After years of intense drama, the battle royale over Balboa Park’s future ended this summer — at least for now — with a promenade of sorts.
The Plaza de Panama, the swath of land between the art museum and the organ pavilion, is no longer a jungle of cars and pedestrians trying to avoid one another. The parking is gone and vehicles banished to one side. Tables, chairs and umbrellas have appeared and there’s plenty of strolling, lollygagging and constitutional-taking.
It’s nice. Not as nice, however, as the park’s institutions had hoped. They were banking on a grand plan to build a bypass bridge, clear the plaza of cars entirely and dig an underground parking garage. But their hopes fell victim to a court challenge. Then Mayor Bob Filner, who hated the plan, stepped in to make part of it reality in June.
He’s gone now, but his vision remains. So how are things going? Great (for a tiny museum that’s literally having the time of its life), OK (for museums as a whole) and not too well (for the disabled in particular).