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Last call for input on Balboa-Pacific Beach trolley station: Planning board reviews SANDAG’s mobility proposals

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SANDAG’s mobility hub plan for the Balboa Trolley Station includes 16 strategies for making travel easier to and from the station. The Mid-Coast Trolley will offer a one-seat (no transfer) ride from the international border to the University Community. The new service will improve access to growing employment, education, and residential areas surrounding nine new light rail stations. The project is funded by TransNet and the federal government. Construction is underway, with service to begin in late 2021. keepsandiegomoving.com
SANDAG

The Pacific Beach Planning Group discussed several issues at its May 22 meeting at the library. These included Mid-Coast Trolley construction updates, Mid-Coast Trolley mobility hubs and the De Anza RV Area Proposed Short Term Improvement Project. The group also elected a new Development Subcommittee chair.

Mid-Coast Trolley

Pete D’Ablaing, SANDAG project manager for the Mid-Coast Trolley construction, reported that the project is 50 percent complete, within budget and on schedule for opening at the end of 2021. To sign up for newsletter updates, see balboastationplan.org or call the hotline at (877) 379-0110.

Finished work includes:

• Bridge over San Diego River;

• Laying of ties, final grading and elements at Tecolote;

• Screen wall at Clairemont to separate trolley and train, adding lights, sub-station;

• More retaining walls in north Clairemont;

• Drainage, lights, columns for bridge at Balboa;

• Girders for crossover section at Rose Creek;

• Bike path along Rose Creek, under Santa Fe Street.

Balboa Station Mobility Hub

Marisa Mangan, SANDAG regional planner, is asking for public input by Aug. 1 on mobility hub planning for the Balboa-Pacific Beach trolley station. Based on community response and City planning analysis, SANDAG has prepared a conceptual plan for review — especially for the affected communities of Pacific Beach and Clairemont.

The mobility hub plan includes 16 proposed strategies for making travel easier to and from the station. These include: enhanced transit waiting areas; real-time travel information (mobile apps, kiosks); walkways; crossings; bikeways along Garnet, Balboa and Grand; bikeways on Morena; micromobility services (drop zones for dockless bikes and e-scooters); micromobility parking; dedicated transit lines; transit signal priority (making it easier for transit to enter and exit station); moped scooter-share; car-share parking spaces; microtransit (on-demand shuttle service); neighborhood electric vehicles; electric vehicle charging; and smart parking (reservations, priority for carpoolers).

In addition, the plan includes ideas for adding other support services, such as retail and trip planning, and for funding and monitoring progress.

PB Planners offered feedback. Kristen Victor and Karin Zirk said they’d like to see wider and safer bikeways, especially at the busy intersection of Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive.

Eve Anderson suggested Pacific Beach be added to the station name (currently it is Balboa Avenue Station).

Paula Gandolfo objected to the inclusion of MTS as part of the planning: “We need to make people happy, not cars.”

The group agreed to schedule a meeting to discuss the mobility hub ideas and to draft and send a follow-up letter. To learn more about the project, visit sdforward.com/midcoastmobilityhubs

De Anza RV Area

Jacob Gelfand, vice president of operations for Campland on the Bay, presented a proposed plan for short-term improvement and asbestos cleanup at the nearby closed De Anza RV park. (Currently the site includes 110 abandoned mobile homes, many with asbestos.)

The project would be under his management in connection with the City. Gelfand, who is a third-generation manager of the 50-year-old Campland, said the plan would save the City money and offer efficient solutions until a master plan for Mission Bay Park Redevelopment is finalized.

The short-term plan would allow Gelfand to restore and use the swimming pool in the former RV park. Future plans for Mission Bay include the possibility of Campland moving to that site and restoring the current Campland site to marshland.

Representatives from Friends of Campland spoke in favor of the plan. Reps from ReWild Mission Bay and San Diego Audobon spoke against the idea, preferring that the City manage the area on a month-to-month basis until the Master Plan is finalized, with consideration given to marshland preservation, water quality, sea level rise and opportunities for eco-tourism.

Meet Marcella Bothwell

Marcella Bothwell was selected new chair of the Development Subcommittee, also known as the Commercial/Residential Mixed-Use Subcommittee (CRMS). The position was formerly occupied by Karl Rand, who was elected Planning Group chair in April.

The subcommittee usually meets a week before the monthly Planning Group meeting, 5:30 p.m. third Thursdays at the PB library. For more information, see pbplanning.org

There are still two residential and three commercial seats available. For details about applying for the board, contact Steve Pruett at swimski55@gmail.com

New Developments

The Planning Group approved two new developments: 1020 Grand Ave. (demolition of existing building to be replaced by a 7,681-square-foot, three-story, mixed-use building with four residential units over three retail spaces) and 928 and 930 Beryl St. (demolition of existing single family residence to be replaced by two single-family residences with roof decks and detached carports).

Streets & Sidewalks

Anderson, chair of the Streets & Sidewalks Subcommittee, proposed that the Planning Group approve a request for the City’s Traffic Engineering Department to evaluate two intersections in Pacific Beach for traffic-calming measures — Academy and Chalcedony streets, and Mission Boulevard and Felspar Street. The group voted its support.

Capital Improvement Projects

Gandolfo, chair of the new CIP Ad Hoc Subcommittee, explained its purpose: to identify and prioritize needed physical improvements in Pacific Beach, with a focus on people-centric mobility. Meetings will be held at the beautifulPB Learning Center, 940 Garnet Ave.

—PB Planning Group next meets 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26 at the Library, 4275 Cass St. These meetings are open to the community. pbplanning.org