Poll: Will Balboa Park Be Better Off With Remodel, Parking Garage?

San Diego City Council’s approval of centennial makeover called “desecration” by critics.

By a 6-1 vote after a 7-hour hearing Monday, the San Diego City Council approved a makeover for Balboa Park. Parking will be banned at its heart and moved to an 800-space parking garage, with auto-driving visitors helping foot the bill. A planned bypass bridge also is planned. La Mesa basketball icon Bill Walton spoke in support of the centennial project, advocated by La Jolla’s Irwin Jacobs. But Bruce Coons of the Save Our Heritage Organisation was quoted in U-T San Diego as calling the plan “an extreme desecration of our greatest legacy.” Your view?

eva thorm July 12, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Exactly Deena, you don't have to park in the new structure and pay because there is so much free parking! Yay! But unfortunately the City voted to pay their part of the bill with revenue from this new parking structure...so if noone parks there, how will they pay the money back? The few special events where everyone is so exhausted looking for alternative spots and will gladly pay to park will be the rare exception you will see this structure full. That's why the City will be forced to make you pay for all the free parking too. People always fill up any free parking first, that's a fact. And by the way, the zoo has announced it will also start charging for parking once the structure in Balboa Park has opened (it's expensive enough already to go to the zoo, especially with kids). And then there are all the other arguments against this project...I am NOT a preservationist because it's a handy tool against change. This project was ill conceived, the 1960's style by-pass bridge an after thought in a backwards design process and there was no public process worth mentioning (the 200 + meetings quoted by the supporters were mostly "dog and pony shows"), and the many viable alternatives were never truly considered.
Russell Buckley July 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
The changes are relatively minor and positive. I tend in the conservative direction, but I find your ultra conservative positions about opposing any change to the park beyond unreasonable. Surely there are issues of more consequence to get so worked up about.
Allen Hazard July 12, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Should the question have asked not about a cars free Plaza de Panama (which we all want), but about the impact of the Jacobs plan on the historic resources (Cabrillo Bridge, the 1915 Spanish Colonial Revival buildings, etc.) and the economic feasibility - the impact of paying $10 to $15 to pay in a massive PAID parking garage in the middle of the park. It would appear that this paper has worded the question to for a specific response (yes to the plan) that caters to those who haven't been following this project, simply the most expensive and destructive plan for our Balboa Park
eva thorm July 12, 2012 at 06:48 PM
These changes are anything but minor. Many people, and it's not their fault, don't really understand the project. There was no physical model, only deceiving 3-D images and animations and for the untrained eye the topographic maps are very hard to read...and the prospect of a car free plaza sounds admittedly really good. But contrary to what many say it is NOT worth the trade off. Even one of San Diego's Architect celebrities had a Freudian slip when speaking in favor of the project he said: "(...)shortcomings of this project far outway the amenities."
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