Parents worried Bus Rapid Transit corridor will threaten their children's safety

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A group of Chula Vista parents is concerned about their children’s safety once construction is completed on the San Diego Association of Government’s new Bus Rapid Transit system. 

The BRT will add two dedicated bus lanes down the middle of East Palomar in Chula Vista and change the traffic pattern for cars, buses, and pedestrians for several miles.

“It’s a huge investment that the region has made,” said SANDAG engineer Jim Linthicum.

The South Bay BRT route will connect Otay Mesa with downtown San Diego. Linthicum said they expect upwards of 12,000 people a day to use the BRT once it opens, which could happen as early as the end of 2018.

However, sections of the BRT through Chula Vista will restructure the sidewalks children use to get to Hedenkamp Elementary School and a nearby park.

Victor and Judy Gallardo are worried about the proximity of the new sidewalk to traffic. The sidewalk is currently several feet away from the road and there’s a strip of grass with trees separating the two.

“The trees that protect us while we’re walking,” said Victor. “Right now, I’m just scared about what’s going to happen.”

“Do not tear out the safety margin,” begged Judy. “You see all these cars here zooming by?  We need this safety margin.”

“They’re very passionate about this and we feel that passion and the highest passion they have is about the safety,” said Linthicum. “Unfortunately, this project is over halfway through construction for the whole corridor.”

The BRT has been on the books for more than 20 years. Signs that read “Future Site Rapid Transit Corridor” used to line East Palomar in Chula Vista for more than a decade.

“We’re not opposed to it,” said Judy Gallardo. “We just want it to be planned out smarter and safer for our community.”

Linthicum said SANDAG is entering the last phase of the project and changing those plans would be difficult.

“We want to work with them if there’s anything else we can do to tweak this project to make it as safe for their kids to get to school as they can,” he offered.

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