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University Avenue Improvements To Move Forward

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The City Council Monday removed a roadblock from a project meant to improve University Avenue in North Park by unanimously rejecting an appeal of an environmental impact report.

The appellant, Trenton Riley of San Diego City Homes Inc., contended that the project would remove parking spaces that small businesses depend on for customer convenience. He also objected to the addition of a median along the roadway that would be installed without landscaping.

City staff said they planned to compensate for the reduction of 91 spaces on University Avenue by creating head-in parking spots on the nearby state streets, so the neighborhood would see a net gain of three spaces. The area's businesses would have to fund maintenance for any landscaping installed along the median, according to staff.

The project will cover a mile and a quarter of University Avenue between Florida and Boundary streets, west of Interstate 805.

Besides the median, new left-turn pockets will be created, and lanes dedicated to bicycles and public transit will be formed.

Councilman Todd Gloria said the small businesses that line the heavily used street will start getting more customers because the area will be more walkable.

Work is scheduled to begin in the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2016, and take around a year and a half to complete, according to Gloria's office.