San Diego Eliminates 300 Parking Spaces on Park Blvd Through Balboa Park

by on February 24, 2023 · 20 comments

in San Diego

San Diego has already or is in the process of eliminating 300 parking spaces along a portion of Park Boulevard that runs through Balboa Park — in order to install “protected” bike lanes. The parking spots eliminated for the bike path were along Park Boulevard between Presidents Way and Morley Field Drive .

It’s part of a Park Blvd re-stripping project. After the resurfacing work was completed, Park Boulevard was re-striped to include a separate bike path, a single car lane and a dedicated lane for buses. To be clear, vehicle traffic lanes will be reduced to one in each direction to make way for the bus lane.

Construction on the project is expected to last through the end of February.

At a February 7 news conference, Mayor Todd Gloria claimed the project was “road repair work” with transit improvements. He said:

“A lot of folks go up and down this road every single day to go to work, to go to school, to go to some of these attractions in Balboa Park. It’s a very important part of our regional transportation network.”

A city rendering shows how how the new traffic layout will work, with plastic dividers separating the bike lanes on each side of the road.

Credit: City of San Diego

A city spokesperson confirmed additional parking will be available at Inspiration Point, which offers free tram service, but did not respond to questions from CBS 8 about where the additional parking spots would be located.

Not everyone is happy with the new configuration. And we’re not talking about those grumpy OB Rag writers.

After being initially thrilled that the city was moving on this project, an influential bicyclist advocacy group, BikeSD, now has some criticisms:

The city is calling these “protected” Class IV bike lanes, but the only protection is a painted buffer and soft-hit posts, basically plastic straws set in the pavement every twenty feet. The bus lane – and where there is no bus lane, floating parking – will provide the only protection against vehicles where the speed limit is 40 mph.

Where the dedicated bus lanes disappear, and at bus stops, bikes and buses will be forced to merge. As a “striping only” project, the city did not plan to create floating bus islands that would keep them separated. The photo below, of the current configuration on Park Blvd. south of the park, shows what this will be like. Buses and bike riders will be forced to merge and share the lane.

Still, the group is ready to celebrate once the project is fully completed.

Yet, it does seem like 300 parking spaces is an awfully high number for San Diego’s “Jewel” — an attraction for both locals and tourists — where parking is already tight and tough to find.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris February 24, 2023 at 10:47 am

I will say this. My wife and I biked down Park to the library (we live just North of Upas on Park) and honestly it was nice being able to ride closer to the curb not dealing with parked cars and the possibility of getting doored. I’m excited about bike lanes being put in place time will tell how well laid out they are. The spots where cyclists and busses have to merge will mean cyclists will need to be very alert. We’ll see.
Now if they can get rid of car traffic on the Cabrillo bridge. It was a nightmare last Sunday trying to ride through there.


Debbie February 24, 2023 at 3:58 pm

Get rid of car traffic on Cabrillo bridge? What planet do you live on?

Who is riding a bike in this nasty weather? Who can go to the grocery store or hardware store and pick up items needed riding their bike? Who can pick up their grandmother and take her to church or the park on a pick.

I am with Sam that the attitudes and expectation of “some” bike riders that are out-of-control.


Debbie February 24, 2023 at 4:05 pm

bike not “pick”?

Also, no bike riding after dark that way no one will get killed or bikers have to wear glow-in-the-dark clothing from heat to two with lights. It is very dangerous to rider at night and bikers need to take more responsibility for keeping themselves safe.


Tired of bikes March 9, 2023 at 9:16 am

Sam is right. You “cyclists” are an elitist group that is somehow dictating policy to the city. I see nothing but empty bike lanes with an occasional spandex rider pretending to save the world. Get a clue and sit down.


Chris February 24, 2023 at 4:48 pm

“Who is riding a bike in this nasty weather?” You really think today was that nasty? I saw plenty of people biking in my area today (Hillcrest, North Park, Normal Heights) which means you did to. In other cities, people bike in much colder weather than this. I’d day you’re expressing an opinion you don’t really have.

“Who can go to the grocery store or hardware store and pick up items needed riding their bike” WTF does that have to do with riding through the park lol? But belive it or not, there are people who do such things on bikes, but again we’re talking about riding through the park, not chores.
But to be honest, I have had some close calls riding on that bridge so I’m losing concern about my presence holding them up.
Debbie, you’re about as sharp as a bowling ball lol.


Debbie February 25, 2023 at 1:50 am

When the bridge is backed up know we know why. I’ll be taking gram and gramps to the park in a car. Kisses to you !


Chris February 25, 2023 at 7:22 am

Go for it. No one said you shouldn’t.


Tate February 24, 2023 at 11:57 am

I think this is a great decision. It’ll be way safer to bike through there now. Plus more people choosing to go by bike means less people looking for parking spots. I agree that the decision to not make it fully separated is not great. But at least it’s better than nothing. Let’s get a real bus lane there too!


Sam February 24, 2023 at 3:24 pm

So what do you say to all the people who depend on being able to take their kids to the park via car, but now can’t find a place to park. Should families be forced to ride their bikes to the park? What about parents taking their toddlers? How about poor people with children who don’t live anywhere near a park and depend on being able to drive there to take a much need respite from the daily urban grind?

Once again, recreational cyclists are shaping racist policies. When does it end?


Chris February 24, 2023 at 5:05 pm

“Once again, recreational cyclists are shaping racist policies.


Tate February 24, 2023 at 6:11 pm

What do you say to people who like to ride their bike but don’t have many safe options within the largest park in the city? What about people hit by cars on their bikes because there was no bike infrastructure for them? What about people who want to reduce their footprint more and reduce the amount they use their car? What about people who can’t afford a car but want to go to Balboa Park?

Oh, and what about the people who are looking for parking spots and dislike traffic? Because without bike lanes, we are forcing everyone to go by car whether they’d rather bike or not…

For anyone who still wants to go by car, that option is not abolished, it’s still very much possible. But you have to consider that not everyone wants to go by that option, and its harder for everyone if driving is the only option that we support as a community.


Sam February 24, 2023 at 7:32 pm

I have to reiterate though that abolishing parking only benefits the wealthy few who live in that area, rather than expanding access to everyone. This park is meant to serve ALL of the residents of the city, not just the privileged few who happen to be fortunate enough to be able to afford to live nearby.


Chris February 25, 2023 at 6:06 am

There are several bus lines that go to the park (and busses have bike rack). Also there is parking just off site with free tram service. The elimination of these 300 or so parking spots has not eliminated the ability for those who don’t live near the park to get there.
On another note, I live near the park and am nothing close the being wealthy lol. Better off than many but hardly in the wealthy catagory.


Paul Webb February 25, 2023 at 9:53 am

Reality check, Chris. If I decided to take a bus right now, in would take me either 74 or 76 minutes to arrive at Balboa Park from my Point Loma/OB home. That’s as opposed to about 15 minutes by car at most times of the day.

The sad truth about San Diego transit is that it is really inefficient and doesn’t take people from where they live to where they want to go.


Chris February 26, 2023 at 10:09 am

I understand that. And public trans really needs to be improved, but i’m looking at it from a safety perspective for those of us who DO bike down this section of Park. I’ve had some close calls because on busy weekend days because with all the cars parked along there, I pretty much have to be at least two feet left of them in order not to get doored. But in doing that I end up contending with impatient drivers, some of who like to make known I am holding them up.


Chris February 26, 2023 at 10:11 am

And when I drive and am held up behind someone (or more) on a bike I understand so perhaps (and sadly) unrealistically I expect the same when I’m riding.


Paul Webb March 9, 2023 at 10:56 am

Oh, by the way, the only reason my bus ride to Balboa park is as “short” as it is owes to the fact that I live one block from a bus stop. So if I add the one mile walk that the city says is sustainable, it would add another 25 minutes or so to the trip, totalling over three hours for the round trip.


Sam February 24, 2023 at 3:41 pm

I just don’t get it with these elitist cyclists needing to have lanes IN A PARK! Wouldn’t it be nicer to have a bike path installed through the park so that they can have their precious safe place to ride on the weekends, because let’s be real here, nobody is using these lanes for commuting to work. That way we can keep parking available for those who need it and the mamby pamby bike nazis can ride around safely while looking down their respective noses on those who can’t or don’t ride. I swear these people are getting to be worse than vegans.


Chris February 24, 2023 at 5:04 pm

It would be great if a proper bike path were installed through the park. I don’t know any cyclist who thinks otherwise. But to say no one uses these bike lanes for commuting is a lie. I do and I know others who do as well, which means you to too.
As for parking, there’s IS parking and there will be more parking going in at Inspiration Point. Free tram service will be available for those who can’t park as close as they’d like.
Bike Nazis lol!! I’m not a mean or vicious person, but somehow annoying people like you is kind of entertaining.


Geoff Page March 9, 2023 at 12:59 pm

They can also ride their bikes on the many sidewalks in the park as well.


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