Once inhabited by cars, the east side of 14th Street in downtown San Diego, between G Street and Market Street, has been redeveloped for people, with the so-called “Green Lane” designed to usher in a new era in the life of East Village.
The old paved area is the first block in a series of downtown blocks that would eventually form what is now called “14th Street Greenway”. On Thursday, local politicians and other city officials participated in a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the unveiling of the 4,500 square foot linear park.
“Today we’re celebrating the opening of East Village’s first urban greenway. This greenway and many more to come will improve walkability, support community health and improve our overall quality of life in our downtown community, ”said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “This project is the first of six interconnected greenways that will be located along 14th Street and will span 11 blocks from C Street to Commercial.”
The first moment offers a first real-world glimpse of the city’s long-term vision – as envisioned by the Downtown San Diego Mobility Plan – for a sort of urban oasis, with underutilized public rights of way in six downtown streets converted into pedestrian walks that connect people to large parks, water and adjacent neighborhoods.
The original greenway replaced a traffic lane and eight parking spaces on part of 14th Street near Albertsons with a row of trees, improved lighting, a decomposed granite footpath, landscaping and signage history highlighting East Village’s industrial roots. The one-block stretch also features artifacts donated by the family of late local businessman Bob Sinclair, who founded Pannikin Coffee and Tea.
The $ 2 million project turned out to be more expensive and took longer to build than originally planned, with permitting overruns and delays and storm sewer complications, said Brad Richter, deputy director of the urban division of the city.
The project was funded by developer fees and a grant from the San Diego Association of Governments. The city’s former downtown planning agency, Civic San Diego, oversaw construction. Going forward, the newly improved area will be maintained by the Downtown San Diego Partnership.
The city is currently finalizing plans for the second block of 14th Street Greenway, between Market and Island, with the goal of starting construction this summer, Richter said. And, since the developers are tasked with building a few of the blocks, the city expects five of the 11 blocks to be completed within two years, he said.
The entire network of pedestrian walks, which will take decades, includes greenways on 8th Avenue, Union Street, Cedar Street, E Street and Island Avenue.