‘Hey, Let’s Make Hillcrest More Crowded!’

by on October 31, 2023 · 6 comments

in San Diego

City Hall’s Hillcrest “Amendment”: More Density, More Bike Lanes, Less Parking

By Kate Callen –  a candidate for City Council District 3

The “strong mayor” autocracy that runs San Diego has decided that Hillcrest, one of District 3’s most congested communities, just isn’t congested enough. A new fast-tracked “Hillcrest Focused Plan Amendment” has been foisted onto the Uptown Planners group for a cursory review. Details are outlined in an Oct. 29 Union-Tribune story. Some takeaways:

The new plan calls for building 20,000 new units and 50,000 new residents in Hillcrest with no measures to increase affordable housing.

Historic preservation will be phased out, especially if Mayor Gloria succeeds in weakening the City’s historic resources ordinance.

Even as current bike lanes are underutilized, the plan calls for more bikeways, narrower streets, and less street parking.

Few housing units will include on-site parking. New residents with cars (i.e., most of them) will ramp up the demand for scarce parking. A rise in “circling the block” searches for curb space will escalate car exhaust fumes in neighborhoods.

In theory, the amendment will only impact Hillcrest. But if it becomes part of the larger Uptown Plan, surrounding neighborhoods like Mission Hills will be vulnerable.

Uptown Planners is expected to advise against the amendment’s adoption. But Board members do not expect the City to listen. As one member said, “This is a developer land grab, enabled by the Mayor.”


If I am elected, I will fight City Hall’s encroachment on District 3 neighborhoods, and I will call out the Mayor when he puts powerful interests ahead of public interest.

I need to reach as many D3 residents and small business owners as I can. Please forward this message to your friends and neighbors.

Thank you.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris October 31, 2023 at 5:23 pm

“Even as current bike lanes are underutilized, the plan calls for more bikeways, narrower streets, and less street parking.

My biggest issue with increased density (I live in Hillcrest) is that it won’t make the area any more affordable despite all the claims that density supporters verbally state (they don’t sincerely belive that it will themselves).

But since you brought up bike lanes, the fact is the bike lanes along University btwn Normal and 5th are probably the more heavily used bike lanes in the area despite how poorly laid out they are. It’s a bit of a misnomer to say they are under utilized (if those are the lanes you are referring to). And really, if this much housing without parking to accommodate all of it really is going to go up here, doesn’t it make sense for more bike lanes and better transit? The under utilization of other bike lanes in the surrounding area is really more based on how poorly they connect to each other more than how many people bike or are willing to bike.

Back to the density thing, whether it’s a good or bad thing is a non starter at this point. It’s coming whether people want it to or not. How many people adapt to or stay and how many new people move in remains to be seen. Time will tell.


Zack November 1, 2023 at 11:55 am

Ah Chris yet again claiming that pro-density people don’t actually believe that density will help alleviate high housing costs. Do you have evidence for this?


chris schultz November 1, 2023 at 8:56 am

How many units will be owner units and how many will be rentals? Affordable is out the window. It’s a buzz word. Where are today’s currently affordable units that demonstrate this is a viable play by the city?


Chris November 1, 2023 at 10:40 am

I’m guessing all the new units will be predominantly rental. Time will tell. Will it bring rents overall down? Probably not.


Tom Ruff November 6, 2023 at 6:19 pm

We don’t need to wait and see. It is happening all over San Diego now. The new units are pretty much all rentals.


Vern November 7, 2023 at 8:08 am

Next up… 4732 Utah St. 92116 will become two three-story multi-family units on one 7k/sf lot. Parking pad off alley. Market rate? Of course.


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