pricey plaza park

pricey plaza park

Too many new things going on, too little time to blog. Here’s some general items:

– Lots of interesting transportation-related items too:

With many of San Diego’s Community Plans being updated (after nearly 30 years in some cases), there’s been a lot of intense debate over the plans in Uptown and North Park, which consider the city’s Climate Action Plan. Carbon pollution caused more global temperature records in the past year:

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…while sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 2800 years, and the Arctic is way above normal temperatures (exactly what scientists predicted in global warming scenarios) as its ice rapidly melts away. There’s been an amazing contrast between how North Park and Hillcrest have responded to these challenges by either embracing or rejecting the city’s Climate Action Plan goals of more housing near transit.

  • North Park wisely upzoned the El Cajon Boulevard commercial strip (another good viewpoint here), while Uptown is largely downzoning everywhere, and losing their minds over city attempts to keep zoning the same in the Hillcrest commercial core. This would contradict years of efforts (e.g., Interim Height Ordinance) to prevent new multi-family housing in Hillcrest. Yet residents are calling this a “massive upzoning“.
  • The Reader recently highlighted the battle in Uptown, and former Uptown Planning chair Leo Wilson pretended to care about affordable housing by claiming any new residential construction would remove cheaper units. Yet there is little to no affordable housing in the Uptown Gateway area to remove. And after a 10 year track record of doing nothing for affordable housing as chair of Uptown Planners (he called a proposed affordable housing project at the Hillcrest DMV “tenements“), it was amusing to read his newfound concern. Remember that Wilson called those who support more housing in Hillcrest “straight white bigots who need to move downtown“. Rumor has it Wilson, who opposed any traffic calming on 4th/5th/6th Avenues, and is currently suing the city to remove bike lanes on 5th Avenue, is running for Uptown Planners again.

    In the article, both Wilson and Uptown Planning board member Mat Wahlstrom offered zero suggestions to create new affordable housing, just criticisms that new housing would be unaffordable – and therefore should be stopped. Yet the state legislative office says that in order to slow displacement, we should build more housing.

    Neither Wilson nor Wahlstrom mentioned the city’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for more housing near transit to reach alternative travel mode share goals (Wahlstrom believes bike lanes are “social engineering”). Uptown Planner chair Jim Mellos said “keep density low until staff finds a solution to the traffic situation“, which means “tear down housing for wider roads”. Mellos strongly opposes the common sense solution employed in many other cities: accommodating alternative transit via bike infrastructure and dedicated public transit lanes.

  • The city planning department put out a useful guide to “dwelling units per acre”, showing existing mixed-use developments.
  • KPBS had a good article on the massive wealth divide between Kensington/Talmadge and City Heights. One example of this divide has been the Talmdage Gateway mixed use project, where the KenTal community planning group wanted ground-level retail to face Talmadge, not busy El Cajon Boulevard. Here are some renderings of the project (h/t @AngelaNoble_):talGate2talGate3 (1)
  • Renderings are up for The Louisiana apartments on El Cajon BoulevardUniversity in North Park.
  • With the trolley coming to UC San Diego, the university needs to relocate Sixth College from the Pepper Canyon area of campus. One proposal would put it on the massive surface parking lots right next to the Muir Campus building where I now work. Fine by me – I take the bus. Yet one student who chooses to drive (despite paying just $17/month for unlimited transit use) demands the university build one parking space for each bed. Guess sustainability isn’t in this student’s DNA.

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