Welcome to San Diego Blog | February 13, 2020
Balboa Parking Spaces: Will be a Public Plaza
A parking lot in the southern portion of central Balboa Park will be turned into a gathering place, with a goal of breathing new life into a quieter part of San Diego’s Crown Jewel.
The San Diego City Council unanimously voted Monday to allow city employees to move forward on the first phase of a $1.2 million parking and pedestrian project in Balboa Park.
The Balboa Park Palisades Phase I Project will replace the South Palisades parking lot with a pedestrian-friendly plaza area and green space. The current parking lot and planned plaza are sandwiched between the Automotive Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Municipal Gym, and the Comic-Con Museum.
The project will create a public plaza with seating and tables, four L- shaped turf areas, and a central space for a potential future water feature. The plan also calls for creating shelters for the tram stop, lighting improvements, and repaving the North Palisades lot along with the Inspiration Point and South Carousel lots, which will also be restriped to add more spaces. In total, Balboa Park will lose 13 parking spots.
The North Palisades will remain and be repaved. Still, park goers will lose access to 144 conveniently located parking spots.
The changes, meant to return the land to its 1935-era purpose, have been contemplated since the adoption of Balboa Park’s master plan in 1989. They were further articulated in the more specific land-use document for the park’s Central Mesa, which was adopted in 1992 and is centered around creating a pedestrian-friendly plaza.
Councilman Chris Ward, whose district includes Balboa Park, pushed to fund the Palisades project and other improvements during the last budget cycle. In June, City Council approved budget allocations for the Palisades pedestrian plaza, park restrooms, and Federal Building roof repairs. Since then, the plaza project has been presented to the city’s park advisory group, the Balboa Park Committee, where it appeared to be greeted with unanimous support.
Still, the project — or rather it’s timing — is not without detractors who maintain that it is in violation of official city planning documents.
The project will begin in March and is expected to take four months to complete.