With all the controversy facing Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama renovation, one would think renovation plans for the park were a new thing.
However in 1992, city officials were seriously considering a plan quite similar to one being debated today.
Both included plans to take cars out of the Central Mesa area of the park, but only one has won the approval of a local group of preservationists, reports our media partner, Voice of San Diego.
The Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) opposes a new plan funded by Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs. But when asked what a better alternative would be, SOHO leaders site the Central Mesa Precise Plan developed in 1992.
The preservationists like selected elements of the Precise Plan, including eliminating parking in the main plaza. The Jacobs plan would do this as well, but with the use of a new bypass bridge and underground parking lot – which SOHO opposes.
The Precise Plan would eliminate parking from the plaza while continuing to run traffic through one corner of it.
All plans – The old Precise Plan, SOHO’s modified Precise Plan and Jacobs’ plans – aim to reduce the number of cars in the park.
The modified Precise Plan would include a reconfiguration of existing parking lots nearby. The Precise Plan proposed an underground parking garage.
The Jacobs plan would also have an underground parking lot, in addition to a rooftop park.
SOHO believes the parking lot would attract more cars, according to the VOSD article. But they haven’t completely ruled out the possibility of a parking lot in the future.
"We just think this is the way to start, we're not saying this is the end product," Bruce Coons, SOHO’s director told VOSD.