Trolley Extension Project Creates Controversy Along I-5 Corridor

Mid-Coast Transit Project must cross I-5 and residents of Cape La Jolla Gardens and officials with the Mormon Temple disagree on where the bridge should go

A trolley extension project that would bridge downtown San Diego and University City has prompted some controversy with residents near La Jolla.

The $1.7 billion project would place a trolley bridge across Interstate 5 connecting stations at La Jolla Village Square, UC San Diego, the VA Hospital and the Westfield UTC mall.

The 11-mile extension would serve two large universities and two of the region’s largest employment areas according to the San Diego Association of Governments Director of Mobility Jim Linthicum.

But the Mid-Coast Transit Project has to cross I-5 to do so and residents of the Cape La Jolla Gardens condo complex and officials with the Mormon Temple disagree on exactly where the bridge should be placed.

The route for the bridge has shifted twice since different groups have voiced their concerns. Click here to see map of the proposed route.

"The Cape La Jolla folks believe the trolley should go a little bit further north than where it was shown in our environmental document. The temple folks think it should go a little further south and we're trying to work through that now," Linthicum said.

Condo owners have voiced their concerns about increased noise, a possible drop in property values and special treatment for temple officials according to a report in the La Jolla Light.

The condo homeowners' association president, Michael Krupp, told the paper that the trolley, as proposed, would mean trolley cars would be traveling near homes at the same height as the second story of the complex buildings.

The La Jolla newspaper reports that at a March public forum, SANDAG officials said temple representative requested the bridge move south because of the "the bridge’s visual impact" on the temple's property.

"I have a friend that lives right behind the temple and enjoys seeing the view so I do think a trolley bridge would really not allow that beauty to see anymore," Mormon Temple member Alisha Brandon said.

NBC 7 attempted to contact officials with the Mormon Temple but did not receive a response.

The San Diego Association of Governments will get the final word on where the bridge will go but not before it gets as much input from all people who will be most affected by the project.

There is a presentation planned May 9 will be open to the public.

SANDAG will take a final environmental document to its board of directors this summer including mayors of 18 cities and the county of San Diego who will approve the final placement in a majority vote.

The trolley currently ends in the Old Town area of San Diego. The extension would provide trolley service north through Moreno area, under State Route 52 and into the University City area with stops at UC San Diego campus.

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