In a follow-up to a September 2018 workshop introducing the Mission Boulevard Public Spaces and Active Transportation Plan, senior City planner Elizabeth Ocampo Vivero said: “We started working on this project in 2016, applying for a SANDAG grant as well as receiving support from various community organizations including beautifulPB, Discover PB, PB Town Council and Council District 2. The primary objective is to identify opportunities for multi-modal improvements. What this really means is improving walking, bicycling, access to transit and access to the beach.”
Added Ocampo Vivero: “We also want to identify additional community spaces while strengthening the community’s character. We really want to identify opportunities for future investment and projects in this study area.”
The project area lies between Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach Drive, Diamond Street and the Ocean Boulevard boardwalk.
In 2015, a planning grant proposal called Pacific Beach Greenways, Parks and Transit was presented to SANDAG, resulting in a $400,000 grant and an additional $40,000 in matching funds. Ocampo Vivero said the new Public Spaces and Active Transportation Plan “builds upon beautifulPB’s concept plan, PB parks.
The PB Parks Project is a grass-roots, community-inspired vision celebrating PB culture and incorporating resources for residents, visitors and local businesses focusing on accessibility, public open spaces, improved landscape and integrated sustainability.
Discussing five alternative designs for reconfiguring PB streets, consultant Steve Cook, principal with Chen Ryan and Associates Inc. noted: “We can make the bike environment safer, more friendly and create more parking supply. We don’t want to create gridlock. We do want to slow people down.”
“Where do scooters fit in with this?” asked one audience member.
“They’ll use the bike lanes,” answered Cook.
“What about the bike corrals, if you don’t put them in by July 1, people will park on the sidewalk,” said PB activist Marcie Becket, adding the traffic refinements as proposed “would push a lot of traffic onto a purely residential street (Bayard).”
After the meeting, Beckett said, “The changes proposed for Mission Boulevard will slow traffic and increase congestion, so the plan needs to include measures to prevent an increase in cut-through traffic on adjacent residential streets such as Bayard.
“E-scooter parking corrals are currently not included in the plan, but they need to be added to every block. Otherwise, new City Code allows e-scooter parking on sidewalks in blocks with no parking corrals. We need to keep the sidewalks clear for pedestrian safety and ADA access,” Beckett said.
“That’s something we need to take into account,” replied Cook.
Roundabouts are a possibility in reconfiguring Mission Boulevard.
“One spot we think a roundabout would work the best is at PB Drive and Mission Boulevard,” said Cook. “The idea with this is this would be used more as a gateway, with the roundabout to slow people down coming into the community, and get them used to more of a two-lane roadway alerting them that they’re going into more of a different area.”
“It’s going to be really exciting when you have scooters, and e-bikes and bikes and pedestrians all trying to get around – very lively,” said longtime PB planner Eve Anderson. “Please do the (traffic) counts on the weekends.”
More than one person expressed concern about the safety of pedestrians crossing with roundabouts.
“One nice thing about roundabouts and pedestrian crossings is you can really cross in only one direction at a time,” noted Cook.
“The next steps after tonight are to take your thoughts and opinions about these concepts, meet with City departments and do more technical analysis of the preferred alternative,” said Ocampo Vivero. “We’re going to come back with a 30-percent design, with cost estimates, at an open house in August or September, when we’re going to present the final concepts.”