settle the lawsuit, the city was forced to agree to do a brand new EIR. By rejecting the consultant contracts to do that new EIR, the City Council has now taken a stance in favor of protecting Rose Canyon.

The Regents Road bridge project is environmentally destructive, a poor traffic solution, and hugely expensive.  It would build a major road plus a massive concrete bridge through the heart of Rose Canyon Open Space Park Preserve.  State and federal regulatory agencies have made it clear the city would have a hard time ever getting the necessary environmental approvals for this project.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game have urged the city to delete the project from the community plan.

The proposed Regents Road bridge project would devastate this core area of Rose Canyon Open Space Park PreserveThe proposed Regents Road bridge project would devastate this core area of Rose Canyon Open Space Park Preserve. Photo credit Deborah Knight

It was 1959 when the Regents Road bridge project was first drawn on a map. Dwight Eisenhower was president. In the north city area of San Diego there was no UCSD, no I-805, no I-5, and no University City. There were few roads and little besides open space where nature thrived and people could get out and enjoy nature. Today, the situation is reversed: the area is blanketed with roads, buildings and parking lots, with only remnants of open space.

Rose Canyon is a last remaining urban greenbelt that stretches across the city. It connects  thousands of acres of open space at MCAS Miramar to the east, and to the west to Marion Bear Park, thus serving as a wildlife corridor. It also helps protect the water quality of Mission Bay Park, because it naturally filters water feeding into Mission Bay. People from across the city come to Rose Canyon to run, hike, bike, and enjoy nature. Hundreds of students from surrounding schools walk to the park each year to explore nature.

The battle to protect Rose Canyon is a bellwether in the movement to protect San Diego’s unique urban open space canyons. On this issue, Councilmember Lightner has been an environmental leader.

Deborah Knight is Executive Director of Friends of Rose Canyon, a nonprofit organization.


Read 21691 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 18:17


  • Comment Link sherry rappoport Wednesday, 20 April 2011 22:35 posted by sherry rappoport

    Congratulations Debby and Friends Of Rose Canyon. Well Done! Thanks for doing the good work of preserving our natural surroundings!
    Best Regards,
    Sherry Rappoport

  • Comment Link Jeff Flowers Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:55 posted by Jeff Flowers

    Congratulations to you Deborah and to Sherri for your hard work and success in saving Rose Canyon Park for all of us to enjoy!

    Every great city owes a debt to people like you that have the foresight and determination to preserve open spaces from development.

    What would New York City be like without Central Park? What would San Diego be like without Balboa Park? There is always pressure to pave it over and build on open spaces, but in the end, people will deeply appreciate these oases in the midst of concrete, steel and asphalt.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.

Take Action

Donate Now

Donate to San Diego Coastkeeper

Donate to San Diego Coastkeeper

With you, we can protect San Diego’s aquatic playgrounds. Gifts of every size help us defend your salty seas and beautiful bays. From test tubes in our lab to hands-on...

Read more

Become a Member


Start Coastkeeping. Become a member today and protect and restore swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters in San Diego County.


Report a Problem

Catch the Polluters

If you see someone pollute, report it to Coastkeeper. Let us help you protect your waters.

Attend an Event

Get the News

Read our Blog

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Equinox Center Releases 2013 Dashboard, …

Equinox Center Releases 2013 Dashboard, Talks Region's Waters

Each year San Diego’s Equinox Center releases a Quality of Life Dashboard which analyzes the area’s environment, economy and communities for the year. As a San Diegan and San Diego...

More San Diego Teachers Are Getting SWEL…

More San Diego Teachers Are Getting SWELL!

Project SWELL has been busy preparing San Diego’s future leaders to understand the role of water in our region and in our future by preparing those who teach them to...

The Water Authority Misses the Mark...Ag…

The Water Authority Misses the Mark...Again

It probably won’t surprise you that as San Diego Coastkeeper’s Waterkeeper I spend a lot of my time thinking about water- the best sources, the best methods and the best...

Educators Come Together to Discuss Scien…

Educators Come Together to Discuss Science Curricula, Including Project Swell

San Diego Coastkeeper recently had the exciting opportunity to take part in the San Diego Science Educators Association conference. The conference serves as an opportunity for educators of all grade...

Tank that Leak: A Quick Fix to Save Wate…

Tank that Leak: A Quick Fix to Save Water

"Fix A Leak Week" ended. I'm pretty sure that some of us still have a leak or two that can be fixed, though, and that will save thousands upon thousands...

Single Use Can Mean Permanent Harm

Single Use Can Mean Permanent Harm

After every beach cleanup we are hit with ample evidence of the ubiquity of paper and plastic products in our everyday lives. It is quite clear that these products are...

What A Waste: The Hidden Waste of Water …

What A Waste: The Hidden Waste of Water Leaks

Did you know that March 17-23 is Fix a Leak Week? Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this week brings attention to water leaks, which are a serious concern, especially...

San Diego's Waters Deserve Our Best

San Diego's Waters Deserve Our Best

The following was written by Coastkeeper’s Jo Brooks and Everett Delano of our board of directors in response to a February 23 U-T San Diego editorial that criticized stormwater runoff...

What's A Little Rain When You Have A Mys…

What's A Little Rain When You Have A Mystery to Solve?

Despite the stormy Friday morning weather, my water quality partner and I were excited to get to the bottom of a still unsolved mystery—the sources of urban runoff. Because rain...

Weather Doesn't Dampen Resolve to Get An…

Weather Doesn't Dampen Resolve to Get Answers

While most of you were trying to stay dry and cozy during this past storm, several intrepid volunteers offered to brave the elements and help us figure out the source...

  • Video
  • Facebook Fans
Join Our Newsletter
  • EarthShare_Californiaweb

2825 Dewey Rd., Ste. 200 • San Diego CA 92106 • TEL. 619.758.7743