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Mayor proposes rerouting Balboa Park traffic

SAN DIEGO — Mayor Bob Filner said Wednesday he will propose, in a couple of weeks, a plan to re-route the flow of vehicle traffic through Balboa Park.

In an informal get-together with members of the media, the mayor said a change in traffic patterns in the park will be necessary next year because of the planned retrofit of the Cabrillo Bridge over state Route 163. The bridge is scheduled to be closed by Caltrans for four or five months beginning next January.

He said his plan would simply implement the circulation changes earlier.

A previous proposal to remove vehicles from the center of Balboa Park, which included construction of a $40 million bypass bridge to carry traffic around the Plaza de Panama and Plaza de California, was recently shot down in court.

“Because it’s not a permanent thing like the bridge, we can have an experiment — does it work or doesn’t work,” Filner told reporters. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll change it.”

The mayor said parking would be eliminated in the Plaza de Panama, including disabled and valet parking.

With the bridge closed, vehicles would enter off Park Boulevard and turn around in the plaza, he said.

He has asked the City Council for $500,000 to implement the plan, which would come from a budget surplus projected for the current fiscal year.

City Council President Todd Gloria, who represents the park, said before Filner made his remarks that no one has briefed him on the plan and suggested that area residents would react negatively if left out of the loop.

The mayor subsequently said the City Council and residents will have the opportunity to vet the proposal.

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