Cabrillo Bridge
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Over the weekend, I posted this story announcing the new website and name, Balboa Park West End, which was created to alert the public to the fact that the museums and institutions at Balboa Park are still open despite a three-month rehab and retrofit project of the Cabrillo Bridge.

I shared the link on Facebook, and judging by the reaction, the idea of a "West End" in San Diego is not a popular one. Here's a sampling from the 30+ comments:

"I think voters should decide when city/county owned 'institutions' get name changes or add ons." - Robert B.

"Smells of a solution looking for a problem." — Chris H.

"First east village, now this. Stop trying to be NYC the beauty of SD is that it is SD." — Brandon P.

"Balboa Park has no 'end.' A beautiful Spanish name would be more appropriate if a new name is REALLY needed. Next thing you know, they'll want to build an ugly cement ramp from the bridge to a parking structure." — Tina B.

"Instead of all the effort to try to get people aware of and using the name (which will take years!!) they should have put that effort and money towards sharing the great exhibitions and happenings at the affected museums to drive traffic, or better yet offsetting the cost of offering discounted admission. Also, there's a good chance this worry is for naught. The bridge was PACKED with people walking across all weekend. And walkers pay more attention to signage and their surroundings than drivers." — Devon F.

The PR company, J. Walcher Communications, tracking the backlash, provided this statement to make it clear that this is a temporary campaign.

“'Balboa Park West End' is an awareness campaign that the western institutions (Mingei International Museum, The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Man, The Old Globe and Timken Museum of Art) developed to proactively inform Park visitors that “they’re still open for business” during the Cabrillo Bridge retrofit. The campaign is scheduled to run through the end of April when the work on the bridge is due to be complete.

Our goal is to inform people that the west end of Balboa Park is open and active, still providing the same fabulous exhibits, events and shows, along with parking and directional information. You can check it out at to see what we’re doing.

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HonestGovernment Jan. 22, 2014 @ 8:57 a.m.

Your previous article was very good, and thanks for the followup. I looked at the Walcher website. It has good info about the museums' exhibits, plus it includes an offer for a year-long pass to all of BP's institutions ($99 Seniors/students; $129 adults; $199 family). The pass is something I've wanted for a long time.

The pass is offered on the Balboa Park website. What baffles me is why BP institutions wasted funds paying a PR firm to do promotion.The park website is the top hit by anyone searching "Balboa Park." To remind park visitors that bridge closure will be temporary and won't impact museums, the campaign "Balboa Park Museums and Theaters Are Open During Bridge Rehab" would have been more informative than the oblique "West End" campaign. But you probably couldn't charge much for that.


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