#pintsandpols – Bikes, Bay Park & (craft) beer

Borrowed this photo from the Bay Park Facebook page, curious to know where it was shot

Borrowed this photo from the Bay Park Facebook page, curious to know where it was shot

Pints & Pols is just a name created by a clever guy named Matt that describes an idea: it’s possible to exchange ideas freely and care about our city/region without sounding like whatever screaming head CNN/Fox/MSNBC has trotted out to tell us what to think.  And given the benefit of the San Diego Brewers’ Guild’s more than 80 craft breweries in the region, enjoying local innovation from some true artists is a good way to do it.  Yes, yes I did just call brewers artists.  So, on June 1st, we’ll add some twists to the affair and have some fun…If you want the background on #pintsandpols read about it here.  If you want to see the fun that was our 1st Anniversary Brewery Tour, check this out.  Okay, so, what’s changing this time around?  Before I get to that, for those who know me, I can get a bit verbose.  So here’s the basic information in bullet form first.

  • When: 6/1/14 – 2:00 p.m. for bike tour; 3:00 p.m. at Coronado Brewing Tasting Room at 1205 Knoxville.
  • Where: Bay Park-ish – I don’t know the exact boundaries
  • What: Fun, conversation, San Diego Craft Beer, information-sharing
  • Why: Seriously?
  • Who: If you are reading you are invited. There will be no formal invitation, no formal itinerary, and most pre-discussion will occur on Twitter.  You can “follow” me (or almost anyone I follow) if you want details.

Well, you may have heard there was a big dust up recently about some part of Clairemont or Bay Park or something.  If you’re like most San Diegans, other neighborhoods only exist in a kind of hazy memory from the one time you visited friends in XYZ community.  No problem, I’m happy to help.  First, the “dust up” was a result of something that could be described (depending on who you ask) in any of the following ways:

  •  City trying to plan for possible increased development within municipal boundaries near a new trolley stop; OR
  • Developers and city trying to give neighbors the shaft by messing with their views, giving them more car traffic than the streets can handle and decreasing their property values by enabling more urbanization of their community; OR
  • City trying to plan prudently to provide living options close to public transit to diminish reliance on cars and increase alternative transit in a place where the transit is already being built while taking heat from uber local property owners

I’ll save my own editorializing for June 1st, but here are a few questions to ponder:

  1. How much control should a city have to create/eliminate zoning regulations in the name of planning for the future?
  2. What do you think the role of things like views, traffic and current neighborhood character should be in communities?
  3. Should the decision of what happens around the stop be the exclusive province of the city? The immediate neighbors who are/may be impacted?  The owners of the specific properties in question? The entire city for a public vote?

Here are the basics of the get together:

When and Where: On June 1st at 2:00 p.m. those who are interested can meet on bike at 2555 Morena Blvd for a bike tour with Bay Park local (“local” as in a stone’s throw from High Dive) computer genius and ardent opponent of changing the height limit, Jeff Johnson.  The bike tour was my idea because I love seeing areas by bike.  As this research (here and here) suggests, replacing auto parking with bike infrastructure is actually good for business, too.  But that’s a topic for another day.

Then When and Where: After the bike tour, at around 3:00 p.m. we’ll adjourn to Coronado Brewing Company’s tasting room at 1205 Knoxville to chat about whatever strikes our fancy.  The “we” and “our” is just a convenient use of language.  If you come (and the invite is open to anyone) you are a “we.” This is not an exclusionary thing.  By the way, CBC just won a Gold Medal at the World Beer Cup (like the regular World Cup, only better) for its Islander IPA and Coronado native and solid dude/co-founder Shawn DeWitt won best brewmaster – yep, San Diego Craft Beer is doing big things.

Note: You are the master of your own fun – and if you go on the bike tour, your own safety.  There will be no waiver to sign, as this isn’t “organized” by anyone. If there’s a lawyer present, we can have a side convo about the Primary Assumption of Risk.  This isn’t a tour company (or any company, for that matter).  If you want to hang out, please do. If you want to leave, that’s cool too.  There’s no set agenda or conversation topics, that’d be too much like work, and there’s plenty of that to do. If you get lost, this is what the tasting room looks like from the outside.

A photo I snapped the last time I dropped by the Tasting Room on Knoxville St

A photo I snapped the last time I dropped by the Tasting Room on Knoxville St

I know I said there was no specific conversation agenda, but since I was curious about the whole Morena Blvd station “dust up” I used the magic of the google and Twitter to gather up some useful sites.  I make no promises that any of these sources are unbiased (most probably are biased in some way).  In fact, I am biased on this issue, and probably not that open to changing my mind.  But if there was any chance I might change my mind, getting up close and personal with the area and some of the arguments would be the way to find out.

The “60-foot” issue

The basic idea is that SANDAG (a regional collection of governments in our county) is using some of our tax money that is included when we put gas in our cars to build a new trolley line that will connect downtown to UCSD.  This will include a couple stops between UCSD and downtown.  Separately, the City of San Diego is giving some thought to what, if anything, to do to foster growth/orderly city planning around those new trolley stops.  Some people think the City should allow a bunch of homes to be built around the trolley stops.  The theory is that if people have a trolley that is walking distance and it is convenient to their job, they’ll take the trolley and won’t need a car.  If this happened, it would effectively make the housing more affordable and it would limit Greenhouse Gas emissions.  Some people think that allowing property owners to build even more stuff where the traffic is already overly congested and the streets are unsafe is a dumb idea that will harm property values, make the community unlivable and/or bring a riff raff element.

There was a neighborhood meeting on April 30th in a room that held a few hundred people.  It was so crowded it looked like this… from the outside.

Also borrowed from the Bay Park FB page, meeting so full there wasn't room for everyone

Also borrowed from the Bay Park FB page, meeting so full there wasn’t room for everyone

With all that as backdrop, here’s my compendium of stuff to help you understand what’s going on.

City Document – Morena Blvd Station Area Planning Study around the proposed new trolley stop. (HERE for all related materials)

Bay Park San Diego WebsiteWhat is the 60-foot issue?

Bay Park San Diego Facebook Page – click here

Clairemont Town Council Website – click here (a neighborhood group that has been involved in the area for 60 years in the area)

Clairemont Mesa Community Planning Groupclick here (this is the community advisory body recognized by the city to provide land use recommendations about local property issues)

Question: What is the difference between the Town Council and the Planning Group?

Answer: Both are made up of residents and business owners of the community.  But Town Councils and Neighborhood Associations tend to deal with non-land use quality of life issues like crime, neighborhood beautification and large community pride events.  Planning Groups are authorized by the City of San Diego (here) and have a narrow scope to review and advise the city about issues related to what people/government/businesses can or should do with land in the area.

Summary of 60-foot issue community meeting from Times of San Diego

Overview of issue from Voice of San Diego

Voice of San Diego article with over 200 comments

Article from Clairemont Times

So there you have it.  More than most people could want to know about this issue in one place – sort of.  If you live in Clairemont, please do get involved, regardless of your opinion on this particular issue.  Our entire community is better off the more of our citizens are connected to the issues and making informed decisions about them.  There are many decisions made by the people who show up, and as you might expect those people tend to be the ones who are most passionate on one side or the other of the issue.  Getting involved, even a little, can make sure that decisions are made by as broad a group as possible.

Hope to see you on the 1st.  Oh, by the way, the Rock ‘n roll marathon is that day, that’s why we are starting in the afternoon.  Allegedly the streets will be all back open in time.  Have a great day.





5 thoughts on “#pintsandpols – Bikes, Bay Park & (craft) beer

  1. This is an attempt to answer your question about where your borrowed Bay Park photo was shot. I walk around the neighborhood all the time. My best estimate is that it was shot from a hill on Dorcas Street or Everview Rd. Many, if not all, homes along those streets have that perspective of the Tecolote Park.

    • Thanks! There’s a popular basketball spot hidden off of Clairemont Drive right at the top of the hill, but I always got lost trying to find it. My brother’s in-laws live over there, so lots of family get togethers closer to the Cowley Way apts on the Native American streets. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Just a friendly reminder that this event is scheduled on the same day as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Mostly likely the marathon will be over by 2pm but there might be residual traffic. Your milage may vary.

    • Thanks Jon. Grace (below) mentioned that and we slid the times out a little so I hope it works out. Still, appreciate the heads up since I think the map shows it literally on Morena

  3. It’s wonderful the city and many volunteers and activists are promoting and developing SD County for bicyclists and pedestrians. Even more public transit through major population centers (we really need the trolley through North Park/Hillcrest area) will all help us not become a tangled, smoggy traffic mess like LA. Thank you for the good work!

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