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Bridging Campus Communities

UC San Diego recently celebrated the opening of a new pedestrian bridge that will link thousands of graduate students to the center of campus.

The Nuevo West Pedestrian Bridge spans nearly 500 feet across Central Canyon, south of Jacobs Medical Center, and features a 10-foot-wide cycle track and a separate 6-foot-wide pedestrian walkway. This new addition to the campus provides an inviting way to bike or walk a significantly shorter, safer route from the Mesa Housing Neighborhood to almost every part of campus.

“Micro-mobility matters,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Building infrastructure for designated foot and bicycle traffic on campus decreases automobile emissions and increases physical activity. This bridge is the final link connecting new graduate housing to central campus and the new La Jolla Family House to the La Jolla medical campus. These projects combine to help UC San Diego achieve its goal to become a preferred destination for students, patients and the community.”

The opening of the pedestrian bridge is part of a larger campus transformation, bringing new buildings, bridges and the new UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley to enhance the student and patient experience and create a more connected university.  

The Mesa Housing Neighborhood is home to Nuevo West Graduate Student Housing, which opens this month, providing housing to more than 800 single graduate and professional students and 1,200 parking spaces. Nuevo East, which opens its doors this summer, will house more than 1,300 graduate and professional students. Both of these projects will help the university reduce waitlists for graduate housing and make housing available this year to 55% of UC San Diego’s graduate students at rates that are below market value. The Nuevo West Pedestrian Bridge directly connects graduate students to the center of campus by providing a direct link to the new Gilman Drive Bridge.

The campus’s newest bridge also will connect families with their loved ones who are receiving care at UC San Diego Health. Set to open in spring 2020, La Jolla Family House will offer 25 guest rooms and 15 two-bedroom apartments within the Nuevo West Graduate Student Housing—just a short walk away from clinical facilities such as Jacobs Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center and Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center. In addition to providing a place to rest, cook and do laundry, La Jolla Family House also provides community spaces where guests can connect with other families facing similar challenges, providing a supportive retreat when it is needed most.

ribbon cutting ceremony

The campus celebrated its newest pedestrian bridge on February 25 with a ribbon cutting.

Another integral part of the design of the Nuevo West Pedestrian Bridge is mode separation, which separates faster, wheeled modes of transportation from pedestrians. Bikes, skateboards and scooters are an important part of how UC San Diego makes such a large campus feel smaller. The separation of lanes allows people to feel safer walking alongside faster modes of transit while encouraging the use of different modes of transportation. The university is also bringing this approach to Ridge Walk, where mode separation can be found near Thurgood Marshall College, and will soon extend north to RIMAC Arena and south to UC San Diego’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theatre District.

Pedestrian and bike-friendly pathways will continue to be added throughout campus neighborhoods to enhance and encourage the movement of people and bikes through the campus core and to mass transportation options.

“That ‘last mile’ is critical,” said Josh Kavanagh, director of Transportation at UC San Diego, referring to the last leg of a commute, after parking or taking public transit. “The new bridge plays a significant role in making the most of the university’s investment in transportation, literally bridging the gap between graduate student housing and all of the opportunity along the new trolley line.”