In an effort to shore up attendance at its museums now that the massive retrofit of the Cabrillo Bridge is under way, Balboa Park has unveiled a new website, along with a new moniker: Balboa Park West End.
At this time, there are no other “ends” (i.e., North, South, East) planned. In fact, the map for Balboa Park West End includes just about everything we think of as being in Balboa Park proper. It only excludes smaller organizations (such as the San Diego Orchid Society and San Diego Junior Theatre), mostly because they operate within larger buildings that are already identified, such as the Casa del Prado.
The idea for the West End concept can be credited to Jean Walcher of J.Walcher Communications. The name was partly inspired by London’s West End, which is known for being a cultural hotspot and tourist attraction.
Construction on the $38 million "bridge facelift" is expected to continue through April 30. During this time, the Cabrillo Bridge (also known as the Laurel Street Bridge) will remain open to pedestrians. If everything goes as planned, cars will be allowed back on the bridge when the retrofit is complete. According to Caltrans, construction includes retrofitting for seismic strength, as well as replacing corroded steel and unsound concrete.
The Balboa Park West End website is simple and easy to navigate. On the home page, five of the park’s 85 or so institutions are highlighted. Directions are laid out for both driving and public transportation. The new name and West-Endiness of the park has one goal: to let people know that though the bridge may be temporarily closed to cars, the museums, theaters, and other institutions inside the park are still open for business.