Finally, a major-league advocate for extending the trolley to the airport: Mayor Bob Filner recommended just that during his state of the city address recently. He’s pushing for the Destination Lindbergh plan, which would allow trolley riders to disembark at terminals on the northwest side of the airport as part of a multi-modal transit center. Rail access to the airport is long overdue and available in most first-tier U.S. cities, yet has never been an option in San Diego despite the fact that the Blue Line runs tantalizingly close. While SANDAG was quick to point out that the plan is unfunded, they’re also re-evaluating their transportation funding priorities. On that matter, Filner also said he’d ask SANDAG to re-prioritize funds toward public transit and away from more freeway expansion. Contrast this with a Carl DeMaio administration, who when asked about a trolley to the airport, promoted his pothole-filling plan.
Like clockwork, the UT editorial page chimed in with its opposition to the plan, saying additional freeways for North County residents were more important. Interestingly, the UT didn’t mention that SANDAG’s recent loss in San Diego County Superior Court is forcing them to scrap their freeway-focused transportation plan (their plan wasn’t in compliance with state regulations prohibiting increases in greenhouse gas emissions). Rather than building more freeways and adding lanes where capacity is soon filled with more development, why not advocate for getting more people off the roads and into viable public transit systems? That will leave plenty of room for the UT editors to drive their luxury vehicles to their North County mansions.
While we have an amazing freeway system in San Diego already, there are times it just doesn’t work – like yesterday, when there were dozens of rain-related accidents. Public transit options can reduce our region’s dependence on a transportation system that consistently breaks down in the rain.
– One of my work locations overlooks 163 in Kearny Mesa, where I watch people try to cross the 163 southbound on-ramp from westbound Mesa College Drive. They basically have to wait until no cars are coming, and then run across the on-ramp, which is hidden from driver view somewhat. It’s particularly sad when you see someone in a wheelchair from the nearby hospitals (I don’t think there’s a curb cut there either) or children on skateboards. And the aggressive drivers there don’t stop even if they see someone is attempting to cross.
This is just one intersection of many troubled ones in the area. Just north, there have been 17(!) serious/fatal cyclist/pedestrian incidents on the Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Balboa Ave I-805 overpasses in the past six years. That’s a stunning statistic and another example of how San Diego’s roads have been built with only autos in mind. I’m not sure why cyclists and pedestrians weren’t considered when these overpasses were built – do we value vehicle speed over human life? – but with an obesity epidemic in this country, it’s time to rethink our priorities.
One positive sign from SANDAG is their Regional Bike Plan; they’re soliciting input on it, and the next meeting is in Mid-City this Wednesday (thanks BikeSD):
City Heights Wellness Center
4440 Wightman Street, Suite #200
San Diego, CA 92105
January 30, 2013 – 6:00 to 8:30pm at the
RSVP by email: Bridget.Enderle@sandag.org
– Over in Balboa Park, Earth Day organizers have been told they can’t hold their event in the area affected by the planned Jacobs Bypass Bridge/Plaza de Panama project. Turns out while the city promised public access to the Central Mesa area during construction, they were actually secretly prohibiting public events there: “these policies were evidently created by city staff behind closed doors without input except from ‘museums and restaurants’ in Balboa Park”. Another example of how the former mayor and city council have been working for the interests of Irwin Jacobs and the park institutions. It’s too late now, but maybe someone could remind them that Balboa Park is owned and funded by the taxpayers of San Diego, not them? (Preferably the current mayor, by opposing the project.)
– You have until January 31st to buy your brick at the new San Diego Central Library downtown. Sounds great, until you see the minimum price is $150. Cut that in half and we’re buyers, but at that price…
Still, I can’t wait for the grand opening in July. The library’s bold design is quite a contrast from the current central library, where the primary concern at the time was cost. That’s also around the time we built freeway overpasses that kill pedestrians. I’m grateful that San Diego’s demographics are broadening from citizens who only care about minimizing their taxes to those who see the unlimited potential of this city.