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Port Eyes Road For Trucks Near San Diego's Working Waterfront

Chicano Park in Barrio Logan is shown beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge on July 9, 2018.
Megan Wood
Chicano Park in Barrio Logan is shown beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge on July 9, 2018.

San Diego Port officials are expected to approve a plan aimed at keeping diesel trucks out of Barrio Logan and other bayside neighborhoods.

The idea is for the Port of San Diego, the San Diego Association of Governments, and the California Department of Transportation to collaborate on a project known as Harbor Drive 2.0.

Port Eyes Road For Trucks Near San Diego's Working Waterfront
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

A memorandum of understanding would essentially allow the port to create a dedicated road for trucks. The road would run along San Diego’s waterfront and the throughway would steer traffic out of Barrio Logan and other neighborhoods.

Port officials say the road will offer truck drivers a quick way to the freeway which is why trucks now drive through Barrio Logan and National City.

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This road gives truck drivers an alternative that could be faster.

“A dedicated truck lane that uses intelligent transportation systems that allows trucks to kind of have signal prioritization to zip through that corridor and jump on the freeway,” said Job Nelson, a policy strategist with the Port of San Diego.

Harbor Drive leaving National City heading north to 32nd St and the shipyards in this undated rendering.
Port of San Diego
Harbor Drive leaving National City heading north to 32nd St and the shipyards in this undated rendering.

The plan also calls for upgrades to sidewalks, bike lanes and mass transit stops helping separate truck traffic from pedestrians and cyclists. California already identifies Barrio Logan, National City, and Chula Vista as at-risk regions because of pollution and health risks linked to dirty air. That’s why advocates like the Environmental Health Coalition have fought to keep trucks out of the neighborhoods.

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The group supports the creation of the road.

“Providing more efficient movement of freight and incentivizing freight trucks to avoid entering neighborhoods like Barrio Logan and National City, who have the highest rates of diesel particulate matter in our region, will help to address some of the significant and disproportionate air quality impacts that have long existed in these communities,” said Danny Serrano, a spokesman for EHC.

They also want the Port to identify and consider building electric vehicle charging infrastructure that will make it easier for cargo-carrying trucks to be powered by emission-free electricity, instead of polluting diesel fuel.

The new road would run along Harbor Drive and Port officials say it will help businesses on the waterfront and nearby residents.

“It makes traffic flow more efficiently so that you don’t have trucks backed up," Nelson said, "and as they’re sitting there, backed up, waiting for a light or waiting for a turn, right? They’re spewing emissions into the atmosphere. This (haul road) basically moves them through very quickly and gets them on the freeway and out so they’re not impacting that neighborhood.”