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In February, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) directed the port of San Diego and the city of San Diego to work with the Coastal Commission staff and waterfront park advocates to find a way to fully mitigate the port’s proposal to eliminate the promised public Broadway Landing Park from the approved Port Master Plan, to make room for the Broadway Pier Cruise ship terminal currently being built by the port.
The port was asked to work with the staff and interested parties to find a compromise that provided an alternative public gathering place on the North Embarcadero that was equal to the promised park at the foot of Broadway, both in size as well as quality public space.
Since then, the port staff has engaged in informal talks with local CCC staff, but has put forward no concrete proposals to mitigate the loss of the Broadway Landing Park at the foot of Broadway. Instead, it has offered to “analyze and consider” the idea of some kind of public plaza at the foot of the Navy Pier, where for 10 years the port has resisted building a new park which was supposed to mitigate the public access and view impacts of basing the carrier Midway here, or building some kind of plaza to the west of the County Administrative Center.
In both cases, there has been no commitment to actually build anything, just to “consider” and “analyze” those two ideas. The port staff waited until March 26 to meet with the Navy Broadway Complex Coalition, the most active organization advocating for the preservation of public access and viewsheds along the downtown waterfront, and did not share what it has proposed to the local Coastal Commission staff until March 29.
This timing appears to have been designed to provide the park advocates very little time to put forward alternative ideas to the CCC. With the Coastal Commission due to take this issue up again at its meeting in Ventura in mid-April, all parties are watching to see if the port will keep ignoring the Coastal Commission’s directions and keep playing rope-a-dope with the state agency, as it has in the past.
Park advocates are waiting to see what the Coastal Commission staff will recommend in the face of this stonewalling, and hope that the commission will stick to its guns and make the port actually identify and build an alternative project that fully mitigates the loss of the promised public park at the foot of Broadway.
Parties who wish to comment on this state of affairs should email their thoughts to the Coastal Commission care of local CCC staff member Diana Lilly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can also be mailed to the Commission via Ms. Lilly at 7575 Metropolitan Drive, Suite 103, San Diego, CA 92108.