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The effect of parking spots deleted from North Park

Debate over boarded-up shops begins

Vacancy at 3002 University Ave.
Vacancy at 3002 University Ave.

Since the 2.25-mile bike lane replaced over 460 parking spots on 30th Street from Normal Heights down to North Park last year — 34 businesses shut down, and some are boarded up, said Pat Sexton in a December 19 interview. "It's because there's nowhere for customers to park, and many of the customers, who are older, can't bike in or walk long distances to the businesses."

DC Roofing and the architect next door are gone.

Sexton, a retired North Parker and founder of Save30thStreetParking.org, said the latest business on 30th Street to close its doors is Hontech Automotive, Inc., an import car mechanic service just north of Lincoln Avenue. "Other employees and customers in the area were taking up Hontech's private parking spots," Sexton explained. So when Hontech customers would pull up from 30th Street, and the car shop's parking lot was packed, they'd drive around the block and couldn't find a place to park and get their vehicles diagnosed. I called Hontech on December 19 — which had over 200 Google reviews averaging a 4.9 out of 5, but the import vehicle repair shop's phones were disconnected.

Customers complain about not finding parking on and around 30th Street "every single time," said Edgar, a chef at Crazee Burger, just south of Hontech's now emptied-out offices and garage. "The parking spots were removed because of the bike lanes, and we see zero bikes on the street."

Vacant Palisade Realty on University Ave.

"You’ll see the lowest when it’s coldest in December or January,” said Will Rhatigan, the Advocacy Director for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, on CBS 8 news in October. “Every year, you’ll see the highest ridership in July, and San Diego has more people in it, in general, with the tourist season in the summer,"

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Jesus, an AutoZone employee, recollected the thoroughfare's traffic during summer from their store's designated parking spots on the corner of Lincoln and 30th Street. "I didn't see as many bikes as I hoped," he said to me on December 19. "Anytime there is warm weather, I expect to see people [on bikes] around and about."

Vacant restaurant

Jesus catches a glimpse of the congested car traffic and lack of parking as of late. "People steal our parking spots and say they are going to the hair salon, the nail place, to a bunch of bars — no one respects parking up here," he said. And when Jesus and his co-workers tell people to move their vehicles so AutoZone customers can park in the designated spots, the rogue car parkers "try to get physical. There's just no respect."

Claudia, a lifelong North Park inhabitant, noticed all of the closed businesses on 30th as well. "I counted 33," she said. "And now that the businesses are closing, the buildings are now abandoned, so the homeless go in there at night. The business on the corner of 30th and University on the northeast side (next to the now-defunct Paras News) is totally gutted. That place was supposedly going to be a tequila/Mexican restaurant. They were already going in to do the total remodel, and suddenly it just stopped, and they took their signs down."

And since the businesses and an additional "eight homes on 30th are boarded up," Claudia added, "the boards are filling up with graffiti and tagging. It's like North Park back in the 1970s and 1980s."

C.G., a nearby dweller who rides an electric bike on the bike lanes, questioned Sexton's and Claudia's numbers on the NextDoor app. "I'd also like to see what the '33 boarded businesses' include. Are we counting 3994 (under construction to be a Vietnamese coffee shop)? 3960 (under construction to become a new Consortium Holdings restaurant)? 3645 (under construction to be an e-bike and e-scooter sales location)? Would 33 even be above average prior to the bike lanes going in, given the same methodology? Businesses are always turning over."

Other people who are OK with the new bike lanes say the businesses closing were due to covid, inflation, and skyrocketing property values.

Local cyclists advocated that a connected network of safe and convenient bike lanes in our city is necessary to meet the city's goals of eliminating traffic fatalities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, San Diego's 2015 climate action plan relies heavily on shifting commuting habits from driving cars to using public transportation, walking, and cycling.

"MTS cut the bus stops on 30th in half about two years ago," Sexton said.

"In order to help improve service reliability and travel time, MTS will be discontinuing or relocating some Route 2 and Route 6 bus stops along 30th Street in areas where bus stops are placed very closely together," reads the 2019 MTS press release.

Then there's the North Park Way multi-level parking structure on 29th Street by University Avenue, which folks opposing Sexton's Save 30th Street Parking campaign say provides ample parking for the trendy street just east of the 805.

"It does not provide parking for customers near Adams Avenue or Juniper," Sexton noted of the 1-2 mile distance either way. "Or those who live two blocks away, when they have a car full of groceries, 2-3 little kids, or those retired folks who have physical limitations."

Save 30th Street Parking began the ongoing lawsuit against the city in August 2019.

"Our lawsuit was based on the fact our City Master Plan and North Park Community Plan, both of which were signed off by the council and mayor at the time, stated North Park 'needs more parking,'" Sexton said. "The North Park Community Plan was signed off in 2016. The state-mandated California Environmental Quality Act was not conducted. A CEQA would have proven how removing 482 parking spaces would negatively impact the air quality of the surrounding residential area, with cars repeatedly circling, searching for parking so that they could go to eateries, shopping, church, and medical/dental appointments."

But the first trial judge favored the City of San Diego. And due to Covid and court shutdowns, there was a long wait — until December 13, 2022. Sexton continued, "We were recently in the appeals court for Save 30th Street Parking v. City of San Diego on Tuesday (December 13), and Craig Sherman presented our case."

"Our attorney was not arguing about bike lanes; it was all about removing 482 parking spaces, including handicapped parking and loading zones on 30th Street. This leaves only 98 slots for all parking from Adams Avenue to Juniper Street (about 2.25 miles), and only 12 handicap spaces total remain."

As this article goes to print, Sexton, North Park and Normal Heights business owners and residents, and the cyclists await the appellate court's decision.

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Vacancy at 3002 University Ave.
Vacancy at 3002 University Ave.

Since the 2.25-mile bike lane replaced over 460 parking spots on 30th Street from Normal Heights down to North Park last year — 34 businesses shut down, and some are boarded up, said Pat Sexton in a December 19 interview. "It's because there's nowhere for customers to park, and many of the customers, who are older, can't bike in or walk long distances to the businesses."

DC Roofing and the architect next door are gone.

Sexton, a retired North Parker and founder of Save30thStreetParking.org, said the latest business on 30th Street to close its doors is Hontech Automotive, Inc., an import car mechanic service just north of Lincoln Avenue. "Other employees and customers in the area were taking up Hontech's private parking spots," Sexton explained. So when Hontech customers would pull up from 30th Street, and the car shop's parking lot was packed, they'd drive around the block and couldn't find a place to park and get their vehicles diagnosed. I called Hontech on December 19 — which had over 200 Google reviews averaging a 4.9 out of 5, but the import vehicle repair shop's phones were disconnected.

Customers complain about not finding parking on and around 30th Street "every single time," said Edgar, a chef at Crazee Burger, just south of Hontech's now emptied-out offices and garage. "The parking spots were removed because of the bike lanes, and we see zero bikes on the street."

Vacant Palisade Realty on University Ave.

"You’ll see the lowest when it’s coldest in December or January,” said Will Rhatigan, the Advocacy Director for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, on CBS 8 news in October. “Every year, you’ll see the highest ridership in July, and San Diego has more people in it, in general, with the tourist season in the summer,"

Sponsored
Sponsored

Jesus, an AutoZone employee, recollected the thoroughfare's traffic during summer from their store's designated parking spots on the corner of Lincoln and 30th Street. "I didn't see as many bikes as I hoped," he said to me on December 19. "Anytime there is warm weather, I expect to see people [on bikes] around and about."

Vacant restaurant

Jesus catches a glimpse of the congested car traffic and lack of parking as of late. "People steal our parking spots and say they are going to the hair salon, the nail place, to a bunch of bars — no one respects parking up here," he said. And when Jesus and his co-workers tell people to move their vehicles so AutoZone customers can park in the designated spots, the rogue car parkers "try to get physical. There's just no respect."

Claudia, a lifelong North Park inhabitant, noticed all of the closed businesses on 30th as well. "I counted 33," she said. "And now that the businesses are closing, the buildings are now abandoned, so the homeless go in there at night. The business on the corner of 30th and University on the northeast side (next to the now-defunct Paras News) is totally gutted. That place was supposedly going to be a tequila/Mexican restaurant. They were already going in to do the total remodel, and suddenly it just stopped, and they took their signs down."

And since the businesses and an additional "eight homes on 30th are boarded up," Claudia added, "the boards are filling up with graffiti and tagging. It's like North Park back in the 1970s and 1980s."

C.G., a nearby dweller who rides an electric bike on the bike lanes, questioned Sexton's and Claudia's numbers on the NextDoor app. "I'd also like to see what the '33 boarded businesses' include. Are we counting 3994 (under construction to be a Vietnamese coffee shop)? 3960 (under construction to become a new Consortium Holdings restaurant)? 3645 (under construction to be an e-bike and e-scooter sales location)? Would 33 even be above average prior to the bike lanes going in, given the same methodology? Businesses are always turning over."

Other people who are OK with the new bike lanes say the businesses closing were due to covid, inflation, and skyrocketing property values.

Local cyclists advocated that a connected network of safe and convenient bike lanes in our city is necessary to meet the city's goals of eliminating traffic fatalities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, San Diego's 2015 climate action plan relies heavily on shifting commuting habits from driving cars to using public transportation, walking, and cycling.

"MTS cut the bus stops on 30th in half about two years ago," Sexton said.

"In order to help improve service reliability and travel time, MTS will be discontinuing or relocating some Route 2 and Route 6 bus stops along 30th Street in areas where bus stops are placed very closely together," reads the 2019 MTS press release.

Then there's the North Park Way multi-level parking structure on 29th Street by University Avenue, which folks opposing Sexton's Save 30th Street Parking campaign say provides ample parking for the trendy street just east of the 805.

"It does not provide parking for customers near Adams Avenue or Juniper," Sexton noted of the 1-2 mile distance either way. "Or those who live two blocks away, when they have a car full of groceries, 2-3 little kids, or those retired folks who have physical limitations."

Save 30th Street Parking began the ongoing lawsuit against the city in August 2019.

"Our lawsuit was based on the fact our City Master Plan and North Park Community Plan, both of which were signed off by the council and mayor at the time, stated North Park 'needs more parking,'" Sexton said. "The North Park Community Plan was signed off in 2016. The state-mandated California Environmental Quality Act was not conducted. A CEQA would have proven how removing 482 parking spaces would negatively impact the air quality of the surrounding residential area, with cars repeatedly circling, searching for parking so that they could go to eateries, shopping, church, and medical/dental appointments."

But the first trial judge favored the City of San Diego. And due to Covid and court shutdowns, there was a long wait — until December 13, 2022. Sexton continued, "We were recently in the appeals court for Save 30th Street Parking v. City of San Diego on Tuesday (December 13), and Craig Sherman presented our case."

"Our attorney was not arguing about bike lanes; it was all about removing 482 parking spaces, including handicapped parking and loading zones on 30th Street. This leaves only 98 slots for all parking from Adams Avenue to Juniper Street (about 2.25 miles), and only 12 handicap spaces total remain."

As this article goes to print, Sexton, North Park and Normal Heights business owners and residents, and the cyclists await the appellate court's decision.

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