Brian Catanzaro grew up in Pacific Beach, and he’s stayed there to raise his own family. He lives in a relatively quiet part of the neighborhood near Kate Sessions Elementary, removed from what he called the “drunken stupor” dominating Garnet Avenue.
He’s noticed changes in his longtime home.
It used to be easy to get on the freeway, now it’s not. It used to be easy to catch a wave, now he shares them with dozens of surfers at a time. He used to take quiet walks in Mission Bay park, now it’s full of exercise classes and other commercial activities.
When political leaders implore support for building more homes in San Diego, he scratches his head.
“If it’s bad for me, why should I roll over and say, ‘No, no, no, I want this, even if it’s bad for me?’” he said. “It’s stupid.”
The common response, from politicians and media alike, is that San Diego is destined to grow, no matter what, and we must prepare for it.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
While California's population continues to grow, there's been a dramatic shift in the migration patterns between states. Prior to 1991, we had a regular net influx of new residents from other states. That reversed starting in 1992 -- about the time SANDAG begin systematically overestimating our rate of population growth.
From 2003 through 2012, California lost a NET 1.43 million people. Net departures slowed in 2008 only because people couldn’t sell their homes. But more people still leave each year -- in 2011 and again in 2012, we lost about 100,000 net people to domestic out-migration. In 2013, 49,000. Again, note that these are NET losses.
Our state's population continues to grow from two factors:
Longer life expectancy
From 2005 to 2012, both the total Hispanic and Mexican extraction birth rates dropped
Year All Origins Total Hispanic Mexican
2012 12.6 17.1 16.3
2005 14.0 22.9 24.5
from Table 5. Births and birth rates, by Hispanic origin of mother and by race for mothers of non-Hispanic origin: National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 64, No. 1, January 15, 2015.http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_01.pdf
As, one can see the ladies have learned about birth control. Unfortunately, the City's and SANDAG's experts in prediction evidently have not learned about the ladies. This is one of the reasons that the defunct Barrio Logan and new Southeastern San Diego Community Plans contain over estimations of population growth.
Inflating projections is what government agencies do to get more funding. This is not a new concept. When funding gets tight, or services have been underfunded, there is even more of a tendency to do it to help get caught up or get enough funding.
Being able to plan for growth, and getting infrastructure started early, is a big cost saving versus having to play catch up as things always cost more when we are desperate to get it done. Let's agree that we are going to grow, and continue to budget and build for it.
The remaining question is density or sprawl...
What Adrew failed to address was the impact of the incorrect projections. Did we build roads, schools, water facilities, etc. that we didn't need? No, if anything, our infrastructure is inadequate to serve the population, even though it is less of a population than we expected. So, if we overestimate by 20%+, but only have resources to build 50% or less than our needs, we are more than OK. The key, again, is that SANDAG predicted significant growth, which is what happened!
Are the commuting times reasonable? Are class sizes reasonable? Can we continue without water restrictions? The existing infrastructure is being stressed for the size of our population. The population of India is increasing to and that does not mean its infrastructure is adequate!
@bgetzel When the freeways are filled with people willing to make that commute on a regular basis, if that isn't objective proof that commuting times are reasonable, then what is?
@bgetzel Premise 1: If we didn't have adequate infrastructure to serve the population, our population would not increase. Premise 2: Our population is increasing. Conclusion: we have adequate infrastructure to serve the population.
I was amazed attending one of the Workshops to hear during the Q&A period that questions to SANDAG, who works for us, were dismissed as follows
"This sounds more like a comment rather than a Question."
If a question doesn't fit into their plan just dismiss it?
Frankly all I observed at this workshop was a lot of fast talking hype.
SANDAG is our Federally- and State-mandated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Regional MPOs are required to exist in order to receive Federal and/or State Funding.
To make any large changes or put forward tax increases like the half-cent TransNet, 2/3 [67%] of both the weighted and unweighted SANDAG board members have to agree.
The City of San Diego has a 40% Weighted vote on the SANDAG Board, through Mayor Faulconer and City Council Member Todd Gloria. Therefore the City of San Diego has automatic VETO powers on SANDAG to push forward any projects they want, including language on upcoming ballots.
It would be great if Mayor Faulconer and Council Member Gloria took charge and set SANDAG priorities and budget, instead of allowing staff to make all political decisions.
SANDAG's "irrational exuberance" fuels many problems related to long term planning for infrastructure, and also makes realtors and land speculators drool with anticiption of even more overpriced housing for them to sell.
Likewise, in a similar fashion, the city's Metropolitan Wastewater District has historically claimed that massive amounts of wastewater would be discharged out to sea via outfalls as the population increased. They used these predictions to justify the construction of the massive ocean outfall at the border which will never operate at maximum capacity (thank god) since people in this region, in both the US & Mexico, are realizing it makes little sense to pump, import, treat and use water once, then dump it out to sea.
In fact despite population increases over the last 20 years the amount of water discharged through the outfalls has remained constant or even decreased. Residents are smarter about their water use and are using less and conserving morning.
And- especially in an era of climate change, drought and heightened water politics- this "dump it to sea" method makes less and less sense, fiscally and environmentally..
So... driving CO2 producing highway projects by overestimating projections of growth. Creating jobs for engineering, construction etc. industries by over stating future needs....Amazing... who could have come up with such a plan..
Or, as some of my medical friends reminds me:
"Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell." Ultimately, it kills the host.
German State To Test City 'Eco Lane' For Cleanest Cars, Carpools http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1098372_german-state-to-test-city-eco-lanes-for-cleanest-cars-carpools
Why not in SoCal?
Sounds like complete and total Socialism with a capital "S"... you people should be living in Amsterdam
@Muriel I guess you would rather spend all of SANDAG's money on ever more roadways that will only lead to ever more congestion.
Getting people to use small ePersonal mobility "eVehicles" hopefully on "roadways with solar roofs wold not only create income that could be used for future maintenance but also reduce the number of traditional Big Vehicles that are using ICE engines, which are polluting the air we all breathe.
Another good job by Andy and VOSD. If people are unhappy with SANDAG, they should let their elected officials know. For example, council member Todd Gloria, who is touted as a friend of the environment and local communities is chair of SANDAG's Transportation Committee. He is the one largely responsible for the failed plan four years ago as well as the one being shown to the public now called San Diego Backward (or is it Forward). SANDAG is made up of out elected officials. They are the ones who need to change SANDAG or we need to change who we elect.
To bad that most of our elected Officials don't care as much about US as they do about their own Donations.
If that were not the case SANDAG would be doing what is best for all of US, not just BIG Contractors.
I agree, nice job VOSD. It's good to see that the information everyone seems to take as gospel is being looked at carefully and challenged.
Erroneous projections are not SANDAG's only failures. Other notables include their botched climate action plan. now Ca supreme court fodder. Or those endless stalled traffic lanes on any "freeway" system you drive
In reality, SANDAG has not proven good for anything, with the exception of the building industry.
Puppets, stooges and water carriers are too mild for SANDAG adjectives.
SANDAG is a notorious wastrel of taxpayer cash...with no evidence of it's existence except stalled freeways and trolleys to NOWHERE 80% of the population would travel.
Yet even no-brainer destinations don't exist:
Try taking a "trolley" to Lindbergh Field, our international airport.
Try taking a "trolley" to our internationally celebrated Balboa Park Centennial.
Try taking a "trolley" to our internationally famous San Diego Zoo.
SANDAG is looking to score $204 Billion for their operating budgets, but they are working solely for developers. And that huge tax reward of course. Actual taxpayers don't exist in their scandalous matrix. Anyone attending the SANDAG dog and pony shows touring the County would laugh aloud at the pretext of a claims for public transportation. But small wonder, the board of SANDAG is composed of the elected politicians from 18 cities and the County.
I've attended 4 of the current Forward San Diego "workshops.
Here's my take, basically from the latest meet at Caltrans. SANDAG is desperate, in deep disarray and cannot respond to actual questions. They are both incapable and determined to avoid responses. SANDAG's PR scheme is to outright refuse to hear comments. If blurted, they claim your voice to be an "opinion". Staff go so far as holding the microphone for you. Their presentations have diminished with each "workshop" skipping slides and skimming over obvious blunders. Anyone not familiar with Soviet-Era repression of speech will find this a perfect history lesson.
SANDAG management is on a mission, but their mission is so flawed that staff finds it embarrassing. And staff there will be - in herds... At the Caltrans hearing they outnumbered the 40 or so public participants. Staff is pandering for leniency, publicly asking Jack Shu of CNFF for mercy...then became incapable of even intelligible responses. They simply cannot address truth. Staffs' "solution" is rushing through any attempt at public participation and herding you into a barrage of posters swarming with specialist staffers. Not that they are rude, or malevolent...only blinded by the mission in an eerily corporate manner. If I wanted mindless samples I'd go to Costco. Here we wanted answers.
The basic underlying LIE is that SANDAG has nothing to do whatsoever with Land Use, only implementing transportation-related land use decisions. That LIE is easily blown up when the SANDAG board is only composed of the exact ELECTED Land Use decision makers staff claims no relation to. They play public participants for idiots. And we are; if we accept anything from SANDAG at face value.
Harry Jensen of the Morena Corridor refused to play those games, lighting up the audience to the point of mini staff meetings attempting to shut him off. There was not one positive publicly aired comment. It was a pathetic failure, continuously on the verge of collapse for its lack of reality or common sense. This is a staged fraud, challenged only by San Diego County's Planning and Development's "Thrive" workshops. The panel of experts assembled by SANDAG refused to support or protect SANDAG blunders, such as failing to have a trolley to the airport, or even a dedicated I-5 off ramp to Lindbergh.The panel members soon became the sounding board for reality...Management and staff did everything to get them off topic once they sensed truth emerging.
Soon staff was pitching how green they were with bike lanes, charging stations and other ancillary trivia distractions while ignoring actual mass transportation removing traffic from an overwhelmed I-5. But they definitely want that $204 billion budget.
I urge all to attend. But please bring your own answers. You won't get any from SANDAG that make any sense.
@George Courser I like your comment about "Green Bike Lanes". CALTRANS has boasted about the one on the North side of SR52 between Mast Blvd and Santo road. However, they created that by acquiring several feet of the pavement of Westbound SR52, thus making the already crowded highway more crowded. Every time I drive that route, my wife and I try to spot a bicycle on it. Up to now, we have been unsuccessful.
GREAT Comment, hopefully many will read it and then learn from it.
“It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ― Yogi Berra
My question would be, who is doing better?
@Chris Brewster Also by Yogi Berra: "Nobody drives on the I-5 anymore, it's too crowded."
I think it might be more like, "I love going places on the San Diego trolley, except that it doesn't take you anywhere."
SANDAG are hopeless with their traffic projections too. Take SR52 as an example. They built a section of it from SR125 to SR67 right through Santee. However, Westbound at SR125, it resulted in six lanes of traffic merging into two lanes, because the section of SR52 from SR125 to I-15 is not yet finished and is not capable of handling the flow. This is because of four bridges that need to be widened. Oh yes! the concrete pavement is in position already, several miles of it, but is useless because of those bridges.
So, when do SANDAG plan to complete that glaring oversight? They are scheduled to start in the year 2040.
25 YEARS FROM NOW!
In the meantime, frustrated drivers do all they can to get around the big bottleneck. Some exit the freeway at Fanita and use Santee city streets to try and get a few cars ahead so they can get to work on time.
We in this area are paying extra sales tax to get this and other freeways up to date, but here, we must wait
25 YEARS FROM TODAY TO GET SANDAG STARTED!
Its time to retire all of them. The sooner the better.
I'm glad VOSD (or anyone) is finally addressing this. City officials and others treat SANDAG's projections as gospel. As I recall, back in 2005 SANDAG projected the region's population would grow by 1.3 million by 2030. Now they say it's 2050.
These overstated projection errors are not limited to population. Because of the SANDAG bias favoring light rail, over and over their projections for new rail lines has been significantly higher than actual ridership. After the successful TJ Trolley was built at very low cost, SANDAG fell in love with commuter rail.
A fun project for VOSD would be to go back an look at the projections, and then look at ridership -- line by line. The general rule of thumb is that for each new line, you'll likely find the projection vs. ridership is even more overly-optimistic than the last spur approved. Don't forget to include the Sprinter! I expect a similar outcome for the vaunted $1.8 billion MidCoast rail line from Old Town to UTC.
The sad part is that the SANDAG staff is well paid and pensioned for systematically being wrong. And indeed, it appears that accuracy is not the goal -- JUSTIFICATION drives such projections. They ARE doing their job. And doing a job on us.
@Richard Rider Richard, I was really hoping to hear your thoughts on this conundrum. Hopefully you're still reading this thread.
@Richard Rider You single out transit here - but if SANDAG's growth projections are overstated, wouldn't that be an argument for less spending on BOTH transit and highways? Lower growth means lower travel demand for all modes of transportation.
So assuming SANDAG's growth projections will continue to be overstated, then the logical move here would be to downsize our ENTIRE regional transportation plan - highways included. Right?
@tarfu7 @Richard Rider The problem is that the highway capacity is always lagging. We can SEE the usage, minute by minute. It's far easier to predict future demand, as well as see where current problems exist. Yet, we seem to have had a conscious policy of rush hour gridlock over the years -- perhaps to encourage people to use mass transit.
But rail is built totally on suppositions, with no hard data available to analyze demand. Since SANDAG ALWAYS overestimates rail ridership on proposed lines (usually by a LOT) while underestimating road demand, it's logical to conclude that the staff is driven by an inherent bias favoring rail mass transit.
I might add that I DO favor improving mass transit -- by putting more funding into the BUS system, which gets people where they want to go. More routes, more express buses, etc. -- but the money for that improvement instead goes towards FAR more expensive and less efficient rail.
But do you agree with the growing body of research showing that you can't build your way out of highway congestion? Demand for auto travel is not constant; more road capacity induces more demand. Recent experiences around the nation have shown that multi-billion-dollar highway expansions generally only relieve congestion for 2-3 years at best, before the traffic jams come right back.
So in your mind, when does this cycle end? You're a fiscal conservative - do you really think it's worthwhile to invest billions in highway expansions, if they will only relieve traffic congestion for a couple years? And once the congestion returns, will you be calling for yet another multi-billion-dollar expansion? How wide do our highways need to be before you say we've spent enough?
(If your answer to the last question is, "Until there's no more rush hour congestion" - then you're essentially writing a blank check, which of course is not very fiscally conservative.)
Slowly but surely, a more realistic discussion about growth and development is beginning to take place, thanks in part to Voice of San Diego and its reporters who are not afraid to dig into things and don't worry about upsetting the BIA and it's political shills.
Perhaps after reading this analysis, other media reporters and editors won't start off every discussion on growth by asserting that "According to SANDAG, the region's population will grow by over a million in the next XXX years".
SANDAG should be disbanded, since it is in reality nothing more than a group of Cheerleaders for ever more local Building Projects which really only benefit the Building Industry and those that receive donations from them (which are the Board-members of SANDAG).
Imagine if Jack Shu could appoint four others to a new Board of SMART-SD to replace the entire SANDAG Board. This new Board could then spend BIG Money on all forms of small electric powered "personal mobility" eVehicles that would not only dramatically reduce our GHG but at the same time remove huge numbers of vehicles from our existing roads as ever more commuters switched from their cars to "personal mobility" eVehicles. This would have the effect of reducing traffic on existing roads since less big vehicles would be using them.
Once commuters realized that no major highway improvements would be taking place, they would adjust their transportation/lifestyle in much the same way that everyone has adjusted to watering less. In five years San Diego would be transformed into the best place to commute in the USA, and parking would be a joy since tiny "personal mobility" eVehicles would be able to park much the same way that bicycles are parked today, since many would be able to fit in each parking slot, which would multiply the number of parking spaces by many time over.
The switch would be exciting to say the least and have many positive "spinoffs" as commuters began to install solar roof and storage batteries in order to recharge their own personal mobility" eVehicles instead of having to pay ever more money to Big Oil and/or Big Utility. The money saved could also make acquiring personal mobility" eVehicles far easier since rebates could be given to everyone instead of spending the money on new road construction, which cost many millions per mile. Additionally, our existing roads could be repaired so that using the personal mobility" eVehicles would be safer for all.
Now is time for SoCal taxpayers to demand far better from those planning for our future, to insure that we (not just our elected Officials and BIG Contractors), actually benefit from all future improvements in San Diego.
"How fast will population grow" is a silly question for SANDAG to ask when they are the ones who cause it to grow by building infrastructure, if you believe in induced demand.
@Founder And they also conflate population growth with economic growth.
If WATER limits our growth, then perhaps we can spend a Billion Dollars on Water improvements instead of more housing units and a new Chargers Stadium which would really make it much better for all those already living in San Diego to enjoy our quality of life instead of what our elected Leaders want, which is more, more and more BIG donations, in return for supporting ever more GROWTH, which will surely reduce our Quality of Life with more traffic congestion, less parking and more crime.