adios fiesta?

1 Jul

The building that houses Fiesta Market near Adams and 30th has been sold:


Could there be a new business coming to this spot?  It would be great to see a fresh coat of paint and some more tasteful signage on this architecturally-interesting building.  The area has been active since the opening of Polite Provisions and Soda and Swine (where they recently added outdoor patios), including the coming Beerfish spot next door to the latter. And isn’t there something new going into the former liquor shop on next door to Polite Provisions on 30th?

- Down 30th in North Park, there’s a crazy amount of new restaurants opening. Borrowing heavily from the North Park facebook page: there’s a doughnut bar with fried chicken and milk coming to 30th and Lincoln, Wow Wow Waffles has opened in the converted garage behind the laundromat at 3519 30th, mac-and-cheese (including a vegan option, yay) spot Bazinga has soft-opened in the former Sea Rocket Bistro spot, The Safehouse - an izakaya joint – is coming to 30th and University, and Influx and Tacos Perla have opened in the North Parker.  Meanwhile the North Park Theater is booking interesting indie acts like The New Pornographers and Lykke Li, meaning residents can actually walk to these types of concerts without having to drive to Chula Vista, SDSU or Solana Beach.

Speaking of the North Parker, Modern Times is having their one year anniversary party there at the Flavordome in a couple of weeks, and at their brewery in the Midway district.

- Downtown, two restaurant/market spaces are coming: San Diego Food Finds has a writeup on the nearly-open Bottega Americano in the Thomas Jefferson Law School building, which channels NYC’s Eataly, while Eater has the details on The Market Hall coming to Market and 9th – which also… channels Eataly.  Having multiple food stands and eateries housed in one space is a great concept, so the more of these the better.

- What’s the deal with that Hanson’s Market that was supposed to open in Little Italy?  Their website still says a September/October opening, but a picture up on San Diego Streets makes that date dubious.

connecthillcrest- In Hillcrest, Tap and Press has opened in that high-turnover spot at 6th and University, complete with outdoor seating.  But if there was one intersection on University that would benefit from some traffic calming to make outdoor dining more bearable, this might be it.

Bike SD has a signup form if you’d like to volunteer to help bring protected bike lanes and traffic calming to University Avenue.  I attended a volunteer meeting recently and was pleased to meet David Lundin, owner who has a financial interest in the success of Bamboo Lounge.  Only later did I found out he’s the same person who exposed the financial waste of the Balboa Park Centennial folks. David’s helping put together a centennial celebration if you’d like to contribute.  And with Jake’s on 6th hosting a recent Bike SD event, it’s great to see some Hillcrest businesses supporting complete streets.  For more information, check out the Connect Hillcrest Facebook page.

Much of the opposition to the Uptown Bike Corridor is with respect to on-street parking impacts.  As the makeover of Uptown Shopping Center into The Hub continues, there’s been some discussion between the Uptown Parking District folks and the property owners about making (paid) parking available to the public here after 9 PM.  Demand for parking in the area peaks during clubbing hours, yet this is when most of the businesses in the Uptown plaza are closed.  Why not make the largely empty lot available to drivers who are willing to pay for parking?

Tajima has opened a Ramen outpost in Hillcrest in the former Yakitori Yakudori spot on 6th.  My boss and I are regulars at their Kearny Mesa sushi spot, Tajima 2.


- I work a couple days a week near Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa, but I’ve always been afraid to ride the bike-unfriendly roads of Mission Valley.  The new MTS Rapid Bus route 235 takes me up to Clairemont Drive, and it’s a fairly easy ride from there (including through the tree-lined streets of The Spectrum, where more residential units are being built).  But I’m proud to say I finally went door-to-door by bike last week via the steep incline of Mission Center Road, which will get your blood going at 8AM.

I’m bringing up Mission Valley because there’s a project underway at Friars and SR-163 that will bring bicyclist and pedestrian improvements to the former:

Safety improvements for bicyclist and pedestrians include the construction of a bike lane and sidewalk on both sides of Friars Road as well as on- and off-ramp realignment to eliminate the ’free right’ movements.

With the recent improvements to Texas Street, and next year’s planned build of the Adams-to-Camino Del Rio bike lane, things are beginning to look up in Mission Valley.  Now if they can just tame Fairmont…

Finally, thanks to the Padres and the city/county of San Diego for putting on last week’s Tony Gwynn memorial.  My dad met him a couple years ago in our hometown airport of Albany NY (where he was returning from Cooperstown) and spoke to him for 15 minutes.  He said Tony was the nicest, most down-to-earth person you could meet.


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leo wilson loses it

20 Jun

Do you want Hillcrest to be a more vibrant urban neighborhood, with much-needed new housing? Then you’re a bigot that needs to move to downtown. Uptown Planning Chair Leo Wilson has sounded off over a city Historic Resources staff review of Hillcrest:

From: Leo Wilson
Date: Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: Uptown Community Plan Update: Hillcrest – Historic Resources Field Work
To: “Pangilinan, Marlon”

Hi Marlon::

I want to be very blunt in this E-mail.

There is a lot of hate directed at Hillcrest from certain blogs from people who claim to be “urban activists.” In most cases the individuals responsible for these blogs have no connection to Hillcrest, and are pushing agendas not related to the betterment of the Hillcrest community.

Hillcrest is where the genesis of the GLBT community took place; early on Hillcrest was often refrerred to as a “bohemian community”, where people outside of the mainstream were allowed a refuge. It is where the GLBT community initially congregated, and became mainstream. I strongly object to the failure to recognize these important historic events involving the GLBT community, and to push for the extinction of historic Hillcrest under the auspices of becoming part of “greater Downtown.” I object to certain straight white bigots attacking the members of the GLBT community accusing the Hillcrest community of being antiquated because we are asking that the character of Hillcrest, and other communities in Uptown, be preserved. If these people want to live in a high density environments, they need to move Downtown.

Any development in Hillcrest, and for that matter in the other five communities of Uptown, needs to take into account that fact that these are the historic communities of San Diego. and need to be developed in a manner that respect he historic fabric of these Uptown communities.

Leo Wilson
Uptown Planners.

I wasn’t aware of the review until I got Marlon’s email, but who exactly are the “straight white bigots” with “no connection to Hillcrest” Mr. Wilson is referring to? My husband and I have been together for over 14 years and spend a good deal of time and money in Hillcrest. While there is some historic architecture in the survey area that should be preserved (we’re members of Save Our Heritage Organisation), is Mr. Wilson saying we shouldn’t add new housing and businesses to Hillcrest because it was once a pioneering gay community? What an odd justification to freeze an urban neighborhood in time – especially given the fact San Diego requires another 330,000 housing units by 2050.

The head of the Uptown Planners bringing up discrimination, when he’s long fought against safe infrastructure for bicyclists in the Uptown neighborhoods, is laughable. Mr. Wilson opposes any increase in affordable, middle-class housing in Hillcrest that would enable younger gays (and straights) to live there. Now that’s real economic discrimination, not the imaginary kind that’s been conjured up on behalf of Hillcrest NIMBYs.

9 Responses to leo wilson loses it



June 20th, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Ugh, why is it always crazy people that are in positions of authority?


Tim Gahagan

June 20th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

What’s economic discrimination?
People who can’t pay can’t buy?



June 25th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Bigotry is often used as a tool in urban planning battles. I’m not saying bigotry isn’t involved or that anyone is right or wrong in these cases, but see Williams Ave. bike lanes in Portland as a blindsiding example:


paul jamason

June 26th, 2014 at 9:24 am

Thanks for the link Paul, that was an interesting article with several items worth thinking about. Lots of good points in the very large number of comments too.



June 28th, 2014 at 9:48 am

Leo Wilson confuses cultural history with architectural and development history. I doubt that the architecture style of Hillcrest had a significant impact of the development of the LGBT community. In fact, the modern LGBT rights movement was born in Manhattan, and it was in dense, culturally diverse urban areas that the movement flourished across the country.

Perhaps if Mr Wilson and community can identify a building that housed a significant episode in the LGBT movement in San Diego, a plague could be erected and the building considered for historic preservation. But to say an entire neighborhood should be preserved is woefully misguided.


James Davis

June 29th, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I learned a few things today after reading that article letter from the Leo Wilson of the Uptown Planners org:

- Gross inaccuracy and assumptions about bloggers from ‘urban activists’ assumed to white and straight are very alive and well
- NIMBYism hiding behind the claims of integrity of historical preservation from a GLBT point of view in Hillcrest are a great reason for this org to exist
- Credibility and ‘voice’ of said ‘organization’ is becoming questionable
- Leo Wilson cares what other people think especially in the blogosphere

Apart from thinking bloggers are white, straight, bigoted, urbanists that like density in an actual urban neighborhood, I think the point comes across quite well. NIMBYism knows no bounds.


paul jamason

June 29th, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Thanks James and Walter, well said. I agree that if there are specific buildings that represent landmarks of Hillcrest’s LGBT history, let’s preserve them too – the Stonewall bar in NYC comes to mind. But we shouldn’t use this as an excuse to spread a NIMBY blanket over the entire neighborhood. Especially when part of the NIMBY agenda is to restrict new housing in order to increase the value of their own housing even more. That’s completely contrary to the inclusive spirit that Hillcrest once exhibited.


Ben Gill

June 30th, 2014 at 12:22 pm

While indeed American history is filled with urban planning disasters couched in “revitalization” that bulldozed minority neighborhoods, this is clearly not one of those times. As a gay person I’m sickened that a “community leader” would tie the struggle for gay rights to poorly-designed streets, and that somehow updating and improving an automobile-centric neighborhood to be ever-so-slightly less automobile-centric is an attack on the neighborhood’s inherent (and apparently inherently gay) character. It’s obviously misguided from an urban planning point of view, but moreover, it dilutes actual, worthy arguments for gay cultural heritage.

When will Wilson learn the simple fact that more people would patronize his businesses if the streets were friendlier, and that more density=more customers? I just don’t get it.

Keep up the good work fighting this nonsense.


Dionne Carlson

August 9th, 2014 at 10:08 am

Frustrated and inflammatory language aside, Leo is correct in at least one point of his letter to City Planning. (and this is the main point of his email, I believe).. “Any development in Hillcrest, and for that matter in the other five communities of Uptown, needs to take into account the fact that these are the historic communities of San Diego and need to be developed in a manner that respects the historic fabric of these Uptown communities. ”

A historic survey of important LGBT sites throughout San Diego (not just Hillcrest) should be done with a view to an LGBT thematic district. Long time LGBT residents could and should help with this by finding old diaries, writing down their memories of important events, identifying not just where events took place but also where they were planned, the names of important figures involved, etc. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been sounding the alarm recently that many of the important LGBT sites across the nation are being lost because of lack of documentation and protection.

Read more about this here:

Some relevant quotes from this article:

“Much work remains to be done at the local level to give historic sites related to gay activism their due. For example, markers at sites where 1950s gay- and lesbian-themed magazines were born—such as ONE in Los Angeles and The Ladder in San Francisco—would honor the contributions those early publications made to the fostering of community.”
… In more recent history, where are the gay civil rights sites in your city, such as bars, community centers, and bookstores, and how did they function in creating social change in the 20th century? This is daunting but rewarding work that requires collaboration with LGBT historians, archives, and groups who can identify sites and figures, and correct or expand interpretations to include sexuality.”

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Downtown’s getting two new 40-story towers in an area that hasn’t seen much development: east Broadway. The towers will feature retail, residential units and a boutique hotel. It should be a big improvement over the rather drab 1950′s buildings there now, which once housed a Sushi Deli. Some articles list the buildings as the first post-recession high rise to go up downtown, but the two 22-story Blue Sky towers are also coming to Cortez Hill nearby. The Broadway developers, Zephyr, are the same group bringing 60 condos to the former 6th Avenue Medical Building at 2850 6th Ave.

One drawback is that the Zephyr project doesn’t feature any office space, and San Diego was just named one of the worst major cities for walkable retail/office development – mostly because of the lack of such projects in our suburbs. Retrofitting suburbia so residents have the option to walk/bike/bus to jobs without sitting in traffic? Rare here, but Denver’s Belmar neighborhood, where mixed-use development replaced a dying mall, is an example cited in the report. San Diego does have a few of these projects planned: Millennia in Chula Vista, One Paseo in Carmel Valley, North City in San Marcos, and Carlsbad Lifestyle (from L.A.’s Grove developer Caruso). UTC’s mixed-use plans also appear to be starting back up, and the the Mid-Coast trolley will be running there.

Over at SDSU, the $143 million South Campus Plaza project is underway, and will front College Avenue:

South campus plaza

SDSU seems to get it on sustainable planning:

South Campus Plaza is designed as a pedestrian-, transit- and bicycle-friendly development. Its location adjacent to the SDSU Transit Center will facilitate transit ridership and create less reliance on automobiles, thereby reducing pollution and traffic congestion. Because students living on campus generate significantly less traffic that those living off-campus, providing additional student housing will help the university continue to reduce student dependence on their cars.

As the FAQ points out, the city will determine whether a bike/pedestrian approach is implemented on College, so if you support that, let Chris Pearson with councilmember Marti Emerald’s office know.

Lots of news recently about that new trolley line, which won’t suffer any significant delays due to fairy shrimp-related environmental impacts. Up in UTC, residents oppose a station planned near California Pizza Kitchen on Nobel because “UCSD students will park in the station garage” (that’s quite a walk to campus) and state the trolley “duplicates the MTS SuperLoop”. Yet while the SuperLoop route covers UCSD and UTC only, the trolley goes downtown and beyond. In Bay Park, where residents oppose much-needed housing planned for the trolley line, many requests have been made to remove the Balboa Avenue station entirely.

On a positive note, Balboa station stakeholders received a California Strategic Growth Council state grant to “produce… an implementation program that would address transportation demand, economic market analysis, urban design concepts and multimodal improvement projects.” Pacific Beach has been working on an eco-district plan, “including community identity, urban design and sustainable infrastructure, economy and land use and transportation”, and both a PB Planning Group chair and a member of beautifuPB lauded the grant.

The city’s development proposals for the Morena corridor of the trolley tie into a sustainable, transit-oriented approach that several other cities are implementing. While opposition to raising the height limit to 60′ may be insurmountable, new housing near transit is a sensible way to address the city’s housing affordability crisis. Yet this and a similar plan that proposes pedestrian-oriented residential districts and streetscape improvements for the Midway/Pacific Highway area appear to be opposed by temporary district 2 councilmember Ed Harris. Here’s a screen shot of a proposed Sports Arena Village:


With our region needing 330,000 new housing units by 2050, and near-downtown neighborhoods like Ocean Beach and Hillcrest opposing any growth, the result is continued single-family house construction in distant, car-dependent exurbs. This in turn promotes resource-intensive land use and long commutes, neither of which help on the climate change front. And in trolley-served Mission Valley, some are more interested in preserving a water-wasting golf course for tourists than creating smart housing.

How do we address long-term residents who prioritize auto flow and parking convenience over sustainable, affordable housing for their own children?  Circulate SD is holding a transit-oriented development summit on July 1st promoting housing near alternative transit routes as one answer.  It’s being held at Jake’s on 6th in Hillcrest, where there’s also a Bike SD soiree on June 26th.  Thanks to Jakes for their support on these issues – it’s a world apart from nearby Harvey Milk’s Diner, where an owner actually advocated violence against local bicyclists to “teach them a lesson”.  That’s probably not a message Harvey would promote were he still alive today.

2 Responses to mid-coast trolley update



July 29th, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Hey, do you have a link for the comment by the Harvey Milk Diner’s owner? If so, I’d like to share it with some friends.




paul jamason

July 29th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Hi Carmen, it was on Sam Ollinger’s (or BikeSD’s?) twitter feed a couple months ago, but twitter search is pretty bad… I did mention this in another blog post and may have linked there? But the owner advocating violence against bicyclists is similar to what I’ve heard from others in San Diego’s gay community, which is amazingly hypocritical.

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Friday was a big day for the ParkHillcrest Trolley, the free shuttle that runs down University Ave on weekends. A new foot-focused banner wrap was added to the trolley to clearly identify it as a free neighborhood resource, and 150+ free parking spaces in the DMV parking lot it serves have officially been made public on most evenings and weekends. As a bicyclist who supports the Uptown Bike Corridor on University, I’m glad that the “worst-case” scenario of 91 lost on-street parking spaces has been more than doubled by the 202 new spaces (including angled parking conversions). Hopefully by addressing concerns over parking, this is a big step toward place-making University and providing a safer street for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The shuttle makes 2-3 stops in each direction on University, and we rode it from the DMV lot up to 5th and University, where it dropped us close to our dining destination (East Village Asian Diner). Post-dinner, we jumped back on the trolley after a short wait and returned to the DMV lot. No circling for parking, and all totally free, except for the tip we left the driver. I know that some Uptown Parking District board members aren’t thrilled about the cost of the shuttle – so if we want this excellent resource to last, let’s support it!

Saturday was Art Around Adams, which featured an actual WWF-style wrestling match in the lot across the street from Sycamore Den. Captain Thunderfist and Vic Valentine battled it out amidst wry commentary from the ringside announcers and boxes containing various “power-ups” handed out to the audience. Definitely not something you see on Adams every day:


On Sunday we took the new MTS Rapid Route 235 from the grand opening ceremony at I-15 and University, to downtown, to see the new pocket park behind Mission Cafe:


The lettering is a neat concept and the park provides a welcome break from the sidewalks for residents.


Rapid route 235 is part of a new series of rapid bus routes from MTS. What’s great about this particular route is that it takes the same path that we do when driving downtown from Kensington – the quickest one (SR-15 to SR-94). Prior to this, it took me nearly an hour to get downtown on the route 11 bus from Adams Ave. Now it takes 12 minutes to go from El Cajon Boulevard to City College.

Currently, the buses pick up passengers at the El Cajon and University stops by stopping on the freeway exit ramps. According to the MTS rep I spoke with, elevators descending to the freeway will be installed in the next 18 months to pick passengers up without having to exit the freeway. This should make service even faster.

In addition to the 235, there’s the rapid 215, which will run down El Cajon and Park Blvd beginning in September. Also, a new semi-rapid route will be added at rush hour for route 11 that will take SR-163, cutting time off that hour-long ride from Kensington.

The interiors of the buses feature higher seat backs and more comfortable chairs than I’m used to on other MTS buses. Here’s a picture of a brand new rapid bus at the City College stop (too lazy to straighten it, sorry):


We finished up the weekend with a visit to Juniper and Ivy, which looks amazing inside and serves some pretty decent food too. The place was packed for a Sunday night, and our waiter said it’s been that way since it opened:




We wrapped up the evening with some photos of the new Waterfront Park at night:



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Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream had their soft opening today at 3077 University in North Park. Located just west of Urbn Pizza and part-owned by a good friend of ours, they’re serving 32 delicious flavors of Hawaiian Tropical Dreams ice cream just in time for summer:


Between today and their appearance at the North Park festival a few weeks back, my favorite ice cream samples have been Salted Caramel, Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Oreo. Jay’s Mint Chocolate Chip featured full-size chocolate morsels, not those chopped-up bits. I have to stick with sorbet for the most part and they’ve got 4 flavors, all of which are tasty.



The interior has some cool touches, like the rack of ice cream serving spoons:


…and the sundae glass chandelier:


I also like the gathering table made of a thick slab of eucalyptus from a local tree that fell over. And there’s a street-facing counter where you can watch University and North Park grow more vibrant by the day.


2 Responses to hammond’s gourmet ice cream open



June 15th, 2014 at 7:38 am

Paul, thanks for your detailed articles!


paul jamason

June 15th, 2014 at 10:57 am

Thank you Carrie I appreciate that!

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