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On March 4, Mark Johnson, the lead designer on Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama project, gave an update to the Balboa Park advisory committee.

Johnson says that his firm, Civitas, continues to conduct public outreach and plans to submit a proposal to the City in April with hopes to finish public review on the environmental-impact report by summer.

The current design, which proposes diverting traffic from the plaza by building a bypass bridge off of Cabrillo Bridge, continues to be an issue for some residents and historical preservationists.

During public comment, representatives from Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) urged Johnson to consider options other than a bypass bridge.

“It won't be good for the park,” said Jaye MacAskill, president of SOHO's board of directors. “It's disappointing to hear [Johnson] say that his firm wants to hear from the public when he evades any real discussion of alternatives.”

And while committee member Michael Singleton did express concern about the process and recommended that Johnson and his firm present more alternatives, member Mick Hager, president of the Natural History Museum, showed support for the current design.

“I would just like SOHO to know that the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, which consists of 26 cultural institutions in the park, are in favor of the Plaza de Panama project, including the extension bridge,” said Hager. “We work here every day. We love the park as much as you do. And, so far, the [plan] presented solves the most problems.”

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Comments

nostalgic March 5, 2011 @ 2:59 p.m.

Anytime someone says publicly "I love my (fill in the blank here) --community, park, neighborhood, or whatever, you know it's a done deal. It's over. Get ready for the freeway off-ramp.

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Javajoe25 March 5, 2011 @ 6:11 p.m.

This has got to be the loopiest idea anyone has ever come up with. If you are going to build a diversionary road, the last place to start is in the middle of a bridge. They should just close Cabrillo to car traffic and build a roadway and bridge that crosses 163 down on the south end of the dog park and brings traffic around the back of the Aerospace museum. By starting on the existing bridge they are going to quardruple the costs and leave nobody happy because the bridge will still be traveled halfway by cars to reach the diversion. This is really nuts. I'd love to know what is really going on here.

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suzledeboer March 8, 2011 @ 7:45 p.m.

Maybe the Union-Tribune will do a Watch Dog Report.

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