SAN DIEGO — The City of San Diego is in the process of revamping the downtown area to make it friendlier for walking, dining outside and a safer area for people to enjoy the Gaslamp Quarter.
The city is looking to shut down seven blocks on Fifth Avenue from Broadway Street to K Street.
San Diego will work with Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to re-route bus routes that would run through the promenade.
“The best days of the Gaslamp Quarter are still ahead,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said.
Downtown San Diego is getting a makeover in a project called the Gaslamp Promenade.
Expected by the end of June, every day from 11 a.m. to around midnight, Fifth Avenue will close to all car traffic from K Street up to Broadway. The Gaslamp Association Executive Director Michael Trimble said crews have already installing fixed bollards on that stretch of Fifth Avenue to indicate the closure.
“It’s so much better for people congestion wise, there is a lot more space, it accommodates a lot more people. It has a much better family-friendly feel,” Trimble said.
A fire lane will always stay open, so will the cross streets like Market Street, J and K Streets, and the other streets. There are plans to add more parking to the side streets, Trimble said.
For the past three years, Fifth Avenue has closed from K Street to F Street for most of the day Thursday to Sunday. Fifth Avenue is also closed south of Market Street on Wednesday.
As part of the new promenade, the added two more blocks of car closures along Fifth Avenue every day, is welcoming to businesses that will finally be included.
“When the streets are not closed, we have been doing so bad for the past three, four years,” said Mareuos Sitto, the general manager at Döner Mediterranean Grill. “So now we are excited. We are getting ready and preparing ourselves.”
Sitto said they are ready to expand and to welcome more customers.
“From employees I’m bringing all my guys back, we can’t wait,” Sitto said.
The new promenade will run right through MTS bus routes 3 and 120, and the MTS access.
Bus routes 3 and 120 operates along Fifth Avenue north of Market Street. The two routes also serve thousands of people a day, in Lincoln Park, downtown, Hillcrest, Logan Heights, Mountain View, Fashion Valley and other communities.
Gloria also addressed the possibility of more traffic or longer bus rides.
“But when you consider the success that’s been experienced by the small businesses on the southern five blocks, I think you understand this is always a trade-off, and in this case, the benefits to the general community and small businesses there far outweigh what is a two-block adjustment.”
Gloria said the project will cost an estimated couple $100,000, and the money has been programmed already. The funds will come from parking meter revenue in the area that will deploy back to that same neighborhood, according to the mayor.