El Cajon Boulevard is about to become a test case for San Diego’s vision of a neighborhood packed with dense, affordable urban housing.
The question is whether public funds and community plans will keep up with the boulevard’s development boom.
Running from North Park out toward San Diego State University and La Mesa, El Cajon Boulevard passes through eight diverse communities, including Normal Heights, University Heights, City Heights and Kensington-Talmadge.
More than 800 new rental units will start construction along the boulevard in the next two years. For comparison, about 500 new units went up in the entire decade from 2005 to 2015.
The corridor also received heavy public investment recently, including the full restoration of the Lafayette Hotel, which planners call the “jewel” of El Cajon Boulevard, and the $44 million bus rapid transit project that debuted last year.
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Don't underestimate the impact of the new Copley-Price YMCA at the east end of ECB. It is already having a positive effect on the community - people are out and walking in the area now and it's only a matter of time before the businesses start to clean up and cater to that population.
@Caroline McKeown It was the same for the area around the Kroc Center in Rolando. A Godsend to the community.
As for this article, it would have been nice to know where those 500 units were built. I'm guessing almost all of them were on the east end of ECB, because Rolando is now suffering from the monstrosity known as BLVD63. That alone had over 360 units (which, btw, have a lot of 4-bedroom "units"). And a block away is a second, slightly smaller development.
I feel bad for the people who own homes either just north or just south of ECB where this new development is going to be done. Their stores, streets, and parks are about to get a whole lot more crowded. Travelling along ECB can already be an frustrating experience.
@msginsd I feel bad for the people who can't afford to live here because we're preventing new housing for the reasons you specified. When you purchase a home adjacent to a major transit corridor with fewer height restrictions, development should be expected. There are many alternatives in San Diego that are away from transit and will remain less crowded.
@Caroline McKeown I'm also excited about the YMCA on El Cajon Boulevard. This block is also the focus of efforts by the City Heights CDC and Circulate SD to improve walkability and place-making: http://www.circulatesd.org/our-work/community-support/. A new sidewalk bulb-out is proposed in the new city pedestrian master plan for the Fairmont intersection.
However, the Kensington-Talmadge community planning group is seeking to require the property owner of the vacant lot there (Price Charities) to widen El Cajon Boulevard by adding a right turn lane, which would remove the bulb-out. Widening the street will increase vehicle speeds and crossing distance, making it more unsafe for pedestrians. The KenTal board is focused on reducing traffic on Monroe/Aldine (which will get a traffic-calming roundabout as part of the SANDAG Mid-City Bikeway) and is unconcerned with the safety of people on foot/bikes on El Cajon.
Remember, KenTal board members wanted to move the ground-level retail from the proposed Talmadge Gateway project at Euclid away from El Cajon and toward the Talmadge side, despite the much higher foot traffic on the former, because residents were "uncomfortable" on El Cajon. There are some very illuminating things happening here that can be partly attributed to the demographics and wealth of the stakeholders involved.