Start Your Engines

It's taken 14 months and cost the city and federal governments over $12.7 million to restore and retrofit the First Avenue bridge in Banker's Hill. For those 14 months, while construction crews were removing the old lead-based paint and slapping on a fresh coat, traffic down First Avenue was cut off at West Palm Ave. and Nutmeg, a relief for many residents living along the Banker's Hill corridor.

On Monday, February 22, at 10 a.m., Mayor Jerry Sanders, councilmembers Kevin Faulconer and Todd Gloria, Nancy Moor, president of the Hillcrest Business Association, and Leo Wilson, chair of the Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association, will hold a press conference to reopen the freshly painted, 79-year-old steel truss arch bridge to traffic. The morning and evening commutes from uptown to downtown on First Avenue will resume and impacts from traffic and noise from MTS busses and semis will reverberate through Maple Canyon once again, bouncing off the walls of area mansions and high-priced high rises.

For many residents of Banker's Hill, the 14 months that the bridge was closed should have been dedicated to calming traffic on the First Avenue thoroughfare.

At a February 4 meeting of the First Avenue subcommittee, a part of the Banker's Hill/Park West Community Association reiterated the concerns in regards to the heavy flow of traffic.

"Traffic safety measures...such as stop signs, crosswalks, etc., should also be placed on First Avenue," read the subcommittee's recommendation. "This will prevent traffic from being diverted to First Avenue from the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Avenue corridors. In considering First Avenue, it must be remembered the historic First Avenue Bridge was not designed to withstand the stress of a major flow of traffic traveling over it."

At that meeting, 20 Banker's Hill locals unanimously passed a motion, recommending the placement of two stop signs on First Avenue, at the intersections of Quince Street and Nutmeg as a way to calm traffic down the busy street.

The subcommittee agreed to discuss the traffic safety issues on First Avenue at their March meeting, once they have had a chance "to monitor and observe the impacts resulting from the opening of the First Avenue Bridge on February 22."

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The rich have spoken. They have told the piss ants, "We don't want your kind traveling through here. It bothers my insecurities."

"...and impacts from traffic and noise from MTS busses and semis will reverberate through Maple Canyon once again, bouncing off the walls of area mansions and high-priced high rises."

Oh my god, I am cracking up! Pete, have you even been to this area? Has Dorian?

I think not, because this area is NOT full of "mansions" and "high-priced high rises." There are a few well-kept Victorians and other antique homes, and all along the corridor in question, there's nothing but elderly apartment buildings and bleached-out condos raised in the 60s, inhabited largely by ageing pensioners.

There aren't many semis rolling through, though traffic from downtown has steadily increased--commuters from downtown, yes. I for one am glad to have the bus route back, though I would accept a permanent change on the #11, having, like many riders, I suspect, gotten used to its temporary route this past year.

And what are "piss ants?" Are those the creatures that are stinking up the bushes outside my condo? ;)

...and it opened yesterday! I'm going to celebrate by walking over our much-missed bridge, to enjoy the view of the bay and canyons, for the first time in over a year!

It's been a few years since I've lived down the street from Banker's Hill. Thinking back, I did see some pretty big houses. I just looked at the area on Google Maps. I guess you could say that there are big houses in the canyon. As for the piss ants, you're probably right.

SDaniels, yes I have been to the bridge, and live nearby. You're right there's a mixture of older buildings as well as expensive "Victorians" but that's not the point. There are many people that live along the First Ave corridor that are concerned about the traffic, busses and large trucks included, heading towards downtown and they are frustrated that nothing has been done to address their concerns. Never mind the flourish, the traffic and the noise from traffic is the real issue. Now, keep on enjoying those walks and the views, just try not to make any noise!

Pete, there are not many homes at all 'in' the two canyons near me. Like, maybe three homes, and they are older. Please, inform yourself thoroughly before attempting to pursue such a lame point.

Hmmm, sounds like we are pretty close neighbors, Dorian. I am sensitive to anyone's noise issues, really--I've just given up on San Diego and noise control. Are you personally involved in this association or subcommittee? What do you think will happen? The stops and lights will discourage the heavier traffic?

Would you agree with my assessment of San Diego as a fast-growing city that doesn't yet understand big city etiquette? This would include not only noise issues, but things like dog owners, who do not understand what "curb" means--they think it means "bush" and "side of building," and "just use a baggy for the solids;" they are astonished to be called on allowing their dogs to let loose acrid yellow streams all over the landscaping and sides of residential buildings.

Oops. Looks like I haven't yet given up on complaining about it ;)

Anyway, would you say these kinds of noise control issues are explainable via my characterization?

PS: We are happier with our thicker "airport glass" sliding door and window, and would recommend it to anyone with outside noise issues--we are right under the flight path, and it really muffles the noise of plane traffic.

PPS: Just took that walk to the bridge (quiet as a mouse). Lovely day, lovely bridge--nice to have it back. Did notice the delivery trucks are right back on that route...

SDaniels, I'm not a member of the subcommittee and I don't live in Bankers Hill- I used to live across from Nunu's but now live in University Heights. I guess we'll have to wait and see if stop signs and traffic lights will calm traffic.

You bring up some good points about San Diego and noise, though, I'm not sure when that big city mentality will sink in, if ever!

And good luck with those dog owners...that might be your toughest battle yet!

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