My People’s Reporter post on the weeds in the median on State Route 163 elicited quite a response from readers. Here are some of your e-mails and comments about Caltrans’ explanation for the overgrowth on the stretch through Balboa Park.

Russ Sperling, who first asked me to look into the issue, had this to say:

Thanks for the great report, although I’m not really happy with their answer. The picture you used really shows how ugly it looks.

Reader Donn Bleau said the problem was more than weeds:

I travel the 163 from downtown to Mission Valley every day. I agree with Mr. Sperling that the median has become very unsightly. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The amount of trash that seemingly comes out of nowhere is awful. The word pig-sty comes to mind. Also in the median, trees that were not properly anchored months ago fell over last winter during heavy winds and still haven’t been up righted. Of course — due to the neglect they are either dead or close to death. And some of them are mature — expensive trees…

Please keep up the heat on Caltrans. It’s not just the median that’s a problem — it’s both sides of the freeway as well. And yes, they are doing some construction, but the problems I’m referencing have been a sight for sore eyes for several years now.

Bob Smith says the problem isn’t limited to State Route 163:

Not only is 163 looking like a jungle, but the whole San Diego freeway system is weed prone. No wonder there have been so many grass fires along our major highways and roadways. As far as maintaining 163 through the park area, what’s so difficult in having an opening at the end of the two guard rails to bring in a mower and do the maintenance?

Here’s some of what reader Stanley Paul Cook had to say:

The wooden barriers that were installed are pathetic. They are already buckling, warping and in total misalignment. They will need to be re-done within a few years. I would be curious what the final cost was for that particular project.

Besides the obvious weed growth, there is trash lining the sides of the roadway continuously. Perhaps you also remember that many trees were lost in the last decade. Caltrans refused to replant because of the absence of a median. However, even four years later, no replacement trees have been planted …

You should not let this drop because you received a rather bureaucratic pass-the-buck type of an answer. The 163 is the gateway to downtown and the impression it makes on all San Diegans and visitors is quite important, don’t you think?

And Mike Swanson suggested this:

Out of all the freeways in San Diego — EVERY effort should be made to return the route to its former beauty.

Please contact Adrian Florido directly at, or at 619.325.0528, and follow him on Twitter:

Adrian Florido is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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