Too many new things going on, too little time to blog. Here’s some general items:
- The San Diego Opera returns to the downtown concourse. I was thinking the new Horton Plaza Park (set to be completed next month) would be a better location, but this Voice of San Diego article says rental fees will be too high.
- Sculptures have been added to the Plaza de Panama from the San Diego Museum of Art as this former parking lot continues to evolve into a great civic space.
- The brewery incubator in the former Pole Position strip club location has announced its first tenant: Pariah Brewing. Meanwhile North Park Brewing Company has run into some major construction issues at their location in the old Undisputed Gym spot.
– Lots of interesting transportation-related items too:
- There’s an open house Tuesday at the downtown library from 6-8 PM for the Downtown Mobility Plan, which includes a whole lot of bike lanes. BikeSD tweeted that the scary Cedar offramp from I-5 is proposed to be shut down, and executive director Sam Ollinger was interviewed by NextCity about the plan.
- While Uptown Parking District remains firmly stuck in the past in Hillcrest, the Port of San Diego is expanding their demand-based parking pricing, as are other cities. These widely used, common sense approaches to reducing congestion and pollution are rejected in Hillcrest due to the Hillcrest Business Association’s influence over the Uptown Parking District. When even the NY Post declares we all pay for free parking, you know the tide is turning.
Downtown San Diego is also implementing wayfinding signs, including directing drivers to parking lots. This is an idea I suggested to Uptown Parking District two years ago; two years and millions of unspent dollars later, Uptown Parking still focuses on opposing multi-modal projects instead.
- With lower gas prices, driving is up, which means more people are dying as a result of aggressive, inattentive and drunken driving. Uptown News had a good writeup on Vision Zero efforts in San Diego to reduce the high rate of pedestrian fatalities. Meanwhile in Oceanside, a former council member opposes efforts to make Coast Highway safer for people on bikes and foot, saying the former should use a bike trail that doesn’t provide access to local businesses.
- City Observatory notes that cities with more freeway lanes just have worse congestion; Caltrans put together a nice map showing all the road widening they’re doing in San Diego this year.
- SANDAG has listed the various transportation infrastructure projects that would be funded if their Quality of Life tax increase passes later this year, and there’s a whole lot of freeway widening going on (including lots of general purpose lanes!):
Voice of San Diego has a rundown of the two proposals for the initiative.
- Bikeway Village in Imperial Beach has broken ground and Studio E Architects has some renderings.
- Bikes and Beers returns on Saturday March 26th. This is a really fun event and the post-ride party at the Quartyard isn’t too shabby either. Here’s the route map:
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:
…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_):
- 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.