By Jeff Clemetson | Editor
Walking or biking along Morena Boulevard isn’t easy. But if all goes well, a plan to update traffic and zoning in the Morena District could be adopted by the city by the end of the year.
“[The Morena Corridor Specific Plan is] consistent with the city’s general plan ‘City of Villages’ strategy,” said city of San Diego public information officer Arian Collins.
Included in the plan is guidance for future transit-oriented development near the existing Morena trolley station and future Mid-Coast trolley stations at Clairemont Drive and Tecolote. Also included in the plan will be improvements to pedestrian and bicycle traffic along Morena Boulevard and overall traffic circulation throughout the area.
“We hope that it creates a unique village feel,” said Morena Business Association (MBA) president Nevin Kleege. “We’re looking at broadening sidewalks, changing traffic patterns, all of which should lead to a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly area while keeping the small-town feel Morena has.”
MBA represents over 450 businesses in the Morena District, which extends from Linda Vista up to Clairemont Drive and down along the Morena Boulevard corridor.
“We do everything from beautification projects to the Taste of Morena, planting trees, working with the police on homeless issues and tagging issues, and help with city government issues as well.”
Kleege said his group has met regularly with the city about the Morena Corridor Specific Plan to offer input on how to make it more business friendly.
“[With the Morena Corridor Specific Plan], we’re looking at increased pedestrian traffic, increased visitors coming to the area that will facilitate increased activities at the businesses,” Kleege said, adding that he hopes the plan will make the Morena District more of a destination than a drive-through.
“It’s becoming a destination,” he said. “Certain pockets are definitely already destinations. Fashion Street with the restaurants, that’s a great little area there. We got the trolley station down in Linda Vista, that’s a great destination area there. But there’s large gaps down Morena Boulevard that could use some help becoming a destination and combining them all to make one large destination that’s very community-friendly, pedestrian-friendly is a goal for everybody.”
With the new Mid-Coast trolley stops already in the works, the Morena plan has already identified areas that would be ideal for mixed-used developments that adhere to San Diego’s Climate Action Plan strategy of putting density housing near public transportation.
Three areas in Linda Vista outlined in the plan include the area adjacent to the future Tecolote Trolley Station (where Jerome’s and Toys R Us are located); areas near the Morena Trolley Station (between Cushman Avenue and Linda Vista Road, just south of the University of San Diego); and properties near the Morena Trolley Station at Linda Vista Road and Napa Street.
Recommendations for traffic improvements in the plan include realigning a few streets to establish a modified grid pattern in Linda Vista, Collins said. This involves extending Morena Boulevard eastward to connect to Linda Vista Road; and squaring off Cushman Avenue, Sherman Street and West Morena Boulevard to create “T” intersections that will offer greater connections. The plan also calls for adding sidewalks and bike lanes along Morena Boulevard and throughout parts of Linda Vista.
The Morena Corridor Specific Plan is expected to be presented to City Council for adoption by the end of 2017, Collins said. Currently, the Planning Department staff is working with the community to determine land use and mobility recommendations and preparing the technical analyses for the required environmental analysis.
“The implementation of the street, bicycle and pedestrian recommendations in the Morena Corridor Specific Plan will be based on available funding and future development,” Collins said. “Individual property owners will have the opportunity to develop projects based on new zoning within Linda Vista after the Morena Corridor Specific Plan’s adoption.”
To view the city’s presentation on the Morena Corridor Specific Plan, visit bit.ly/2iaQtbw.
—Reach Jeff Clemetson at email@example.com.