Welcome to San Diego Blog | August 18, 2010
North Embarcadero Visionary Plan – Will it Ever Happen?
If you are a resident of Downtown or are an involved resident of San Diego, then there’s no doubt that you’ve heard mention of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan. This is the plan that sets out to redevelop the entire western waterfront of Downtown San Diego at Harbor Drive from Broadway towards the north all the way to Laurel Street. This NEVP brings parks and recreation to the waterfront and replaces the “concrete jungle” that currently occupies this amazing space.
Because the North Embarcadero visionary plan in its entirety is approximately 1 mile long and 1/4 mile wide, the plan was originally mapped into different phases. The funding for the first phase was already allocated and CCDC has $28M dollars set aside for the construction to begin. The caveat to this is that if the final plans are not approved by the California Coastal Commission and the project is not ready to begin by June 30 of 2011, the State of California could actually come in and take those funds from CCDC.
We could lose all or a good part of those funds because the State of California is in a budget crisis. According to Mayor Jerry Sanders, the State of California has already tapped into a large sum of city funds this year. This leads us to believe that the state would be proactive in dipping into the $28M dollars if we can’t get phase 1 moving along.
Why Hasn’t the NEVP been Approved by the Coastal Commission?
According to Irene McCormack from the Unified Port of San Diego, the reason the Coastal Commission has declined the project the last 2 times is because they want more public input, workshops and more park space. We currently have two strikes and the next time we submit the plans to the CA Coastal Commission, we better have it right. If we mess up this time, it could cost us up to $28M and San Diego can’t afford to kiss that money good bye.
What is being done?
This evening, there was a meeting at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal to review the current plan and propose to alternate plans that could make a difference. The design team was present and explained some conceptual ideas they had, but wanted feedback from the public regarding what their thoughts were. Some of the options presented and topics discussed were:
- For the green spaces, should there be Jacaranda trees with gardens below or should there be Jacarandas on only half the space and grass areas?
- Should they add water fountains to the space?
- One of the most significant variations was to reduce Harbor Drive to only 2 or 3 lanes and increase the open promenade space from 135′ max to about 150′ . This would create a larger open space right along the waterfront and would leave more space for special events along the waterfront.
- Should Harbor Drive be closed off completely to create a park that reaches all the way to the waterfront at the County Administration building?
- How would changing the streets impact traffic?
- The need for open spaces for dogs was also noted as an important item.
- One of the other concerns was parking for people driving in to Downtown to enjoy the space.
There are more meetings next Tuesday 8/24 and Wednesday 8/25 if you weren’t able to attend tonight’s meeting. The address is 1140 N. Harbor Drive at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal. Please participate and share your constructive thoughts. These meetings are to brainstorm ideas, contribute thoughts and give feedback so the designers can make our waterfront an amazing space. With your help, we can get the Coastal Commission to approve this.