San Diego Re-Imagines Balboa Park With Car-Free Transportation, Increased Connectivity

NEWSCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN'S "BALBOA PARK EXPERIENCE" ALSO WON A MERIT AWARD (AIA SAN DIEGO)

NEWSCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN’S “BALBOA PARK EXPERIENCE” ALSO WON A MERIT AWARD (AIA SAN DIEGO)

It’s been nearly 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the world’s fair celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, was held in San Diego. In preparation for the centennial, AIA San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art recently held an ideas competition for improvements to Balboa Park, the site of the fair. The 1,200-acre park is home to a number of museums and other cultural facilities, including the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art, plus cultivated gardens and family-friendly amusements.

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Car Free In San Diego?

West
Friday, September 3, 2010
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It seems that Times Square’s pedestrian-friendly experiment is catching on.. According to The San Diego Union Tribune, The Plaza de Panama in San Diego’s Balboa Park is proposing to go car-free with a $33 million plan by Mayor Jerry Sanders and Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs.  The proposal would remove 67 auto spaces in the park, and a 900-space parking structure will be built at the south of the park for the displaced cars.  If achieved, the new space opens up possibilities not only for strollers but for public artwork and new landscaping. The plan has its detractors, mostly because there is the possibility that the parking structure could impose a fee (parking in the park is currently free). A committee has been created to help raise the funds and the media has stated that there are donors already, who have history of funding park improvements. The new pedestrian friendly space is reflective of the 1915 San Diego Exposition, where the center was completely open to walkers. Officials are hoping to restore it for the centennial anniversary in 2015.

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