“I am saddened at the court’s decision that has effectively ended the Plaza de Panama Project. It is a shame that this action could prevent us from having the pleasure of watching children happily playing in a car-free Plaza de Panama, or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee in the Plaza de California. In the future, when it becomes obvious to all that the use of the Plaza de Panama and the Plaza de California for traffic thoroughfares and parking is not a reasonable beneficial use, the city will have available for reference detailed plans and a comprehensive EIR which has withstood the assault of one CEQA law suit.
I would like to thank all of the members of the Plaza de Panama Committee, consultants, leaders of the Park institutions, project supporters, and the many city workers who provided expertise to ensure the plans not only were in conformance with city rules but also would provide a great improvement to the core of the park.” - Dr. Irwin Jacobs
June 7 - Planning Commission Win
On Thursday, June 7 the Planning Commission voted unanimously to support the Plaza de Panama project. After seven hours of presentations and public testimony, members of the commission decided the plan fairly balanced the needs to accommodate cars, while making the center of Balboa Park car-free. Their vote sends the project forward to City Council with a strong recommendation of support.
July 9 - City Council Hearing
The City Council will make the final decision on the project on Monday, July 9. We invite you to join us at the City Council hearing and speak in support of the project. Your participation at this final meeting will help turn the Plaza de Panama project into a reality. The meeting details are as follows:
- City Council Hearing
Monday, July 9
City Council Chambers (202 C Street, 12thFloor, San Diego, CA 92101)
June 23 & 24 - La Jolla Festival of the Arts
The Plaza de Panama project team will have an information booth at the upcoming La Jolla Festival of the Arts on Saturday, June 23 from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday, June 24 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Project boards showing current images of the Balboa Park next to the project’s design renderings will be displayed at the booth. The festival will feature award winning artists, live chalk art creations, art performances, international cuisines and live entertainment throughout the weekend.
New Project Supporters
The Plaza de Panama project recently received endorsements from three key organizations with a vested interest in the future of Balboa Park. The Balboa Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that raises funds and carries out capital improvement and maintenance projects in the park, the San Diego Archers and The Old Globe all pledged their support for the project at a critical time.
Plaza de Panama Project Public Hearing Dates
Throughout the next few months, votes will be taken on the Plaza de Panama Project at several City meetings. A strong showing of public support will help us gain a supportive vote on the project, so please join us at the following meetings to speak in support:
· May 3, 6 pm:Balboa Park Committee at Balboa Park Club (2144 Pan American Road West)
· May 17, 2 pm: Park & Recreation Board at 202 C Street in the 12th Floor Committee Room
· May 18, 1 pm: Historical Resources Board at 202 C Street in the 12th Floor Committee Room
· June 7, 9 am: Planning Commission at 202 C Street in the 12th Floor Council Chambers
· July 9, 2 pm: City Council at 202 C Street in the 12th Floor Council Chambers
Walking Tour Scheduled for Saturday, May 19
Our next walking tour will take place on Saturday, May 19 at 10:30 a.m. The tour provides a great opportunity to learn about the project firsthand and speak with project outreach team members about new updates. The tour will begin in the Plaza de California (in front of the Museum of Man) and will last around 90 minutes. Please note that in the event of rain, the tour will be cancelled.
Plaza de Panama Participates on EarthFair
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth at Balboa Park’s EarthFair, the world’s largest annual environmental fair and Earth Day celebration. The project outreach team had a nice time sharing project information and was thrilled to receive support from several of the event attendees.
Bilingual March Walking Tour
We are excited to announce our March walking tour will be translated into Spanish for the Hispanic community. The tour will take place on Saturday, March 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
During the tour, a member of the Plaza de Panama design team and a translator will provide detailed information on the project’s proposed plans and design renderings. The tour will start at the Plaza de California (in front of the Museum of Man) and end at the Organ Pavilion parking lot. We recommend wearing comfortable, flat shoes to tour the park.
Draft EIR Update
The Project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was released in January 2012 for a 60-day public comment period. The Draft EIR, an important milestone in the project approval process, provides a comprehensive review of potential environmental impacts of the proposed project, as well as 13 alternatives to the proposed project. The 13 Project alternatives included in the study were largely generated from public input. The level of detailed information and analysis included in the document is believed to be unprecedented in an EIR in the City of San Diego.
We strongly encourage the public and those passionate about the future of Balboa Park to review and provide written comments on the document. The deadline for submitting comments is 5:00 pm on March 22, 2012. The document is available online on the City’s website and on our website’s Information & Documents page. Comments may also be submitted in writing to the City via U.S. mail and email to:
E. Shearer-Nguyen, Environmental Planner
City of San Diego Development Services Center
1222 First Avenue, MS 501
San Diego, CA 92101
The Final EIR will include public comments submitted to the City and responses to these comments. An update on the Final EIR release date will be posted in the near future.
New Project Supporters
Over the past few months, the project team has done a considerable amount of public outreach, participating in several meetings and workshops with community and business organizations. This outreach has led to numerous endorsements from key organizations with a vested interest in Balboa Park. We are excited to share the following list of organizations/individuals that have recently expressed their support:
- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
- Uptown Planners
- Gaslamp Quarter Association
- Centre City Advisory Committee
- Spreckels Organ Society
- Plaza de Panama Project Team at 2011 MCAS Miramar Air Show
The Plaza de Panama project team had a wonderful time exhibiting at the MCAS Miramar Air Show September 30 to October 2. The team hosted a booth inside the Air Show expo, displaying new project banners and a presentation with project design renderings. Over the three day period, the team interacted with hundreds of attendees and received great feedback and comments on the project.
- Oct. 15 Walking Tour
Our second walking tour kicks off tomorrow, October 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The tour will start at the Plaza de California (in front of the Museum of Man) and end at the Organ Pavilion parking lot. These guided tours, held the third Saturday of every month, are led by members of the design team and provide the ideal opportunity for the public to learn more about the project. We hope to see you there!
- Plaza de Panama Design Team Continuing to Make Great Headway
The design team is continuing to work on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project. This review process will ensure a thorough analysis of the project as well as evaluates alternatives plan suggested by the public. The report is anticipated to be released for public review in January 2012.
- Plaza de Panama Project Team Weekend Recap
The Plaza de Panama project team had a wonderful time interacting with the San Diego community this past weekend. On Saturday morning, the team kicked off its first public walking tour in Balboa Park which attracted more than 25 individuals. The event provided the perfect opportunity for the public to learn more about the project in a fun and engaging manner. Also on Saturday, the team hosted a booth at Voice of San Diego’s and NBC 7 San Diego’s first-ever Politifest. The festival brought out more than 1,000 attendees, with event-goers providing the team with great feedback and comments on the project.
- Upcoming Community Events
If you missed the walking tour this past weekend and are interested in learning more about the project and its benefits to Balboa Park, the team will be facilitating tours the third Saturday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (next tour is Saturday, October 15). The tours will start at the Plaza de California (in front of the Museum of Man) and end at the Organ Pavilion parking lot. In addition, the project team will also be hosting a booth at the upcoming MCAS Miramar Air Show September 30 to October 2.
- Uptown Planners Supports Plaza de Panama Project
Thank you Uptown Community Planning Group for voting in favor of the Plaza de Panama Project at this week's meeting! We are thrilled to have support from the group’s several communities including Hillcrest, Mission Hills, University Heights, Bankers Hill/Park West, Five Points/Middletown and Marston Hills.
- City Council Approves Plaza de Panama MOU
On July 19 the City Council voted 7-1 to approve the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Plaza de Panama project. With the Council’s instrumental support, the Plaza de Panama Committee has been able to move forward with the environmental review process to improve Balboa Park. The environmental review ensures a thorough study of the project as well as evaluates alternatives plans suggested by members of the public.
- Plaza de Panama Design Team Making Great Headway
The design team is currently working on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project. The report is anticipated to be released for public review in November 2012.
- Public Outreach
The Plaza de Panama Design Team has been hosting several workshops with interested groups throughout San Diego County, including the Balboa Park Committee, Park & Recreation Design Review Committee and Park & Recreation Board. The workshops have proven to be very productive, with each group sharing valuable insight with the Design Team.
- Plaza de Panama Joins Twitter Community
Follow Plaza de Panama on Twitter to get the latest updates on the projects as it happens. Click here to check out the profile.
The Plaza de Panama project was approved by the City Council on July 9, 2012. While construction was scheduled to begin in Fall 2012, the Plaza de Panama Committee has postponed the start of construction until mid-February 2013 to allow for the resolution of litigation filed by project opponents. Construction on the project is scheduled to be complete in early October 2014, in time for the 2015 Centennial Celebration in Balboa Park.
The construction phasing for the project has been highly sequenced to provide continued access to Balboa Park and its attractions throughout construction. The phasing ensures that two-way vehicle traffic through the park and access to institutions is maintained.
The construction phases, durations and areas impacted are described below and in this two-page overview.
PHASE 1: UTILITY RELOCATION
Timeline: Mid-February through March 2013
Duration: 6 weeks
Areas impacted: East side of Organ Pavilion Parking Lot, northern portion of Pan American Road West
Access: Through traffic will continue as it does today
PHASE 2A: ORGAN PAVILION PARKING STRUCTURE, TEMPORARY ROAD, TUNNEL DECK, CENTENNIAL BRIDGE
Timeline: April through June 2013
Duration: 3 months
Areas impacted: Organ Pavilion Parking Lot, Pan American Road East, Archery Range in Cabrillo Canyon
Access: Free tram service begins between Inspiration Point and the Plaza de Panama - service anticipated between 6 am-12 am approximately every 10-15 minutes; through traffic maintained using Pan American Road West and Pan American Place (roads around International Cottages)
PHASE 2B: ORGAN PAVILION PARKING STRUCTURE, ROOFTOP PARK, CENTENNIAL BRIDGE
Timeline: Late June 2013 through April 2014
Duration: 10 months
Areas impacted: Organ Pavilion Parking Lot, Archery Range in Cabrillo Canyon
Access: Free tram service continues between Inspiration Point and the Plaza de Panama - service anticipated from 6 am-12 am approximately every 10-15 minutes; through traffic returns to Pan American Road East (same route that is used today)
PHASE 3: ALCAZAR PARKING LOT & UTILITY RELOCATION
Timeline: Mid-March through Mid-June 2014
Duration: 3 months
Areas impacted: Alcazar Parking Lot
Access: Free tram service continues between Inspiration Point and Plaza de Panama - service anticipated between 6 am-12 am approximately every 10-15 minutes; through traffic continues as it does today
PHASE 4: PLAZAS, ESPLANADE & PROMENADE
Timeline: Mid-June through early October 2014
Duration: 3 1/2 months
Areas impacted: (work will be sequenced to ensure access to institutions) Plaza de California, West El Prado, Plaza de Panama, Esplanade, Pan American Promenade (formerly Pan American Road)
Access: Alcazar parking lot open for disabled parking, drop-off and valet service; Organ Pavilion parking structure open; free tram service continues between parking structure and Plaza de Panama - service hours to be determined (construction will be sequenced to allow tram access to Plaza de Panama, as possible); through traffic uses Centennial Bridge and Road
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. UPDATES WILL BE POSTED REGULARLY.
Hall: Would you pay to park at Balboa Park? (UT San Diego: October 24, 2012)
Balboa Park Construction Delayed to February (UT San Diego: October 19, 2012)
Plaza de Panama: Balboa Park renovation set to begin in October (The Daily Transcript: August 30, 2012)
Filner Flips, Backs Balboa Park Remodel (Voice of San Diego: August 22, 2012)
SOHO Sues City Over Balboa Park Plan (UT San Diego: August 13, 2012)
- The Plaza de Panama Comittee issued a statement in response:
It’s disappointing that SOHO has chosen to waste taxpayer dollars by suing the City of San Diego in an attempt to subvert a two year democratic process. The Plaza de Panama project was approved after extensive community outreach and input (with over 200 meetings), a unanimous planning commission recommendation, and a 6-1 city council vote. The environmental review for the project was the most extensive ever done in Balboa Park history and considered over 20 alternatives. This painstaking and comprehensive effort balanced the interests of all San Diego citizens and Balboa Park users, and concluded that the approved project best prepares Balboa Park for the next 100 years while still honoring its past. It is now time for all of us to move forward with reclaiming the plazas from cars and returning them to the people.
Letter to the Community: Todd Gloria explains his vote on Balboa Park changes (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: July 10, 2012)
Plaza de Panama Plan Approved (UT San Diego: July 10, 2012)
Council Approves Plaza de Panama Plan (NBC San Diego: July 10, 2012)
City Council Approves Controversial Balboa Park plan (KUSI News: July 10, 2012)
Editorial - Plaza de Panama Approved at City Council - My Thoughts (Scoop San Diego: July 9, 2012)
A new Balboa Park: What's gained and lost (UT San Diego: July 6, 2012)
Balboa Park: Time to act (UT San Diego: June 30, 2012)
Balboa Par (Voice of San Diego Letter: June 26, 2012) k Could Be Even Greater if Jacobs Plan Implemented
Jacobs Plan for Balboa Park 'Once-In-a-Lifetime Opportunity' (Voice of San Diego Letter: June 22, 2012)
Planning Comission Approves Plaza de Panama (KPBS Radio News: June 8, 2012)
Planning Commission Approves Balboa Park Makeover (Fox 5: June 7, 2012)
Balboa Park Plan Approved by Planning Commission (UT San Diego: June 7, 2012)
Jacobs Deserves Thanks for Offering to Pay for Balboa Park Changes (Voice of San Diego: June 7, 2012)
Balboa Park Parking Solution 'Has to be Done,' Commission Chairman Says (UT San Diego: June 5, 2012)
Plaza de Panama Project Gets Mixed Votes from Council Advisory Committees (SD Uptown News: May 25, 2012)
Editorial - Plaza de Panama Project (Scoop San Diego: May 25, 2012)
Complications Persist for Plaza de Panama Project (KPBS: May 17, 2012)
Plaza de Panama Supporters Say Opponents Using Scare Tactics (KPBS: May 15, 2012)
Plaza de Panama Plan Endorsed by Balboa Park Committee (UT San Diego: May 3, 2012)
Spanish Language TV Coverage (NBD: April 2012)
Plaza de Panama Project Forges Ahead (UrbDeZine San Diego: March 30, 2012)
Spanish Language TV Coverage (Univision: March 2012)
SD Explained: Plaza de Panama (NBC San Diego: March 22, 2012)
Get on with Balboa Park Makeover (San Diego-Union Tribune: January 26, 2012)
Balboa Park Environmental Report Offers 21 Choices to Jacobs Plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: January 23, 2012)
Plaza de Panama: Cars or People? (La Mesa Courier: January 6, 2012)
There are no community events scheduled for the remainder of 2012. 2013 events will be posted here in the near future.
The documents and presentations below were produced during the project review process, and provide more detailed information about the Plaza de Panama project and specific issues.
Lewis Plan Information
- Bill Lewis Plan Information & Impacts
City of San Diego Memos
- City Memo re: Potential for National Register Delisting
Draft EIR Information
- Extension of Public Review Notice
Draft Plan Amendments