Surveys of the community look to a bright future for Pacific Beach
by Dave Schwab
Dec 09, 2013 | 2022 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A series of maps were produced for the SoftGIS survey of Pacific Beach to identify zones of importance to the respondents. Above, a map shows areas of interest, along with a color-coded key to denote whether the spot was perceived negatively or positively (blue areas indicate negative responses and red areas indicate positive responses).
A series of maps were produced for the SoftGIS survey of Pacific Beach to identify zones of importance to the respondents. Above, a map shows areas of interest, along with a color-coded key to denote whether the spot was perceived negatively or positively (blue areas indicate negative responses and red areas indicate positive responses).
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Results from two recent surveys, one by and mostly for students and another mainly targeting adults, will be used by Pacific Beach as it updates its community plan and strives to make the beachfront a more sustainable urban neighborhood.

Mission Bay Cluster schools, K-12, are involved in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, which teaches students to learn about their place within the community and be involved though community service. 

A community planning survey tailored to K-12 students was done and student leaders will be analyzing the results and presenting their conclusions to the community at planning workshop sessions from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at PB Middle School, 4676 Ingraham St., on Dec. 11.

Also, preliminary results are in for the so-called SoftGIS Survey developed by Finnish researchers currently based at San Diego State University. The unique, online map-based survey has collected information about how people use PB day to day, what they value about the community and what they’d like to see improved.

“We have brewing what I call the ‘perfect storm’ for community planning in Pacific Beach,” said Chris Olson, Pacific Beach Planning Group member, about the upcoming Dec. 11-13 community meetings presided over by the American Institute of Archtiect’s Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT).

“Planning experts are working with people invested in the community and we also have some grant funding coming in to help us do what we need to do,” said Olson. “We’ve been gathering the most data and information we can about what people in the community think the direction of our beach area should be. We’re putting it into a format that can be presented at these Town Hall meetings.”

Following up on a community Town Hall meeting held at Mission Bay High School in June, the SDAT team is returning to listen to community input and work with stakeholders to make progress toward creating a more sustainable urban neighborhood along the beachfront.

Pacific Beach’s current community plan was developed more than 20 years ago. Data collecting for the community plan update in progress began in the summer.  

Olson noted there were many interesting points — and some surprises — in both surveys.

“A lot of it (SoftGIS Survey) from the adult perspective focused on the Garnet Corridor, still our most-visited area, which those surveyed said has the most potential that we need to work on,” Olson said.

Another “hot spot” in Pacific Beach that survey respondents were especially concerned about are the gateways into the community, including Interstate 5 on the north end.

“People said the entrances into the community are ugly and need some fixing up, some aesthetic improvements,” said Olson. “People love the beaches, but they don’t like the constrained boardwalk area there or the blighted area in southern Pacific Beach along the ocean.”

On the student survey side, Olson said half the students in PB schools live “somewhere outside the community” from far-flung areas across San Diego County.

“Students said what they liked most about PB was the restaurants, stores and businesses,” Olson said, adding what that group felt were the biggest community problems were “trash and homeless people.”

The biggest need in the community?

According to students, the answer was a “movie theater.”

“That’s what the kids say they want,” Olson said. That and “more bike and skateboard paths.”

The student survey though did turn up at least one unexpected result.

“Students said they want more trees,” said Olson, adding the community’s youth were more far-sighted than anticipated.

“The things that concerned them were affordable housing, habitat and ecosystem renewal, energy and water supply,” Olson said. “They’re thinking about the big picture. That was interesting.”

Olson said respondents for the SoftGIS Survey for adults concluded that PB’s great potential is not fully realized.

“It’s great that we have all this information to work with,” he said. “Now we have to do something with it.”

Community Town Hall meetings on PB’s community plan update and on the AIA effort to find ways to make PB more environmentally sustainable, will be held Dec. 11 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 13 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., both at PB Middle School at 4676 Ingraham St.

For more information, visit www.aiasandiego.org/cote.
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