The greatest challenge for anyone involved in planning for public use facilities and areas is in the factoring for the uncertainties of the future, short and long-term. We have all heard that “you don’t build the church for Easter Sunday.” We accept that there will be times when the design will not meet the capacities or timing or attraction for everyone at every time. [Read more…] about A Planner’s Opportunity – Gender Neutral Facilities
Dear Chairman Merrifield and Commissioners:
On behalf of the San Diego Environment + Design Council, we are submitting the following comments. [Read more…] about Open letter to San Diego Port Commission about “world class waterfront” development proposals
Governor Jerry Brown’s “Streamlining Affordable Housing Approvals” proposal will have far-reaching consequences on urban planning in cities and counties across California. However, there has been little discussion about the real-world consequences of this policy on the planning profession with regard to public participation. [Read more…] about Why Gov. Brown’s housing plan is bad for planning
“Caltrans does not restrict the right of free speech with handheld banners, but attaching flags or banners is not allowed,” a Caltrans-Spokesman told the San Jose Mercury News. He added, “We are concerned that people waving handheld banners could cause driver distraction — putting their safety or that of the motoring public at risk.”
Today, we have prioritized the ‘motoring public’ over all other aspects of public life. [Read more…] about Overpassing the value of public space
After months of discussion and several revisions, the Downtown Mobility Plan goes to the San Diego City Council on June 21st. The plan aims to transform the street grid to an integrated urban network for all including motorists, transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians. Downtown’s workforce and residential populations are projected to more than double within twenty years and numerous buildings are currently under construction. [Read more…] about Downtown San Diego Mobility Plan – to Council June 21st
“Moving to the city,” “live-work-play,” and “sharing economy” – these are some of the soundbites of the new generation. As some metro areas compete to recruit and capitalize on the next workforce, are they overlooking or even sacrificing sound planning principals that focus on the long term retention of the next wave? [Read more…] about Should we plan for families in the ‘new’ city?
At first glance, the recent East Village Convadium proposal has many appealing qualities: it is an attractive, modern complex with many interesting features. However, the Charger’s owners hope to capitalize on the recent trend in California and use the ballot initiative process to “expedite” California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, and for good reason. The flash and hype of the ballot initiative covers many significant, unanswered questions about potential cost overruns and environmental impacts that may cost San Diego taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. [Read more…] about A Football Stadium in East Village? Not so Fast
Downtown San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park expansion opened last week . . . more or less. Construction is not quite complete. San Diego’s downtown (at least post-WWII downtown) has thus far lacked a vibrant town square like San Francisco’s Union Square or similar successful plazas in other major cities. This major expansion of the small historic plaza is intended to fill the bill. The design team for Horton Plaza Park included Walker Macy | Landscape Architecture, the same firm that designed Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. Features include cafe-style tables and chairs, amphitheater-style steps / bleachers, and pillars / obelisks that double as lighting for events. There’s a Starbucks, Sloan’s Ice Cream, Arts Tix Kiosk, and a yet to be named vendor all built into the park. [Read more…] about Is San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square 2.0?
San Francisco has 23,000 metered parking spaces and sets prices using complex “demand-responsive rate adjustments.” Around SF City Hall, for example, hourly rates vary by time of day and block by block – up to $5.25 midweek and as low as $.25 on weekends. In San Diego, despite the growing population and a tightening supply, many locals still expect free parking – especially in beach communities. San Diego currently has about 5,700 metered spaces mostly charging a top rate of $1.25 per hour. Nearly all the metered spaces are in Uptown and Downtown where parking is a hot topic at neighborhood meetings. [Read more…] about Parking Management: San Diego Style (Part Two)
On the subject of a potential downtown San Diego East Village NFL stadium, some proponents have asserted that Indianapolis’s downtown Lucas Oil Stadium was a catalyst for redevelopment and revitalization. I recalled that Walter Scott Chambers III, urban planning wonk and owner of the blog Great Streets San Diego, had moved to Indianapolis. Ironically, his last article in that wonderful but now-dormant blog, was entitled 5 Key Indicators That Your City Is Not A World Class City. Number 4 of the 5 was “It has a Civic Center, a Sports Multi-Complex, an Arts District, an Entertainment District (any or all of the these).” Anyway, I reached out to him by email to see what he thought of the use of Lucas Oil Stadium as a shining example of an NFL stadium catalyst for downtown revitalization (nevermind that East Village is already “revitalizing” at boom-times speed without another stadium). Here’s what Walt said, sans the niceties at the beginning and the end of his email: [Read more…] about Is Indianapolis a good comparison for a San Diego Charger downtown stadium?