“I hope that you of San Diego… keep your waterfront and develop it so that it may add to the beauty of your city. Do not let a number of private individuals… make it hideous with buildings, and then force your children to pay an exorbitant sum to get rid of the ugliness they have created.” – Teddy Roosevelt, 1915 at the Panama-California Exposition.
In my circle of city design professionals, I noticed that only a select few were terribly disappointed when the judge ruled against Irwin Jacobs’ Centennial Bridge. I believe this is because the grade-separated, poorly designed, bypass bridge/parking lot is not a beloved idea. That said, Jacobs is a beloved citizen and we all know the will to build this bridge is a short-term political decision to honor Jacobs’ philanthropic past and future.
Know that we have stated our opposition to Centennial Bridge at City Council and Planning Commission workshops and hearings. The most disappointing aspect of San Diego’s fractured dialogue has been our inability of moving beyond a yes or no decision, and our inability to explore, test and vet better designs and plans. A design process was missing from this project that could serve to achieve the many goals surrounding our greatest civic achievement, Balboa Park. The workshops were mostly used as forums to justify and defend the initial design proposal.