San Diego

20-Year Plan to Double Housing in Midway District

The front door to Ocean Beach and Point Loma is slated for a major overhaul that would make way for 10,000 new homes near jobs and transit in the Midway district.

Currently, the Midway district is slightly blighted with the aging Sports Arena, industrial-heavy development, and a lack of green spaces, according to city officials. But, it is considered ripe for revitalization because of its location near the ocean, two San Diego bays and downtown.

If approved, the plan would increase the area’s housing from 2,000 to more than 11,000 over the next two decades.

The community plan update for the area released April 19 would more than double the homes that could be built in areas around Midway Drive, Sports Arena and the Pacific Highway Corridor north of Little Italy and make way for a similar number of jobs, according to a May 2018 staff report.

The Midway-Pacific Highway takes in about 1,324 acres in the center of the City adjacent to the San Diego River, Interstate 5, San Diego International Airport and the Peninsula community plan area.

City leaders hope to transform the community into a more vibrant and less industrial area. The community plan update calls for breaking up the oversized blocks into new smaller streets and adding bike lanes that connect to pedestrian-friendly plazas.

The plan also calls for nearly 30 acres of parks fitting into an existing pedestrian and bike network that makes use of existing transit.

"The community doesn't have any park space currently, but it also doesn't have a lot of residents yet either. Hopefully, that will all change if the plan gets approved," said Cathy Kenton, the chairperson of the Midway Pacific planning group. "This plan calls for significant improvements to pedestrian and bike access."

Eleven years in the planning, the community update focused on revitalizing the community, helping the city meet its housing needs and being good neighbors to OB and Point Loma, Kenton said.

The future of the Sports Arena would be left up to a variety of possibilities including leaving it as it is, demolishing it or using the area for other types of land-use like retail or business and entertainment.

The plan has met relatively little resistance for an idea with high-density housing, according to the Voice of San Diego. However, that could be because there aren’t many residents in the area yet to oppose it.

Some have raised concerns about increased traffic in an already heavily congested area.

At a Smart Growth committee meeting in May, Councilmember Lorie Zapf asked city planners to make additional traffic improvements to the update. It’s set to come back to the City Council on September 17.

"From the beginning of the planning process, reducing traffic congestion has been my main objective and that’s why I have worked closely with City planners and the community on additional traffic improvements," said Zapf.

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