Quickway Proposal- our meeting with Alan Hoffman
Jim Elko, one of our first RTB volunteers and a Bay Park resident, acts as a liaison between RTB committee members and local architects as well as professors and students from San Diego’s School of Architecture. Jim set up a meeting between Alan Hoffman and myself, James LaMattery, on Dec 2.
Mr. Hoffman has invested a monumental amount of his time studying transit, parking, and urban development in the greater San Diego area. He holds Master’s degrees from MIT (Urban Studies and Planning) and Harvard University (Administration, Planning, and Social Policy), as well as a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University (Social Sciences). He has taught courses in transportation-related issues through the University of Queensland, UC Davis, and NewSchool of Architecture & Design. He is currently an advisor on Transportation and Long-Range Planning and a Lecturer in City Planning in the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University.
I found Mr. Hoffman’s view of the city’s ill-fated recommendations in the original Morena Blvd Station Area Planning Study to be in line with mine and RTB’s positions. Over-building without sufficient attention to infrastructure, a reluctance to mitigate parking and traffic issues, and the focus of transit oriented development, instead of people-oriented development, we agreed, are the major issues that precipitate the resistance of local communities to allow city planners to “do as they will.”
Mr. Hoffman has agreed to help us (pro-bono) in the reconfiguration of Morena Blvd, and specifically, to help us with the inclusion of public safety issues that the city planners will be identifying for us. Mr. Hoffman is also going to include in his renderings, a design for Quickway transportaion along Morena Blvd between the Clairemont Drive and Tecolote Road trolleys.
If you would like to read more about the Quickway Proposal, please visit www.quickwayproposal.wix.com/proposal.
Meeting with Michael Prinz
I met Michael Prinz, our designated community planner, for a face to face meeting on Dec 1 at city offices. My initial intent for the meeting was to discuss ways in which we could engage more residents/ stakeholders in the planning process prior to the finalization of the Morena Specific Plan, and how the Ad Hoc Subcommittee meetings could be more focused and result-oriented. I also wanted to discuss if the City was ever going to include absentee owners (folks who own homes in the area, but don’t occupy them because they are either second homes for rentals) in the process.
Instead, Mr. Prinz diverted the meeting into a discussion about the “Build Bay Park Boardwalk” Campaign. One other staffer/engineer from the Street Department attended the meeting.
Although Prinz, and the city engineer, stated that they thought the Boardwalk was a “great idea,” that it would mitigate some of the critical issues that residents have voiced, both had some reservations regarding the minimum public safety requirements that the Street Dept would insist upon. These “requirements” could drastically affect the initial design the community has proposed.
Michael will be providing a list of minimum requirements from the Streets Dept that we can work from in our final detail of the reconfiguration of Morena Blvd. We will publish those minimum requirements once we receive them. In the meantime, we are still encouraging everyone to submit their own ideas for the street layout. I also encourage you to read the news item on this site regarding our meeting with Alan Hoffman, a professor at SDSU and creator of the “Quickway Proposal” who is helping us with the reconfiguration.
Mr. Prinz agreed with me that the street configuration was the most important part of the Specific Plan and he asked that we accelerate our process for a final draft citing his planning timeline needed for the city to prepare documents that would be ready for environmental review. I asked Michael to give me an exact date by which the Ad Hoc Subcommittee must present its recommendations to the Clairemont Community Planning Group and he would not give an exact date, but stated “sometime in the Spring of 2016.”
Personally, I felt an urgency and rush from Prinz that set me back a bit, and not having a specific date by which the subcommittee must render its recommendations isn’t, in my opinion, squaring with the “rush.” I’ve felt that the AD HOC Subcommittee meetings have not been as focused and productive as they could have been, mainly because they have been controlled and moderated by Michael Prinz and PlaceWorks, the city’s third party vendor.
The By-Laws by which our Community Planning Group must adhere to state that “Applicants shall have no more than 15 minutes to present.” I have stated many times to both Mr. Prinz, and our subcommittee chairperson, Margie Schmidt, that I believe that since the City Planning Department initiated the planning process with the Morena Specific Plan, that in fact and by acts, the city (and their third party vendor, PlaceWorks) are to be considered an “Applicant” subject to the 15 minute rule.
I pressed upon Mr.Prinz the need for more focused discussion on exact design details and minimum requirements, such as the public safety street guidelines, in our next subcommittee meetings. He agreed and we hope to have more efficient use of our time in the upcoming subcommittee meetings.