Peninsula Planners Send Traffic-Related Requests to City; Review of Voltaire Bridge & Canon Pocket Park

by on May 3, 2022 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Screen shot of January 2022 Zoom meeting of Peninsula Community Planning Board. The Board decided to continue with online meetings at their April meeting.

By Geoff Page

There was nothing earth-shaking or controversial during the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s monthly meeting April 21 but the agenda was not uninteresting. The agenda, in fact, represented the things planning boards were created for.

Before moving on, a point on how PCPB chair Fred Kosmo starts each Zoom meeting. During the Zoom meeting era, Kosmo has always reminded the audience that the meeting is being recorded as a sort of warning, which is unnecessary. This is a public meeting and anyone at a public meeting should already know they may be filmed or photographed without permission.

Before this meeting, Kosmo’s choice of words may not have been intentional, but this time it was a voiced warning when he said “everybody be careful what you say.” This is the very last thing anyone attending a planning board meeting should be told. Planning boards are there for people to speak their minds on whatever is bothering them however they choose to express themselves.

The meeting opened by welcoming the single new board member after the March “election” — Javier Saunders. The PCPB election this year was not actually an election. There were five open seats and only five candidates. Three were incumbents. Saunders is new. The fifth candidate was ruled ineligible.

The vacancy caused by the ineligible candidate will be filled at the May 19 meeting. Candidate applications have to be in by May 12 and to date, three applications have been received. The information on the vacancy and the current applications can be seen here.

The PCPB has a Board Members page with pictures, bios, and contact information for most of its members on its website.


There were two projects before the board. One was for a large home at 1039 Sorrento Drive that will replace the existing large house. The PCPB did not have any objections and approved the project by an unanimous vote.

The second project was much more modest but there was a little controversy. The applicant at 4644 Tivoli Street wants to add a 360 square foot ADU – accessory dwelling unit – over an existing garage. The garage is at the rear of the property and is accessed by a long driveway from Tivoli. The applicant wants to close off that access to the garage and have the access be the rear alley.

Apparently, the rear alley is badly rutted dirt and is very narrow. According to the PCPB’s Project Review subcommittee, the alley does not allow for the code required 21 feet of backing space. Board member Joe Holasek estimated there was about 14 feet of backing space.

The applicant did not want to modify the design stating that they owned a small car that could easily manage the narrow alley. This moment-in-time reasoning would only work if all future owners of the property had small cars.

The problem was it did not meet code. One board member spoke up wondering why the city did not already flag this as an issue. The applicant decided not to return to the subcommittee for a second meeting and decided not to come before the full board. The subcommittee and the full board voted to deny the project on these grounds.

While project applicants are told to go before the local planning board to seek approval for their projects, it is not a hard and fast requirement. If a project is not approved the applicant can move forward and may receive approval from the city despite what the planning board had to say. The Tivoli applicant decided to move ahead without the planning board.

Protect Our Communities Foundation

There was a presentation by a group named Protect Our Communities Foundation that is working to keep the state’s big utility providers from killing rooftop solar power. The presentation illustrated why San Diego’s utility rates are the highest in the country.

Basically, it appears that San Diego’s rates are so high because SDG&E keeps building electrical infrastructure while selling less and less power, because of rooftop solar power competition.

Board member Paul Webb explained that SDG&E is guaranteed a rate of return for every dollar the utility spends the way public utilities are structured. This creates the incentive to keep building whether or not the additional infrastructure is needed. These added costs, producing no return, must be carried by the San Diego ratepayers.

Discussions are underway in Sacramento about this issue and the big utilities are lobbying heavily for measures that will, according to the Protect Our Communities Foundation, cripple the rooftop solar industry. For more information and to learn how to help, go here.


The PCPB continues to barrage the city with traffic related requests. The first letter was titled “Request to prioritize street and light repairs on Oleander Drive, Oleander Place and Barnard Street.” These two streets are in different neighborhoods about a third of a mile apart.

It was not immediately clear why these two roads were lumped together but the shadowy hand of the cycling world may be seen in this. Oleander is a cycling route to take from Chatsworth to Poinsettia to Leland Street that runs east, to Midway, and west. Barnard is another way to access Sports Arena from Worden. Both roads are in bad shape for cars, much less bicycles.

The letter relays what the “reported community concerns” were:

  • No sidewalk installed on the south side of Oleander Street.
  • Lack of streetlights on Oleander Streets creates an unsafe environment for pedestrians and cyclists at night on Oleander Street.
  • Both Oleander and Barnard Streets and Oleander PL are in a state of severe disrepair and need to be repaved and striped.

“Additionally, the PCPB request that the Storm Water Department assess drainage on Oleander Street due to reports of loose gravel clogging storm drains causing water to flood Oleander Street when it rains.”

A second letter was about Talbot Street. It was titled “Fund and install previously approved traffic safety mitigations and re-evaluate the need for additional traffic safety mitigations along the Talbot Street corridor.”

For those who live on Talbot or use it regularly, here is what this letter requested:

“Specifically, the PCPB requests that the following approved traffic safety mitigations be immediately funded and installed:

  • Approved in 2015 – V calms, Talbot St between the 3000 and 3100 blocks in the vicinity of Cabrillo Elementary School.
  • Approved in 2016 – Streetlight installation at Talbot Street and Gage Drive on the south side of Talbot Street located 200 feet west of Gage Drive.
  • Approved in 2019 – Pop-outs at Talbot Street and Bangor Street.
  • Approved in 2019 – Rapid Flashing Beacon at Talbot and Bangor Street.
  • Currently under review – Pop outs at Talbot Street and Gage Drive.

Additionally, the PCPB requests the following additional mitigations:

  • A traffic feasibility study along the Talbot Street corridor. The traffic study would be used to determine potential appropriate traffic mitigations that addresses local community member’s concerns such as speed humps, traffic calming mitigations, installation of stop signs, and additional crosswalks.
  • Additional traffic law enforcement.
  • Currently installed flashing speed sign in the vicinity of Talbot Street and Tingley Lane moved to a more visible location.
  • Talbot Street be added to safe routes to school due to the number of families who transit Talbot Street when taking their children to Cabrillo Elementary School.
  • Evaluate the installation of a dedicated bike lane on the North side of Talbot Street going up the hill and a sharrow bike lane on the south side of Talbot Street going down the hill from the corner of Talbot Street and harbor View Drive to the corner of Talbot Street and Bangor Street.”

It might have been simpler to just ask for the sun and the moon. The influence of the cycling community can be seen in the last two bullets.

A third letter was titled “Letter requesting the reduction of speed and for road humps be installed along the frontage road of 1600 Chatsworth Road adjacent and south of Chatsworth Road.” This letter stated:

“Due to increased urgency in traffic safety concerns and safety of children walking to and from school as communicated from community members who live along Chatsworth frontage road adjacent to and south of Chatsworth , the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) is requesting that the City of San Diego Traffic and Transportation department fund a traffic safety study to identify traffic safety mitigations and calming measures in particular the installation of speed humps on Chatsworth frontage road.”

Fund a traffic study for a frontage road. This should be high on the city’s priority list.

The PCPB passed all three letters, after some adjustments, along with a fourth to approve the Point Loma Summer Concert series.

Voltaire Bridge

An on-going project to beautify the Voltaire Street bridge over Nimitz Blvd. is moving slowly along. The project is to redo the fencing above the railing to make it look something like a suspension bridge.

The design was done by board member Holasek, an architect by profession. At one time, the budget was about $95,000. It appears the fund is still short although a $5,000 donation was recently received. The money is being managed by the Point Loma Association.

Canon Pocket Park

There was something of an update on the effort to build a pocket park on Canon Street, with an entrance at the termination of Avenida de Portugal. According to board member Sevrens, dollar figures for this .67 of an acre park, with no facilities or parking, are all over the map.

The original effort started with the city allowing the PCPB to decide where to spend $840,000 in developer impact fees from the development that replaced Barnard Elementary School. Because of political ambitions by members of the PCPB that eventually flamed out and the help of former city politicians, these fees were devoted to this little park.

The budget quickly rose to $1.3 million with former District 2 council member Zapf adding to the total somehow. Apparently, no one knows where the original money went, according to Sevrens it went to engineering and design. This would be odd for a park with no facilities. If that was not enough, now the park proponents are seeking an additional $1.5 million dollars to build the park.

According the District 2 council representative, the $1.5 million is in the mayor’s proposed budget. This means that close to three million dollars will be spent on a tiny park that will have nothing more than a drinking fountain in the way of facilities and will need to accessed on foot or bicycle.

And, lastly, The PCPB voted to continue meeting remotely.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nostalgic May 3, 2022 at 5:30 pm

Canon Pocket Park – This park was not intended to be a “dedicated” park, that is, a Park protected as parkland by the City Charter. The city has taken to using the term “designated park,” meaning city property which will be used as a park unless the city decides to do something else with it, such as sell it to a developer. So we are up to $3 Million for a park that isn’t a park either way.


Susie May 10, 2022 at 1:27 am

This ” Park” was pushed since about 2008 – 09 due to certain PCPB members & His young upstart trying to make a name for himself. What a Total Grand Waste of money as Usual in San Diego. Makes me sick. Another Park for druggies to use & homeless to Ruin. That Millions could be used for better than for a park that doesn’t need to be built. There another Park above Canon st nobody ever uses & people don’t even know the name of it. Stop Advocating Wasting money for nothing. And you know who you are, DS. Just Quit. Spend your money. Or better yet, Retire, take a trip. Build a park in your own yard. ?


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