balboa pay-to-park

balboa pay-to-park

– the plan to restore the pedestrian plaza in balboa park seems to have ruffled a few feathers, since it will include a parking garage that pays for its own construction through parking fees (if donations are insufficient). i’m baffled by expectations that parking should be free everywhere – doesn’t it cost money to park at say, horton plaza? free parking will still be available in the big lot at the southern end of the park.

the opposition to reducing the current free reign of vehicles throughout balboa park ignores those who enjoy it for cycling and walking. why shouldn’t these users benefit from a single lane of traffic on coronado cabrillo bridge and a car-free plaza de panama?

routing traffic through the alcazar parking lot and on to the new underground garage behind the organ pavilion is a big improvement over just removing the parking spots in the plaza. this removes traffic entirely from this park area and would create a unique civic gathering area, perfect for small concerts, vendors, etc. and putting the garage underground with park space on top is a win-win design. it’s good to see bold, innovative proposals like this one that aren’t afraid to tick off the car-first crowd.

– coldest san diego summer in 77 years? how about coldest summer ever? so says matt baylow:

June, July, and August’s average monthly temperatures came out to the 25th coldest summer since they have been keeping track in 1851 around here. But the 24 colder summers were all before 1933. Since methods have changed slightly, and hopefully gotten significantly more accurate, it’s entirely possible that this was in fact the coldest summer ever around here.

when you look at the temperature archives, it’s clear there is a systematic difference in values from the early 1900’s, likely due to less accurate equipment. while “coldest summer ever” sums things up pretty well, here’s a few more stats:

  • only 10 out of the past 105 days have had high temps above normal
  • august 28th’s high of 66 degrees was 12 degrees below normal, and one degree below the average low for the date
  • while summer 1999 was the “coldest in 66 years” at the time, we at least salvaged a few beach weekends that year. this summer offered precisely 2 weekend days where temperatures stayed in the mid-70’s at the beach. and let’s not even go into the frigid water temps. well, better luck next year…

4 thoughts on “balboa pay-to-park

  1. I don’t see a problem with charging for parking in order to make Balboa Park even more beautiful than it is. Chicago’s Millenium Park has parking fees, as well as Boston Common. I think everyone would agree that the parking lots in the center of the park in front of the SD Museum of Art is hideous and anything would be an improvement. As far as the abundance of free things to do in SD, even if they do eventually charge for parking in Balboa Park, we still have free parking at most of beaches, Mission Bay, Mt. Soledad, etc.

  2. The thing with paid parking that is short sighted, in my opinion, is that the park is one place a family can go, enjoy the day, and not spend a dime. That’s a pretty big draw. And it sends a great message to tourists. When you compare a trip to SD vs a trip to south Florida, stuff like that makes a big difference. We have mild summer heat and it doesn’t cost you $100 to get out of the car. In SD you can do all the high end you want. But, unlike other tourist towns, you can do a lot for free!

  3. thanks joel, fixed that. i think closing a lane on the bridge would give it more of a park feel, but you’re right that vehicles aren’t a real speed hazard to cyclists.

    agreed on the paid garage… someone in the UT comments suggested variable pricing to keep the garage at 85% capacity, which makes sense. if anything they could probably add another couple of (below-ground) levels, especially if the lot in front of the aerospace museum goes away eventually.

  4. I’m pretty sure you mean Cabrillo Bridge (not Coronado Bridge) – I, for one, think it’s good for everyone at the moment. I like the idea of closing the plaza while maintaining a small road though the corner of it for the bridge. Traffic on the bridge moves slowly enough for bicyclists, and there’s plenty of sidewalk so I think the bridge is a non-issue for everyone.

    I’d also love to see a paid parking garage. On busy summer days there is literally no parking anywhere at certain times during the day. A garage means I don’t have to walk forever to get to the center of the park if I’m willing to pay that day, and it also should free up the ends of the south lot so those who don’t want to pay can still get a spot. Win-win. I’d pay up to $10 day to park in a garage if it were relatively close to the plaza. Plus, I really like the idea of “forced” donations. For instance my membership at the zoo is going to a non-profit foundation making it more worth the price, even though it’s pretty reasonable anyway. Knowing that paying for parking is what built the parking structure would make me more likely to feel okay with the price.

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