A night on the town in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter could look very different in the near future.
The Gaslamp Quarter Association (GQA) is considering closing an eight-block stretch of Fifth Avenue between Broadway and L Street to cars and trucks and turning it into a promenade primarily for pedestrians.
The notion took some Gaslamp visitors and businesses by surprise.
“Parking’s horrible. Horrible,” exclaimed Amy Kate, who was shopping downtown Wednesday.
“Parking is a major, is a major issue,” said Tracie, the manager of Bubbles Boutique.
A spokesman for the GQA said the idea would include art, parks, and outdoor entertainment where cars used to park and drive. The details still need to be worked out for the estimated $40 million project. A similar, smaller project was completed in Little Italy where the popular Piazza della Famiglia replaced one block of Date Street.
“I think it’s a good idea because it’s such a busy street and there’s so many businesses there,” said Michelle Wilken, who had a booth at the Wednesday farmer’s market along what used to be Date Street.
Supporters for the idea argue it would improve business and increase property values. The idea belongs to the GQA, but the spokesman said planning is still in the very early stages. He added implementing the changes would probably take at least three to five years. Fifth Avenue would be opened for a short time in the morning for deliveries and trash pick-up but closed the rest of the day for pedestrians.