VOSD Podcast: Takin' it to the Streets - Voice of San Diego

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VOSD Podcast: Takin' it to the Streets

This week on the VOSD podcast, Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby discuss how November’s big ballot is stacking up, SDSU’s land deal drama and a new idea on how San Diego could turn streets into plazas to save local business.

Little Italy / Photo by Mario Covic

Crisis or no crisis, San Diego wouldn’t be San Diego without a big ballot in November.

The general election ballot is starting to shape up with some historic decisions for voters to make. This week, hosts Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby discussed some of the most interesting items a San Diego City Council committee put forward this week. Among them are ranked choice voting and project labor agreements. But perhaps most divisive of all could be the proposal to change the coastal height limit.

The proposal would remove the decades-old height restriction that affects the Midway area.

Also in the podcast this week, Lewis, Keatts and Libby discussed the confusing and ever-changing prospect of reopening.

Top of mind was a comment the Union-Tribune caught that County Supervisor Jim Desmond recently made to a conservative podcast. He told the show that San Diego County has only experienced “six pure” coronavirus deaths.

So, What About Restaurants?

On the second half of the show, Keatts spoke with urban planner Howard Blackson about an idea he’s floated to get to a new normal that lets restaurants operate at their full potential.

The idea, essentially, is for restaurants to house half their diners indoors, and half outdoors. Social distancing rules will likely force restaurants to operate at half their usual capacity whenever they’re allowed to reopen.

“Allow the 5o percent to be made up outside in the sidewalk, in the parking lane and in the street,” Blackson suggested.

Streets where several restaurants operate could function as a sort of central plaza for diners. And he’s noted this has been done before in San Diego. This could essentially close down streets for a few months, or a year, or maybe longer, while we’re all driving less and spending more time in our local neighborhoods.

A study is being reviewed by the city of San Diego now, Blackson says, that shows this method could help restaurants make up for business that would be lost otherwise.

“Streets are our lifeblood,” Blackson said.

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