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San Diego Revives Balboa Park Traffic Plan, Earmarks Up To $1.6B For Parks

Pictured is original conceptualization of plan to replacea  parking lot in front of Plaza de Panama with a water feature, landscaping  an decorative pavers.

The plan to remove cars from Balboa Park’s Central Mesa is being revived, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced last week. The plan calls for redirecting traffic from Cabrillo Bridge onto a proposed bypass bridge and an 800-car parking garage. The project’s estimated cost is about $45M, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. 

The new bridge would lead to a road through the Alcazar Garden parking lot and along the edge of Palm Canyon. It would lead to the paid-parking structure topped with a new park south of Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

These changes would end traffic and parking in four areas of Balboa Park: the Plaza de California at the San Diego Museum of Man, West Prado, Plaza de Panama at the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Esplanade. Improvements would include a shallow pool at the Plaza de Panama, new landscaping and decorative pavement to replace the asphalt road and parking lots. Pictured above is the original plan by urban planner Howard Blackson to remove 57 parking spaces from the front of Plaza de Panama. Work is planned for completion in time for Balboa Park’s 150th anniversary in 2018.

Faulconer also announced the city may spend as much as $1.6B over the next 53 years to improve regional parks and beaches, including Balboa Park. The mayor’s infrastructure and budget policy director Katherine Johnston told the San Diego Union-Tribune projected parks funding from Mission Bay lease revenue would rise from $10M today to as much as $80M/year to repay bonds and generate annual cash. [SDUT