• Greater waterfront access becoming a reality
I’m proud to be at the forefront of bringing new life to San Diego Bay. As chairman of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Joint Powers Authority, I’m working on civic projects that replace unattractive concrete along the bayfront with trees, grass and public art. Two significant coastal park projects reached major milestones this fall.
Ruocco Park, located at the corner of Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway, brings 3.3 acres of additional recreational space to San Diego. The park is made possible thanks to generous grants from the Ruocco family and management by the United Port of San Diego.
One mile north of Ruocco Park, a parking lot adjacent to the iconic San Diego County administrative headquarters is on the verge of conversion to eight acres of parkland. The County Administration Center Waterfront Park will feature a children’s play area, garden rooms and interactive fountain. I commend the county Board of Supervisors for adding to the momentum of waterfront redevelopment.
These two parks bookend the North Embarcadero revitalization project centered at North Harbor Drive and Broadway. When Phase I is completed in 2013, we will be able to enjoy a bayside linear park three times wider than today, a pedestrian and bicycle path, public art and groves of jacaranda trees. Combined, these parks will better link us to our most valuable asset — the bay — and provide public space for residents, visitors and future generations to celebrate our connection to the water.
• Council says ‘no’ to power plant on open-space land
Whether a neighborhood park or natural preserve, we San Diegans love open spaces. That’s why I recently joined San Diego Canyonlands and other environmental groups to reject a proposal to build on 22 acres of open space in the heart of San Diego County. The Quail Brush project would have constructed a 100-megawatt gas-fired power plant near Mission Trails Regional Park and north of State Route 52. The property is designated as open space by the community plan. My City Council colleagues agreed that we must protect San Diego’s limited open space, and recommended the California Energy Commission — the final decision-making body — consider alternatives.
• Continuing San Diego’s leadership in clean technology
From biotech to wireless communication to healthcare, our city is an epicenter of technological innovation. So it should be no surprise that San Diego has the highest penetration of electric vehicles per capita among California cities. In fact, the San Diego region is one of 16 metropolitan areas selected by the Department of Energy for a nationwide rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure.
In October, the City Council approved an agreement to bring 117 new electric vehicle charging stations to the region, resulting in a nearly 50-percent increase in locations to charge up these alternative energy vehicles. This venture expands upon a public-private partnership that comes at no cost to the city.
Over the coming months, look for electric vehicle charging stations to be installed in the following locations: Pacific Beach (Reed Avenue between Cass and Dawes streets), Mission Beach (Santa Clara Place at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center), Mission Bay Park (South De Anza Cove and Bonita Cove West), Ocean Beach (Robb Field), Point Loma (Liberty Station), Mission Hills (Goldfinch and West Washington streets), Balboa Park (East lot adjacent to Park Boulevard) and Downtown (6th Avenue and K Street, 6th Avenue and Market Street, and the Central Library).
— Kevin Faulconer serves as president pro tem of the City Council and represents District 2 of the council, which includes Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Point Loma and Ocean Beach.