West Bean is open in the Mister A’s building in Bankers Hill, which received a makeover after Papa Doug purchased it in 2016:
The North Park Observatory was temporarily closed recently over safety and alcohol issues. I was out of town and didn’t realize the Big Boi show we attended last Thursday was the first after the venue re-opened:
In Normal Heights, Discount Fabrics in the former Adams Avenue Theater is closing, because the building has been sold, or it hasn’t. It was fascinating to read the store’s owner disparage Normal Heights because street parking is in demand. As he pined for the good old parking days, he somehow left out the fact that Adams Avenue was a “fading middle class neighborhood“, a “place of crime and troubled teens” and gang fights. I’ll never understand folks who prioritize street parking over basic quality of life in their communities.
Rosalie and Tom recall during the late 1990s, one day, on-street parking was scarcer than usual. This was a bellwether. Suddenly, they noticed buildings rising above the wire wreaths of telephone poles. Since then, the encroachment is on. The new generation of occupiers are carless; they like not having a Vons or a Target; they Uber or ride the trolley; they are cool, hip, and options-fat.
Development and zoning:
The Union Tribune has another piece on Kearny Mesa’s plans to “add mixed-use, transit-oriented developments and build on its current Asian thematic district along Convoy Street”
Modern Times has announced their newest annual festival, Carnival of Caffeination, which will be held at their new event space on Kurtz St. behind the Sports Arena:
A meticulously selected cadre of incredibly bad-ass brewers and roasters will occupy our new warehouse & event space, The Fortress of Raditude, for a day of pure, liquid magnificence.
On hand will be a jaw-dropping arsenal of dark, coffee-centric, and barrel-aged beers alongside a king’s ransom of dazzling coffee-creations from some of the most boss-level roasters in the universe
Scroll down on that link to see the list of breweries and roasters. Modern Times has been putting out some amazing variations on their Black House coffee stout, including a new Nitro with coconut and cocoa:
First, thanks to everyone who came out in support of these projects. After years of setbacks and delays, the broad support felt like a turning point. The Meade Bikeway meeting at Normal Heights Community Planning Group was particularly surprising – there were no negative comments against the project. And opponents’ arguments against the Pershing Bikeway were either easily dispatched (SANDAG’s traffic study disproved concerns over traffic delays) or downright silly, like this resident’s claim that traffic calming is “social engineering“:
This gem came from a SoNo Neighborhood Alliance representative, who vowed to block future bike safety projects in the community. I’m not sure how converting a freeway-like road to make it safer for all users is “social engineering”, while decades of building roads exclusively for drivers isn’t? Given SoNo’s opposition to anything that improves equity – including new housing in North Park – they are actively defying their own mission statement of “building consensus” and “achieving compromise”. When every street in North Park is dedicated to moving and storing cars, opposing the only north/south bike lane in the community isn’t “compromise”.
– The positive developments on the projects above were tempered by the City’s foundering Complete Boulevard study on dangerous El Cajon Boulevard. Armed with a $175K grant from SANDAG to address the high rate of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and deaths on this corridor, the City set out to propose:
“multi-modal mobility infrastructure improvements within the El Cajon Boulevard corridor between Highland Avenue and 50th Street, and will produce a planning study that includes preliminary engineering drawings for the highest priority improvements. The mobility infrastructure improvements envisioned for the corridor are intended to help realize the transformative potential of the Rapid Bus service in Mid-City by creating a more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly street corridor”
How did this critical study on one of the city’s Vision Zero corridors go from “multi-modal mobility infrastructure” to just crosswalks and sidewalk bulb-outs? Despite a street parking usage rate of just 46%, and loads of off-street parking, the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association, Little Saigon Business District and City Heights Community Planning Group all refuse to accommodate a bike lane on El Cajon Boulevard at the expense of any parking. Community planning group board members attacked the bike lanes at their meeting last month:
“It’s for Hillcrest and SDSU, and we’re just a corridor,” said Kenton Finkbeiner. “It’s really not meeting the needs of our community.”
His colleague, Jim Varnadore agreed. “We’ve been somebody’s passageway for too long,” Varnadore said. “What we should be thinking about is safety that protects pedestrians, not what a few bicyclists want.”
Varnadore has a long history of opposing bike infrastructure and made snide comments about bicyclists at the prior City Heights planning group meeting I attended. Is Jim aware that it’s possible for safety improvements to benefit pedestrians *and* bicyclists?
I didn’t understand what Finkbeiner meant, so he clarified for me that bike lanes are for “white collar” outsiders only, and are “insulting”:
This reminded me of Uptown Planner Mat Wahlstrom’s comment that “only white people ride bikes”, but these misguided volunteers planning our communities couldn’t be any further from the truth: most bicyclists are lower-income immigrants. Is bicyclist Omar Avila, injured on El Cajon Boulevard by an SUV, a white collar outsider? And here’s a recent tweet about the full bike racks at the El Cajon Boulevard YMCA (which I can personally attest has a wide range of incomes and ethnicities among its membership):
Remember when CHAPC members said city heights residents don’t ride bikes ? Today at Copley price YMCA . The other rack was full also pic.twitter.com/1h8HWiANI4
Here in ‘white-collar’ Kensington, we’ve had some residents convert their garages to personal businesses, who then park on the street and worsen residential street parking demand. Yet the City’s residential zoning requirements state that operating a business out of your residence “shall not eliminate or reduce required off-street parking”. Surely this isn’t happening in City Heights too, especially among the most vocal critics of bike lanes?
The most intriguing question is why would Finkbeiner, an environmental planner and San Diego Canyonlands volunteer, invent reasons to attack bicyclists who are helping the environment? I’m not the only one to notice a disturbing pattern of hatred toward bike advocates within my own gay community and its allies, often coming from high-profile members like Wahlstrom, Finkbeiner, Jonathan Hale, Tim Gahagan and Jim Winsor. Apparently some in our community who demand tolerance and equality view these principles as a one-way street… with no room for people on bikes.
Another argument used against bike lanes on El Cajon Boulevard is that the nearby proposed SANDAG Bikeways make them ‘redundant’, despite bicyclists needing safe access to businesses on ECB. The author of the Reader article above, a (former?) opponent of the Meade Bikeway, states that the Meade route runs parallel to the study’s stretch of El Cajon from Highland to 50th. However, Meade Bikeway actually ends well west of these blocks:
Instead, it’s the Monroe Bikeway that runs parallel to the Complete Boulevard segment, and that Bikeway has been hung up between the City and Talmadge residents feuding over prior vehicle access issues. There is no guarantee that the Monroe Bikeway will be built, and if it is, it will likely be well after the Meade Bikeway’s 2019 completion date (again, these Bikeways got started in 2012). The same could also be said for the Orange-Howard Bikeway also cited by the Reader author, because it doesn’t have a planning/construction timetable yet either. The icing on the Bikeway cake is that the SANDAG Transportation Committee now requires its own final approval of all Bikeway projects (instead of just CEQA exemption) before passing them on to the full board, for yet another final approval.
Absent from any of these conversations is the staggering ($15 billion) cost to California from gas-powered vehicle impacts on climate and health, particularly in lower-income communities such as City Heights. Like the SoNo Neighborhood Alliance opposing measures that would increase equity in their neighborhoods, a group of residents and business owners in City Heights are doing the same on El Cajon Boulevard – while casting bicyclists as the villains. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.