RailPAC has a good summary on the status of rail projects in San Diego, including the short-term plan to “connect” the trolley to the airport:
By 2015 it is planned to connect the San Diego Trolley to the airport with regular shuttle bus service on the airport road for (new car rental facility) CONRAC. There are plans to build a pedestrian bridge between the airport and Washington St. Trolley Station, which will be part of the future ITC. However funding for the ITC isn’t expected before 2017. In the interim shuttle buses may be used to carry Trolley passengers to the airport at the station until the bridge can be built. For Coaster passengers this would mean transferring at Old Town to the Trolley the short distance to Washington Street and then connect to the Shuttle Buses.
Longer-term plans include a multi-modal facility that will provide a direct connection between the Coaster, Amtrak and the trolley to the airport – but not until 2030. Meanwhile, add Denver to the list of cities with direct rail connections to their airport in 2016, even though construction of both their light rail network and airport were started well after San Diego’s, respectively… Community opposition to the Mid-Coast trolley extension has begun in La Jolla. Also, the owners of La Jolla Village Square oppose leasing any of their abundant parking spaces to SANDAG for trolley station users because they are needed one or two days a year (perhaps even less than that in the near future)… SANDAG’s new I-15 transit parking garage in Sabre Springs is cutting-edge: solar panels, EV stations and modular bike parking – hopefully it entices more commuters to consider using the express bus routes one or more days a week.
– SD UrbDeZine scores our downtown on John Karras’s “12 Strategies That Will Transform Your City’s Downtown”… Little Italy is converting part of Date Street to a public plaza as part of a project that will bring two new mixed use buildings to the neighborhood and add underground parking. More restaurants, jobs, off-street parking and a new public plaza for pedestrians – Hillcrest, that’s what a reasonable height limit could do for your neighborhood too… The city council has approved new regulations that put parking over food trucks, effectively removing them from several neighborhoods. Council members weren’t shy about trying to ban food trucks near restaurants, particularly council member Lorie Zapf. When there wasn’t legal authority to do that, they used parking or other strained excuses to justify their actions (e.g., citing the historic nature of downtown – and Austin’s isn’t?). No excuses needed when you just follow the money: restaurant association $$ -> local GOP/Lincoln Club -> Zapf -> squash the food trucks. Remember this job-killing ordinance next time the council claims it’s focused on job creation.
Elsewhere downtown, Caffe Primo from L.A. is moving into the recently completed mixed-use project at 13th and K (which, at six stories, is another project likely too tall for Hillcrest under its current height ordinance). They’ll serve espresso during the day and be a full-service Italian restaurant at night… During that rainy weekend a few weeks ago, all the outdoor seating at the Old Police Headquarters’ Puesto was unavailable, which meant a half hour wait for a table at 1 PM. So we tried out Seasons 52 across the way, and while it was refreshing to see all that all their menu options are under 400 calories, they’re certainly not cheap. Plus I prefer the casualness of Puesto – Seasons 52’s carpeting and stuffy interior seemed out of place at the Headquarters. Hey, at least they’re not Pizzeria Mozza, where a couple of pizzas and a bottle of wine will set you back $100… Anthony’s Fish Grotto on the downtown harbor front has such potential given its location, but it’s atmosphere leaves a bit to be desired. That’s going to change with the planned makeover of the building, which will feature open architecture and green building concepts:
– Kensington is getting a 5000 square foot Stehly Farms Market in its Kensington Commons mixed-use project, which is still under construction. They’ll feature all organic produce, and a juice bar, deli and indoor/outdoor seating. Sounds just like what our neighborhood needs, and that’s one more errand that won’t require a car trip for us… On Convoy in Kearny Mesa, Common Theory will serve Asian food and 30+ taps of local craft beer; grand opening in May… Still waiting to hear if and when the San Diego night market will return to Kearny Mesa after an amazing 15,000 people turned up for the inaugural event last year… For some reason we’d never been to Alforon on El Cajon Boulevard in Rolando, and it turns out we’ve been missing some great Lebanese flatbreads, hummus and baba ganoush, all at very reasonable prices. Plus the family that owns the restaurant will really make you feel at home… DeMi Cafe has opened in the former Monica’s spot in University Heights.
– Next weekend is a big one for bicyclists, with the (nearly sold out) 26-mile Bikes and Beers on Saturday 3/29, followed the next day by Pacific Beach Ciclosdias on Garnet… If you’re really into bicycling, L.A. shuts down Wilshire Boulevard the next weekend for CicLaVia… We’ve been hearing about the SR15-adjacent bike lane from Adams Ave to Camino Del Rio South ever since we moved to Kensington 14 years ago, and now it looks like it’s really going to happen. The only bummer – how many times will you need to east/west backtrack just to get to the trolley station on the other side of the freeway?
– Thanks to SD Uptown News for asking me to contribute an opinion piece on pedestrian safety in Hillcrest… The Hillcrest Business Association decided not to vote on the SANDAG Universtiy Ave bike corridor this week and formed an ad-hoc committee to study it… Since businesses are concerned about the loss of street parking with the project, I started researching ways to mitigate the problem and posted some suggestions; I’ll add any more as I receive them. I’ve forwarded them on to the Chief Operating Officer of Uptown Parking District, who provided lots of additional information.