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    I read Andrew Keatts’ “North Park Presents a Big Test for the City’s Climate Action Plan” story and wanted to write to say I’m excited about the increased density that the North Park Community Plan update provides.
    Letters logoI do own a UPS Store in the neighborhood, but I also live in North Park and my enthusiasm isn’t financially driven.

    In denser communities, we’ll have a greater variety of small businesses so that we don’t have to go very far to get the things we want and need. Instead of driving to downtown, Mission Valley or Kearny Mesa, more of the things we want could be purchased in North Park. And given the size of North Park and how flat it is, these businesses would be just a bike ride or walk away.

    Increased density also means that we can have more frequent and varied public transportation options, so that when we need to go downtown or other places, it’s more likely that there will be a bus or trolley that can quickly take us there. It’s hard to justify increasing the frequency of a bus in a low-density neighborhood where there are fewer potential users.

    The increased density will also change the feel of the neighborhood, and in my opinion, for the better. I love the energy of dense communities like Little Italy and East Village and I’m excited that many people see North Park as an ideal candidate for this kind of growth.

    Dennis Stein is a business owner and resident of North Park. Stein’s commentary has been edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here

      This article relates to: Community Plans, Opinion

      Written by Opinion

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      31 comments
      Patricia Powers
      Patricia Powers

      As a very long time resident of San Diego, I call bullsh*t on the people posting on here as "native North Park" residents.  I have just joined two groups that are against the Pacific Beachification of North Park. You all are a bunch of liars. You apparently do not run in the canyons around this area, haven't had baby showers, weddings, or funerals in this area. 



      You are full of it, not one local of North Park for one minute thinks it's okay to over crowd this area.. make Mother's pushing their kids through an intersection fear for their lives. 


      North Park has become a Character of itself.  It's sad because this was a place where my husband bought his house thinking that it was a place to retire 25 years ago. 


      I know it's horrifying to think that North Park existed before you and your arrogance, but it did.  

      Kelly Tanguay
      Kelly Tanguay

      We need to build housing in San Diego. With the constant influx of new people it's inevitable and more a matter of where we're going to put it. San Diego will continue to sprawl but we are already an incredibly sprawling city and in order for our economy to grow we also need more high density areas near the main city centers.

      North Park seems like the obvious choice. It's flat, with lots of space, and also lots of graffiti and abandoned buildings. It's an up and coming neighborhood that is spilling off of Hillcrest with many people moving in as they get priced out of the other parts of the city.

      North Park is also a divider between the more affluent parts of University Ave with the less affluent and there need to be better public transportation, biking and walking access between the two. Increasing the density of North Park is the only way it would make sense for us to make those investments. With our unbelievably terrible traffic and parking problems the solution isn't to stop all new development and maintain the status quo (which is not going to work and never does in any growing city). We need to invest in smart house plans, pedestrian traffic ways, bike lanes and public transportation. Instead of trying to stop growth we need fight to make it as good as possible because either way new development is coming.

      Founder
      Founder subscriber

      @Kelly Tanguay RE: "North Park is also a divider between the more affluent parts of University Ave with the less affluent and there need to be better public transportation, biking and walking access between the two."


      North Park is huge, so what parts are you talking about?


      Because North Park is way beyond "up and coming" and is now one of the most desirable parts of Mid-City, if not THE most desirable, so given time, what is happening is that one by one those buildings you mentioned are getting bought up and transformed into yet more businesses that want to get in on the cool neighborhood of North Park.


      With all the "unbelievably terrible traffic and parking problems" what we do not need is more Density without first providing for more infrastructure upgrades.  Because everyone would like to live here, we should not build for just the physically able that do not want/need vehicles or those that want to ride mass transit.


      North Park properties will continue to zoom upward in value if we do not allow it to be "Densified" just because more people want to relocate here.  If these people want more affordability, then they need to relocate to where they can afford a place, just like everyone did when they bought in NP.

      Patricia Powers
      Patricia Powers

      Yeah we need to build more..LOL!   Bankers HIll, North Park, South Park and Gaslamp are being built up as f.. As a long time local:  move out of San Diego. Thank you

      Shirley Fenile
      Shirley Fenile

      I've lived here the lifespan of a tortoise and seen significant improvement.  But, there's 2 sides to every coin, eh?  I'm sorry I've not been a more active participant.  Ideas often get spun out by volunteers on committees who have their own very specific agendas.  I'd like to see density spread out ideally across San Diego county and Coronado.  And, I'd like infrastructures maintained. And, I do want to stop the graffitti that is rising again in both So. Park & No. Park.  Not to be a downer but hey, it's not art.

      John Anderson
      John Anderson subscriber

      Thank you, Dennis, for writing this.  I also live in North Park and strongly support creation of more housing in our neighborhood.  Existing, and future, community members have much to gain from growing and building on the foundation that exists already.

      Patricia Powers
      Patricia Powers

      @John Anderson Really ? Do you work from home?  I don't, I commute and this entire area is over congested and packed during rush hour.  

      Jennifer Reiswig
      Jennifer Reiswig subscribermember

      I agree as well. The NIMBY folks are always complaining that density brings crime. I think what really brings crime in my neighborhood is all the closed businesses and vacant buildings.  I want a neighborhood that's fun to walk around.  One thing I think is vitally important is to hold developers to rules about providing sufficient parking with new housing. There should be no loopholes for that nowadays. Too many buildings in this part of town were allowed to do that in the past. 

      Derek Hofmann
      Derek Hofmann subscribermember

      @Jennifer Reiswig If McDonald's sold their hamburgers for a penny each, would you say that the reason you can't buy one unless you camped there overnight is because McDonald's didn't make enough hamburgers? Food is more important than parking, so should we hold restaurants to rules about providing sufficient food?

      Sharon Gehl
      Sharon Gehl subscribermember

      North Park is a wonderful place to live, with wonderful people. So glad to read that more people will be able to join them and enjoy North Park!

      michael-leonard
      michael-leonard subscriber

      Having grown up in a very dense metropolitan area (Brooklyn, NY) I agree that there are many benefits to high density. And, because North Park area also includes many blocks of single-family housing (as in the photo) there is ample space for both.

      William Charles
      William Charles

      Increased density is fine as long as they fix the streets, increase car lanes and increase the ease of parking. Increased traffic jams and no parking means decreased business and customers. 

      paul jamason
      paul jamason subscribermember

      @William Charles Widening roads increases pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities (6% for every meter of street width).  People's lives are more important than fast auto flow, right?  And higher densities mean increased business, since customers can walk, bike or take public transit to businesses.

      Founder
      Founder subscriber

      @paul jamason @William Charles

      1)  Adding more car lanes is not going to happen, if anything traffic flow is going to be "calmed," which is great for the business district but will also drive commuters to use residential streets instead of the streets designed for it like Univ. Ave. and El Cajon Blvd.

      2)  What happens to all the folks that can't bike, should they be forced out of NP to make room for those that can?

      3) If you can promote for reducing the traffic speed what about also giving the right of way to Senior and kids instead of bicycle commuters and/or commercial vehicles?

      4) What about enforcing the laws that bicyclist must stop at stop signs and at red lights, or would that be unfair?


      Planning is supposed to work for everybody and not just the physically fit, that is something that the Pro-bicycle folks seem to forget  about in their push for less parking and more Density.  And before anybody gets the wrong idea, I have been a cyclist and commuter for many decades, so I'm not an anti-bicyclist.

      Laura Cole
      Laura Cole

      Absolutely agree with your point #4. If cyclists want to be treated like autos, then they should obey the same rules!!! I can't tell you how many times I've seen one cruise though a four-way stop or red light with no regard for anything but themselves, and they wonder why they get hit by cars. Remind me how healthy cycling is from your hospital bed.

      Jordi Jorda
      Jordi Jorda

      Here is the thing. Why bring the density here when you already can enjoy it in East village or little Italy , didn't you reside in the wrong neighborhood, shouldn't be better that we enjoy the place where we choose to live the way it is instead of changing it because a few people wants more density?

      Robin Martyn
      Robin Martyn subscriber

      @Jordi Jorda 

      I agree with Jordi. I like Little Italy, but I don't want to live there.  I bought in North Park because I liked what was here.  Not for a vision of what it would be someday.


      Hoping that you'll get improved transportation because you accept more density is silly.  Ask the good folks in Hillcrest.  They accepted a bunch of density with the understanding that they would get improved transportation.  Never happened.  How about putting the density where the government has spent all the transportation money.  In Mira Meas, along the 15 or in University City along the 805

      michael-leonard
      michael-leonard subscriber

      You're right in that the planning process is backwards. Historically, transportation is constructed before housing goes in. And the plan is for the increased density to be along the already established transportation corridor(s), mainly El Cajon Bl. And very close to the Unversity/I805 interchange that you suggest.


      The problem with your suggestion of adding density along the I-15 corridor is -- it's already being done! For 20 years! ;-)

      Robin Martyn
      Robin Martyn subscriber

      @paul jamason @Robin Martyn @Jordi Jorda  So, you're saying people should have no expectations to keep what they have?  What they paid for?  What they worked for?  They should allow outsiders like you to come in and dictate what their neighborhoods should look like?  Are there other things you'd like to come take from them?

      Young people will have an even bigger problem living in North Park if they develop the area the way you champion.  It's been shown over and over again that new housing costs more than existing housing.


      BTW I understand you live in a single family home in an expensive part of town.  Just like Sharon Gehl who also champions greater density in other people's neighborhoods.  Why don't you clean up your own back yard before you come trashing ours?

      paul jamason
      paul jamason subscribermember

      @Robin Martyn @paul jamason @Jordi Jorda Ah, the standard NIMBY provincial response - unless you live in the neighborhood, you have no say.  Well, North Park isn't a city unto itself, it's part of the city of San Diego - and we should all have a say, including those who can't afford to live here.  And no one's taking anything away from you, it's just that you want to monopolize access to your neighborhood's amenities, another classic NIMBY behavior: https://clubnimbyblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/why-think-about-nimbyism/

      I live in south Kensington and supported the Kensington Commons project on Adams Ave, which has a very high residential density, and support higher densities there and on El Cajon Boulevard nearby.  The only way I was able to afford a down payment 15 years ago was via an inheritance - so wanting housing for people who aren't as fortunate as me is "outsider dictating"?  Your exclusionism is the real dictating.   


      Much of El Cajon Boulevard is strip malls, how is the new housing more expensive if there's no housing to begin with?  And the state legislative office says building more housing is the way to slow displacement: http://la.streetsblog.org/2016/02/10/want-to-slow-displacement-then-build-more-housing-says-legislative-analysts-office/


      But you're not interested in backing up your selfish arguments with facts - NIMBYs never are.  You just come up with new excuses to exclude others, so your home profits continue to increase. 

      Robin Martyn
      Robin Martyn subscriber

      @Ryan with Cupcake @Robin Martyn @paul jamason @Jordi Jorda That's an interesting metaphor, but it isn't the way it works with a gentrifying neighborhood.  What actually happens is that the inexpensive, more affordable housing gets torn down to make way for new buildings.  The rents in the vast majority of the new buildings are higher than what was there before.  The result is that there is NO low-priced affordable housing for young people.  And the people who lived in the housing that was torn down usually have to relocate to a different neighborhood.

      Robin Martyn
      Robin Martyn subscriber

      @paul jamason @Robin Martyn @Jordi Jorda Ah, the standard response of a busy body who thinks he knows what's best for everyone else's neighborhoods.

      So you think that since North Park isn't a city that the residents have given up all rights to self determination?  How completely un-American!  

      You supported that tiny little development on Adams?  How progressive of you.  How close to your house was that?  Did it block out any of your sunshine?  Are the residents parking in front of your house?  Tell me just how much you've personally given up for that development.  The bottom line is that the vast majority of Kensington is zoned for single family homes and probably always will be.  Why do you think North Park should give up the few remaining single-family homes it has left while you keep yours.  Tell me Paul, just how do you rationalize your hypocrisy?

      Ryan with Cupcake
      Ryan with Cupcake subscriber

      @Robin Martyn @Ryan with Cupcake @paul jamason @Jordi Jorda Preventing increased density will only make that worse. Without increased housing to meet the increased demand from incoming residents, every incoming resident means an existing resident has to leave. Rather than keeping low-priced affordable housing, blocking density means that even the least desirable housing gets bid up to ridiculous prices.

      Ryan with Cupcake
      Ryan with Cupcake subscriber

      @Robin Martyn @paul jamason @Jordi Jorda It isn't that other people aren't allowing the neighborhood to stay the same. The entire city will continue to change regardless of what we do. The only question is what form that change will take. Will it come in the form of rising housing costs displacing all but the wealthiest or will it take the form of increased density and affordable housing?

      Geoff Page
      Geoff Page subscribermember

      @michael-leonard @Jordi Jorda I think your comment is way off base, Jorda wasn't attacking anyone.  Jorda was commenting on the issue, the issue of people moving to a place and then wanting to change it entirely to suit what they think is a better place.  Happens all the time.  If the writer enjoys that sort of density, it is a perfectly reasonable question to ask, why didn't you move into one of the already dense areas? Some people moved to North Park because they liked it just as it is and that is something that should be considered. 

      michael-leonard
      michael-leonard subscriber

      When s/he wrote, "...you reside in the wrong neighborhood..." it sounded to me like a direct attack on the original writer, which I thought was unnecessary. Sorry if I was wrong.


      Regarding the issue: anyone who moves anywhere "...because they like it just as it is..." is just asking for a world of disappointment. I lived in PB in the 80s, but I'm in Clairemont now. :-)


      Look, only developers really like development and I'm not one. As much as I don't enjoy delivering the message: In San Diego, infill development, like change itself, is inevitable. Stop fighting it and start to PLAN it. You folks who live there have to tinker with it to make it work. But, the general plan makes sense to me. There's provision for increasing density on University and El Cajon, and for retaining the great cottages, too.

      paul jamason
      paul jamason subscribermember

      @Robin Martyn @Jordi Jorda I disagree that neighborhoods should stay the same forever.  If that were the case, we never would have developed anything anywhere.  I'm sure there were many in Little Italy who wanted it to remain a small fishing neighborhood.  

      Expecting neighborhoods to stay frozen in time, with no new housing, also ignores our city's housing crisis.  It's easy for many of us to say no to new development - we already have homes, and preventing it increases our home profits even more.  But what about the large number of younger San Diegans who can't afford to stay here as a direct result of Robin and Jordi's reasoning?  Their approach just pushes new housing out to our backcountry, resulting in more traffic, emissions, pollution, global warming, wildfires, etc.

      Ryan with Cupcake
      Ryan with Cupcake subscriber

      @Robin Martyn @paul jamason @Jordi Jorda New housing costs more than existing reason for the same reason that new cars cost more than used cars. And just like how young people buy used cars, they will move into the housing vacated by those moving into the new housing rather than moving into the new housing itself.

      Greg Martin
      Greg Martin subscriber

      I strongly agree with that sentiment.  Density isn't of itself evil.  Depending on how it's done, it can very much make a neighborhood a lot better.  Now if only the additional tax revenue from the density increases could be plowed back into those neighborhoods rather than being used to subsidize the low-density sprawl neighborhoods.