Midway planners hear proposal on NAVWAR site
Published - 06/07/19 - 08:00 AM | 3980 views | 2 2 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Midway-Pacific Highway Community Planning Group in May vetted a controversial proposal to turn part of the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) site into a regional transportation “grand central station.” 

Coleen Clementson of San Diego Association of Governments also briefed community planners on the regional planning agency’s new four-year transportation plan.

Clementson told Midway planners the NAVWAR site off I-5, which the Navy is entertaining proposals on subletting, is among sites being considered to create a regional mobility hub directly connecting to San Diego International Airport. A mobility hub links multiple travel modes where people live, work and play, extending the reach of mass transit beyond the first and last mile using technology. 

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and SANDAG executive director Hasan Ikhrata are championing a plan to ask the Navy to allow redevelopment of the Old Town property currently occupied by NAVWAR into a transit station with a rail connection to the airport.

“Why couldn’t you put the grand central station over by Sassafras Street close to the rental cars?” asked group chair Cathy Kenton. “Putting it down here (Midway) is just going to make a traffic nightmare for all concerned.”

“NAVWAR is being considered for a grand central station serving high-speed train routes, with a possible people mover to the airport,” answered SANDAG’s Clementson.

Clementson said two other options are also being studied. 

“One is moving the grand central station into a transit-ready place,” she said. “The other is a new trolley extension with a spur down Harbor Drive stopping at the airport, and possibly extending into Liberty Station in Point Loma. Right now what SANDAG is doing is figuring out the cost of each of those options.”

“I am incredibly concerned for this community about a prospective grand central station being located at NAVWAR,” said Kenton. “They should have had the common courtesy to come to the community and say, ‘This is under consideration.’ This board has worked for years putting a new community plan in place, and SANDAG and the City are trying to pull the rug out from under our feet. To me, it is a huge mistake. The last thing we need is more traffic. It is not a good solution for Midway.”

Noting the agency puts together a new regional transportation plan every four years, SANDAG special project’s director Clementson said the latest plan has five elements: Adding high-occupancy vehicle lanes; a transit “leap” making that mode faster; Creating mobility hubs connecting multiple travel modes; having “flexible fleets” incorporating electric scooters and other ridesharing; and making operating transit systems more “brainy” by using data to help manage the system.

Asked Kenton, “How long will it take to build this whole system out, 20, 30, 50, 70 years?”

“Depending how quickly the funding is in place, the goal is to have much of it in place by 2035,” Clementson replied. “That would serve the region for 100 years or more.” 

In other action:

• Board member Jerry Rivero, referencing residents’ sleep being disturbed in the Hancock Transit Corridor between Old Town and Washington Street, continued to advocate for creation of a “quiet zone,” a segment of rail line where locomotive horns are not routinely sounded by trains as they approach highway/railroad crossings. “You’re certainly entitled to the quiet enjoyment of your homes,” said MPHCPG chair Cathy Kenton adding she’d place Rivero’s request for a letter of support on the group’s June agenda.

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Geoff Page
June 13, 2019
Three clarifications.

The NAVWAR name is new to most people, the site was previously referred to as SPAWARS. which people might recognize. This is the big complex of buildings on Pacific Highway across from Walter Anderson's Nursery.

There is a plan for a "Grand Central Station" and for "mobility hubs." The mobility hubs are smaller facilities probably situated around trolley stations. The Grand Central Station facility is a much bigger, much more complicated facility.

The Navy is not "subletting" the property. They have already solicited for, and received proposals for, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal. This is currently being done downtown on Harbor and Broadway. The Navy has given land to Manchester to build what he wants and the Navy gets a new building in the exchange for no cost. This is what the Navy wants to do with the old SPAWARS site.
June 07, 2019
Just another Faulconer gift to the unions and developers. The existing Old Town transit center is more than adequate.
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