PB planners formulate aggressive project list for community’s future
by Mariko Lamb
Feb 14, 2013 | 5649 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer (left) leads a crowd of bicyclers and walkers over the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge after a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 20. The new bicycle/pedestrian pathway was the first of many environmental and community improvement projects being planned for the Pacific Beach area.                                                               Photo by Don Balch I Beach & Bay Press
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As another year set in Pacific Beach, the local Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) lauds its successes, continues to scrutinize ongoing challenges facing the community and members are looking forward to a new year of activity that will bring more improvement to the neighborhood that is so near and dear to its heart.

Here are a few of the planning group’s accomplishments in 2012 and updates on ongoing projects that are expected to affect area residents for years to come.

RECREATION AND PUBLIC PARKS

The Pacific Beach Boardwalk and Parks Neighborhood District project — a conceptual redevelopment plan for south Pacific Beach’s oceanfront boardwalk between Grand Avenue and Pacific Beach Drive — continues to drive forward as a number of dedicated community leaders put in hundreds of volunteer hours and take steps to ensure the community-inspired urban revitalization plan comes to fruition.

In November, the PBPG submitted the plan to the city as a priority in the capital improvements project (CIP) budget for fiscal year 2014.

“It is a long shot for them to use their CIP dollars on PB parks, but it certainly got the attention of city of San Diego staff. Now they know things are happening in PB, and we are going to keep knocking on the doors of City Hall,” said Chris Olson, who spearheaded the project.

In January, the City Council selected the project as one of five to be submitted for a $400,000 San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) planning grant to further develop the concept, schematic design, required analyses and implementation plan. The City Council and District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer also committed a total of $70,000 in staff services for the planning phase of the project.

“It’s very rare for a grassroots initiative to arise from a local group like this. The city staff was very impressed that we accomplished this on our own,” said Olson. “There are a lot of great things coming on our beautiful horizon in PB.”

To promote the continued improvement of the neighborhood, the nonprofit organization Beautiful PB was launched last year by a group of residents and business owners to advocate on behalf of planning improvement projects in the community, like the boardwalk and parks project, traffic corridor and entryway improvement initiatives and, ultimately, the creation of a Community Benefit District (CBD), commonly known as a Maintenance Assessment District, by early 2014.

The organization is working collectively with community groups to serve as a vehicle to educate property owners, business owners and residents about the benefits that a CBD would have on the community. The nonprofit volunteers are also working in collaboration with Faulconer’s office to delineate the city’s jurisdiction to determine what added value the CBD could provide.

“With the internal support, as well as the financial support of Councilman Faulconer’s office, we are creating a ‘model block’ for the community to understand and visualize the positive impact a CBD would bring to our community,” said Kristen Victor, president of Beautiful PB.

The nonprofit is also focusing on eco-district and healthy-living components to its urban redevelopment approach, like researching energy, communitywide water and material resource reduction, safe bike lanes and pedestrian walkways, clean water and ADA access.

For more information or to take the online survey, visit www.beautifulpb.com.

BEACHES AND BAYS

Among its other projects for which the nonprofit advocates is the Mission Bay Gateway project — a regional environmental, education and recreational joint-use project for improvement around Mission Bay High School, Campland, Rose Creek and De Anza Cove. The project got off to a great start last year with the recent addition of the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge to enhance the biking and walkability options of the Mission Bay Park region, and committee members continue to work to ensure the area is improved smartly and for the benefit of the community and the environment.

A map and project description can be found at www.missionbaygateway.org. The project will also be presented to the Pacific Beach Town Council on Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pacific Beach Woman’s Club.

Also a regular agenda item over the coming year will be the North Pacific Beach lifeguard station project proposed last year where Law Street hits the sand. A planning group subcommittee has been at work over the past several months, listening to community input and understanding lifeguards’ needs for a City Council-approved facility north of Crystal Pier.

“We have also visited local lifeguard facilities,” said subcommittee chairman Scott Chipman. “Two north PB sites are being considered and the city architects are preparing schematic designs to help the subcommittee determine the best site and configuration.”

The next meeting, where the schematics will be reviewed, has not yet been scheduled. Contact Chipman at Scott@-Chipman.info for more information about the Mission Bay Gateway or North PB lifeguard station projects.

PEDESTRIAN AND TRANSPORTATION

As the Parking and Traffic Subcommittee continues to plug away at ongoing projects like pedestrian crosswalks along Garnet Avenue, an all-way stop at Olney Street and Pacific Beach Drive and water-pipe projects and paving on Lamont and Cass streets, community requests for additional investigations into pedestrian- and bike-friendly intersections continue to roll into the subcommittee’s agenda for review.

One of the subcommittee’s biggest ongoing projects, however, is launching full-speed into its comprehensive pedestrian master plan to improve major thoroughfares and intersections for pedestrian and vehicle safety in Pacific Beach. The plan identifies key areas of concern within an area roughly spanning from the oceanfront east to Mission Bay Drive and from Turquoise Street south to Pacific Beach Drive.

A dozen recommended improvement areas include streamlined intersections and merge zones, mobility studies, trail and boardwalk improvements and pedestrian access to a future trolley station proposed at the confluence of Balboa Avenue and Santa Fe Street for the impending Mid-Coast Trolley Line. More information about the project, including a PowerPoint presentation and letter to the city’s planning division regarding details of the plan are available at www.pbplanning.org.

Sixteen blocks of sidewalk on Garnet Avenue — from Mission Boulevard to Ingraham Street — will also be getting a deep steam-cleaning to rid stains in the high pedestrian traffic areas, thanks to proceeds from Pacific Beach’s Tuesday Farmers Market and funding from Faulconer’s office.

“The idea will be to continue the efforts in different locations every six months until the entire district gets completed,” said Sara Berns, executive director at Discover PB. “We hope this will encourage businesses to continue to maintain the sidewalks once we have removed some of the initial gum stains that are very hard to get out.”

She said she hopes ongoing revenue from the farmers market will make for a sustainable funding source to continue providing the service.

“Community members can help keep PB clean simply by shopping and promoting the PB Tuesday Farmers Market,” she said.
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vickys639
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February 14, 2013
Why is the gateway project being led at the Pacific Beach planning group level? Aren't the bay-area parklands overseen by the Mission Bay park committee. If so, shouldn't they be leading any initiative with the Pacific Beach planning group offering input only?