It’s not the usual rally with impassioned speakers and homemade signs; instead they plan to walk a 10-foot-wide red helium-filled balloon, raised to a height of 60 feet, down Morena Boulevard. The idea is to help residents visualize the impact of one of the proposed changes, raising the existing height limit for buildings from 30 feet to 60 feet. Organizers also want to express concerns over other city-backed revisions to the community plan. The demonstration is scheduled for Sept. 27 at 10 a.m.
Although the new plan has yet to be fully vetted and approved by the City Council, it does include recommendations for increasing the density and reducing the required parking spaces for new development in the area. The argument for reduced parking is that because of the proximity to the trolley stations, and with the proliferation of other transportation options like Car2Go and Uber, residents of new buildings on Morena will likely have only one car or none at all.
The city says it needs to make these changes to be able to attract developers who will provide needed housing. Locals contend the residential area’s infrastructure, much of which was built in the late 1940s through the ’50s, cannot handle the increased traffic new development would bring to the neighborhood. They say parking is already a problem in Bay Park.
The trolley stations, at Tecolote Road and Morena, at Clairemont Drive and Morena and at Balboa and Morena, will serve the already-approved Mid-Coast trolley expansion. Expanding the trolley service area is part of an effort by SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) and the city to meet state requirements to reduce emissions from vehicles under SB 375. The new trolley line will run from the Santa Fe Depot downtown up to UCSD and terminate at Westfield UTC shopping center. Construction is expected to start in 2015, with riders boarding the first trolley cars sometime in 2019.
— Janet Poutre is publisher of the blog ClairemontCentral.com. She is also president of the Clairemont Chamber of Commerce. Contact her with story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.