New Parking Spaces for Hillcrest – Finally
By Leslie Wolf Branscomb
Hillcrest needs more places to park, and finally some new spaces will be created.
Ground was broken Sept. 28 in the asphalt median that divides Normal Street in the first block north of University Avenue. The project will redesign the median between University and Blaine Avenue to create 15 diagonal parking spaces with two-hour meters, plus two handicapped parking spaces. The newly-constructed median should be more attractive than the current asphalt divider, with landscaping and irrigation. It is to be completed in December.
Conveniently, the spaces are near to many of Hillcrest’s restaurants, shops and nightclubs. Having parking meters should encourage turnover, which would be helpful to the businesses.
“Today’s a good news day. We are adding additional parking spaces right at a point where it is so necessary,” said San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria at a press conference announcing the project. “We’ve been waiting a while for this, but anything that’s worth doing usually takes a bit of time.”
The median parking project has been in the works for at least seven years. It will cost $293,250, with more than half the money — $149,000 — coming from the Uptown Partnership, which oversees parking in the Uptown area. “The money came from the community, basically,” said Uptown Partnership board president Cindy Lehman. The partnership’s share was taken from parking meter revenues, 45 percent of which are to be reinvested in the community.
“We know the need is broader than this,” Gloria acknowledged. “This is just the first of many projects.”
Not long ago, Gloria helped obtain the Hillcrest Post Office parking lot for use after-hours. Patrons pay to park there in the evenings, and the money is used for the upkeep of the post office parking lot and property.
Gloria is working now on a similar arrangement with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which has a large lot on Normal Street that sits unused after business hours.
Other possible targets, Gloria said, are AT&T, which has a lot across from its main facility on Robinson Avenue, and the long-shuttered Pernicano’s restaurant on Sixth Avenue, which has a chain-link fence around its unused parking lot. “We need to keep pushing,” Gloria said. “Folks may not be there yet, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit asking. We have to explore the amenities that are here.”