Last August, Mayor Jerry Sanders stood next to Qualcomm co-founder and local philanthropist Irwin Jacobs to announce plans for a major transformation of one of Balboa Park’s central plazas.
Under the plan, pedestrians would reclaim the iconic Plaza de Panama. Traffic and parking would be eliminated in the square. Cars entering the park from the west would cross Cabrillo Bridge over State Route 163, but before entering the plaza would turn onto a new bypass bridge leading them to a parking structure.
But that plan has been criticized for months by preservationists who say building the bypass would alter some of Balboa Park’s most historic features. They say the bypass would partially obstruct the view of the historic park entrance — a view currently obstructed by eucalyptus trees. Led by the local Save Our Heritage Organisation, opponents have succeeded in slowing the plan and casting doubt on its future.