Tucked within the Golden Triangle and bordering La Jolla is UTC, a mostly condominium and tall office building area within the city of San Diego.
Growth in the UTC area really took off after University Towne Centre, now a Westfield Shoppingtown regional mall, opened in 1977. Built by Ernest W. Hahn, it now houses approximately 200 shops and restaurants.
Several office complexes and financial institutions, such as Citibank, U.S. Bank and Salomon Smith Barney, can be found in UTC, mainly along La Jolla Village Drive, just west of Interstate 805. Top-end hotels, like the Hyatt Regency and Embassy Suites, are also located along La Jolla Village Drive, catering to business class guests and families alike.
Excellent freeway access and the mixed-use development of the UTC area make it an attractive place to live and, according to the 2000 Census, almost 35,000 people call it home. The area was originally developed with the thought of providing housing for students, professors and administrators of University of California, San Diego - which it still does - but now is also a tight-knit family community with elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.
Last fall a groundbreaking ceremony for the Nobel Athletic Area and Branch Library kicked off the construction of 15,000-square-foot library overlooking a 30-acre park and a 10,000-square-foot recreation building. The library will feature a computer lab, a children's room and adult reading areas, and the athletic area will include two softball fields, three soccer fields, a multi-use hard-court, a new playground and multiple picnic areas for family outings, and a fenced, off-leash dog park.
But with all this growth comes traffic congestion, a problem in the UTC area that has grown steadily over the years. Commuters travel through UTC to work, and residents make many trips throughout the area daily. As UTC nears build-out and additional planned development is completed, traffic is expected to worsen.
Some actions that have been taken to alleviate congestion, such as the on and off ramps installed at Nobel Drive and Interstate 805, are perceived by some as having provided relatively minimal traffic relief within the corridor. In response to these issues, the city of San Diego commissioned the University City North South Transportation Corridor Study to take a look at the range of transportation options that are available to improve future traffic flow within the community. The draft environmental impact report (EIR) was completed in November 2004 and the committee hopes the final EIR will be reviewed this spring.