City Council approves plan to add housing capacity to Midway area

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego City Council Monday unanimously approved a plan to revitalize the Midway and Pacific Highway communities by adding parkland, pedestrian pathways and increased capacity for housing and making a series of traffic improvements.

The Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan will upgrade housing and amenities on roughly 1,324 acres between the San Diego River, Interstate 5 and the San Diego International Airport. The plan will increase housing capacity in the Midway area from 5,040 to 11,585 units, and plans include a multi-use path from Mission Bay to San Diego Bay, 30 acres of new parks and improvements to the area surrounding the Valley View Casino Center.

"This will set the stage for the type of development we want to see in the Midway area like more housing and jobs for residents and a revitalized entertainment district that all San Diegans can enjoy," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "We're doubling down on our strategy of focusing new development around transit and job centers as we rebuild our city for the future."

While most members of the public expressed support for the plan's added housing and increased multi-use travel space, some members of the City Council voiced concerns about certain aspects of the plan, which was ultimately approved on a 9-0 vote.

Councilman Chris Ward expressed concern about the plan's conformity with the city's Climate Action Plan, while Councilwoman Georgette Gomez called the 11-year timeline "a little bit frustrating."

"I feel like we just need to figure out how we do this process differently," Gomez said. "I just feel that in order for us to get to some of the challenges that we have currently, which is not enough housing and climate change, we need to move quicker in how we're going to be addressing all of this."

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf worked with the Midway Pacific Highway Community Planning Group over the last four years to incorporate community concerns and collaborate with Navy Base Point Loma and surrounding communities.

"The Midway Planning area is home to major attractions like the Sports Arena and Liberty Station. However, the community has many blighted areas," Zapf said. "With this new plan, we can say goodbye to the red-light district of yesteryear and welcome in a new era with better transportation, improved housing options, park and recreation facilities and a fantastic balance of mixed-use projects."

According to Zapf, the plan calls for millions of dollars of traffic improvements at 20 intersections and 17 roadway segments throughout the community, to be implemented over time. Additionally, she said, the plan will jumpstart coordination between the city and other regional transportation agencies to address the I-5 and I-8 interchanges.

Kathy Kenton, chair of the MPHCPG, said: "The Midway Pacific Highway Community Planning Group appreciates the support received today as our community plan was approved. This is an exciting time for our community."

San Diego's planning commission is currently working through six other updates to communities around the city. The City Council is expected to hear an update plan for the Old Town community in October.