Ocean Beach rethinking Newport Avenue
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 09/02/16 - 04:56 PM | 4479 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Newport Avenue on a foggy day.
Newport Avenue on a foggy day.
slideshow
A “visioning workshop” held recently for Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach has residents talking community priorities and problems.

The workshop focused on examining the challenges and opportunities for Newport Avenue. Following a brief analysis of existing conditions, attendees submitted suggestions for improvement involving infrastructure, circulation, land-use, environment and community.

One of those weighing in was Denny Knox, executive director of Ocean Beach MainStreet Association Business Improvement District. Signage was among her major concerns.

“We’ve thought of a lighted sign over Newport Avenue like they have in other small communities,” said Knox. “We’re working on consolidating all the signs in the business district so we have fewer individual signs all up and down each pole.  We’d like that to be done sometime soon.”

“If we win the lottery,” quipped Knox, “we would really like to redo the sidewalks and curbs – but that seems highly unlikely.”

Noting “the City will be changing out the tops of our decorative acorn street lamps and will put in LED lighting next year (promised next summer),” Knox pointed out, “We’re hoping to see some mini spaces for parking motorcycles at the end of each parking strip.”

The workshop's suggestions will be collected and summarized, and the findings will be compiled into a report, said John Ambert, an architect and chair of the Ocean Beach Community Planning Board who's guiding the workshop discussion.

“This report will be used to facilitate a follow-up discussion with local architects, engineers, and planners at a community event in October in partnership with the AIA San Diego's Archtoberfest,” Ambert said.

Ambert noted the goal of these workshops “is to submit a document of the findings and recommendations to the City of San Diego identifying future Capital Improvement Projects on and around Newport Avenue that will make our community a more healthy, resilient and sustainable neighborhood.”

Two other OBecians, Craig Klein, OBCPB treasurer, and Dan Dennison, attended the Aug. 24 visioning charette. Both shared their views on what transpired.

“They're going to be repaving Newport Avenue and they asked us to put together a wish list of what we'd like to see happen on Newport,” said Klein, who answered, “a traffic signal at the intersection of Newport and Bacon,” when asked what his wish list included.

"There are a lot of things you can do," pointed out Dennison, noting maps on infrastructure and drainage  were prominently displayed on five workshop tables. Dennison, however, asked, “Will we (OB) be inclined to influence what the city does this year?”

“Probably not,” said Dennison answering his own query while adding the workshop itself “was a good gathering.

“My wish list would have more pavers at crosswalks to give it a different texture from the street,” Dennison said.

adding, “I'd like to see a new lifeguard station. We deserve it as a community.”

Both Peninsulans, however, were skeptical that funding for any kind of infrastructure improvements in OB would be forthcoming any time soon.

Concerning what needs to be done on Newport, Klein noted, “Sidewalks are in deplorable condition.” He added that, whatever improvements end up being done, that “the community plan will be followed.”

Klein blamed the strong-mayor form of government, which sets the mayor apart from the City Council, for lessening the power and influence of the nine district councilmembers depriving them of “control over city departments.”

While agreeing there's an “entitlement attitude” among some city staff, Dennison noted he'd like to combine numerous planning entities on the Peninsula asking, “Why do we have three planning boards?  He believes the community planning process “needs to be overhauled,” concluding, “So many things could be very simple."

Ambert said community volunteers are being gathered to help with the workshop assessment process. Those interested in volunteering should email johnambert@gmail.com.

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