The change, sponsored by the community’s business improvement district, Discover Pacific Beach, took effect Jan. 7.
“Look for new farmers and food makers in 2020,” said farmers market manager Catt Fields White. “We are expanding onto Hornblend Street from Bayard to Mission Boulevard, giving us the capacity to add an additional 80 vendors. The new move will allow the market to grow from 60 to potentially 140 vendors, solving a long-time spacing issue.”
The Tuesday PB Farmers Market began in July 2011 and has occupied Bayard Street from Garnet to Grand avenues. As the market gained popularity, spacing became an issue as the organizers had to navigate access.
Early on, reviews on the new farmers' market change have been positive.
“I spoke with multiple vendors and everyone I spoke to said they felt it was a big improvement, including Ruth from Ruth’s No 5 Salsa, Botkofoods, Lowell from Goldie’s Popcorn, Pizza Belly, Bonjour Kefir yogurt, Unriced Sushi and others,” said Ed Gallagher, a Pacific Beach Planning Group member speaking for himself. “Ruth indicated sales were so good that first night she expected to sell out completely.”
Gallagher noted several other vendors, such as Momo Curry from the owner of World Curry on Garnet, had discontinued their booths on the previous stretch of the farmers market that used to run west of Hornblend toward Grand.
“That was due to lackluster foot traffic and sales,” Gallagher said. “The new configuration, which runs south from Garnet along Bayard Street, then turns west down Hornblend, is much more pedestrian-friendly and unimpeded by moving vehicles crossing through the middle of the market (as before). I’m really excited about this change, as the start of even greater growth in the size and quality of the vendors and products and services they will offer to the community.”
For the last four years, Discover PB and community leaders have advocated for the market to be moved to Garnet Avenue in response to safety issues on Garnet as a Vision Zero corridor. Vision Zero seeks an end to preventable traffic injuries and deaths via street design that brings safety, predictability, and protection from human error, along with community education and police enforcement.
“The market can be used as a tool to promote pedestrian and non-vehicle road sharing once a week and show what we believe would be positive effects of traffic calming on Garnet Avenue without creating permanent infrastructure,” said Sara Berns, Discover PB executive director. “While we still hope to reach an agreement with the City in the future on Garnet Avenue, this expansion will be a beneficial move for the market.”
Added Berns: “This change will highlight an often-missed area of the district on Hornblend Street. We have a vibrant stretch of businesses on Hornblend Street, and giving people the opportunity to shop and stroll by these businesses will give more exposure to what some may have driven by otherwise.”
The prospective move of the PB Farmers Market onto Garnet Avenue was not previously endorsed by authorities. Metropolitan Transit Service, which runs the buses and trolleys, and the San Diego Police Department, both balked at the prospect. Both organizations noted honoring the request to change the market footprint could prove problematic – and costly – in altering bus routes, ensuring public safety, etc.