City Council removes parking requirement for developers
San Diego City Council has voted to scrap parking requirements for developers building residential housing within areas that have been marked as “Transit Priority Areas” (TPAs) with the aim of reducing development cost and encouraging public transportation use. Introduced two years ago by then-Councilmember David Alvarez and Councilmember Scott Sherman, the measure is part of larger 20-point plan targeting San Diego’s ongoing housing crisis.
Requirements for multifamily residential developments within TPAs have been reduced to zero and developers are now required to provide a level of transportation access relative to the area’s transportation amenity score.
“While it took way too long to get this ordinance approved, I praise my colleagues for finally getting it across the finish line,” Councilmember Sherman said. “This is good news, but our work to fix San Diego’s housing crisis is nowhere near complete. We must continue pushing innovative strategies to improve housing affordability and we can’t wait two years for approval.”
For years, San Diego has seen its mounting housing shortage drive house and rent prices high. Many middle- and working-class families are forced to budget upwards of 50 percent or more on housing or leave the region altogether, according to a press release. With these changes, the City Council hopes to spur developers into proposing new projects in a time where the state government is cracking down on cities for their lack of affordable housing.
Ridership climbs on MTS for first seven months of FY19
Ridership on the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) bus and trolley network has climbed by more than 200,000 trips in the first seven months of fiscal year 2019, which began on July 1, 2018. The gains have been led by the trolley, which has posted six straight months of year-over-year gains.
“This is great news for the goals of the region’s various climate action plans and for riders. This shows there is a real mandate to invest in improving transit,” said Georgette Gómez, MTS chair and Council President of the city of San Diego in a press release.
Public transit ridership has dropped in most systems in the United States over the past several years. MTS was one of the last systems to experience a drop and it may, if trends continue, be one of the first to reverse the trend.
For the first seven months of FY19, trolley ridership is up 1 percent from 21,810,915 trips to 22,037,351 trips. Bus ridership is virtually unchanged, dropping just 23,247 trips to 27,941,344 trips for the fiscal year to date.
“These numbers are highly encouraging,” said Paul Jablonski, MTS chief executive officer. “In January of last year, MTS began implementing many route changes that increased frequency on our high-demand routes. We completed making changes in January of this year and we’ve already begun to see the results.”
Mesa College celebrates new, remodeled buildings
On Feb. 28, Mesa College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new $32.4 million, 57,800-square-foot Center for Business & Technology (BT). College officials describe the new facility as “a building unlike any other building at Mesa College, intentionally designed to feel like a business complex seamlessly transformed into classrooms.”
The new facility houses business, computer information science, digital technology, fashion, hospitality, and web development classes that had previously been dispersed throughout the campus. The building design features a case-study room, a large video wall, multiple Visix screens; the entry to the building will also include a large video display wall.
In addition to the new BT building, Mesa also celebrated the opening of its remodeled Fine Arts Building on March 13. The four-story, 26,500-square-foot Fine Arts Building was also funded through the Propositions S and N bond program. The new building was constructed within an existing building on campus, the former I-300 Building.
The first floor serves as the main entrance and public face of the fine arts department and houses the Mesa College Art Gallery and an art history lecture classroom. The second and third floors include large, open studio classrooms for drawing, digital graphics, and sculpture. The fourth floor houses the ceramics and painting studios. Shop spaces will be adjacent to corresponding studios and classrooms to allow for ease of access, and to support the shared used of art equipment, material, and supply resources.
Burn Institute offers free smoke detectors
National safety statistics show that adults age 65 and older are two times more likely to die in a home fire than any other segment of the population; for those over age 75, that risk nearly quadruples. Despite these alarming statistics, thousands of seniors throughout San Diego and Imperial counties are currently living in homes without a working smoke alarm.
One of the best ways seniors can improve their chances of escaping a residential fire is by making sure their home is equipped with an operating smoke alarm. The Burn Institute is working towards ensuring that every senior’s home has just that. Their Senior Smoke Alarm Program provides seniors with free smoke alarms and instillations. Screened and trained community partners and volunteers assist the Burn Institute year-round in installing the free alarms.
To qualify for this lifesaving program, you must be 62 years or older and own your own home. To sign up for this program or see if you are eligible, call the Burn Institute at 858-541-2277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smoke alarms save lives. Having a working smoke alarm in your home reduces your chances of perishing in a house fire by 50 percent. Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every floor of your home. “In a fire, seconds count,” said Susan Day, Burn Institute executive director in a press release. “Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving seniors enough time to get out.”
Another invaluable fire safety tool each household should have is a fire escape plan. It can take less than two minutes for toxic fumes to overcome a child or an adult and knowing the most direct route out of your home can help save your life. To create your escape plan, identify two ways out of every room in your home and know the most direct route to outside. Set a designated meeting place that is a safe distance from your residence and is stationary, such as the light-pole or mailbox. Once you get out of the house, stay out! After you have created your escape plan, it should be practiced with all members of your family at least once a year. The Burn Institute offers free fire escape planning guidelines and grids at burninstitute.org.
Women of Influence Awards
“Catalyst for Change.” “Gamechanger.” “Author of Influence.” “Woman Breaking Barriers.” These are a few of the 11 awards to be handed out at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley Hotel on Wednesday, March 20, at noon, as the San Diego chapter of Connected Women of Influence (CWI) presents its annual Women of Influence Awards before an anticipated crowd of 400 businesswomen and guests.
The awards, presented in conjunction with Women’s History Month, recognize women who lead the way in business, industry and enterprise, along with organizations and individuals who champion women leaders. The Catalyst for Change Award — a bit of a breakout award — recognizes a man who has demonstrated his commitment to the advancement of women by mentoring or supporting women in the workplace.
“We inaugurated the Women of Influence Awards in 2015, and I am always blown away by the excitement, energy and enthusiasm generated at the event,” said Michelle Bergquist, co-founder and CEO of CWI in a press release. “All of our nominees are amazing women — and men — who deserve to be recognized for their impressive accomplishments. They are truly women and men of influence.”
In addition to the awards mentioned above, winning categories include the Champion of Women, Woman to Watch, Women’s Advocate of the Year, President’s Award, Emerging Women-Owned Business, Veteran of Influence, and the Connected Women of Influence Award.
The ceremony will be held at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley Hotel with registration beginning at 11 a.m. and the luncheon and program noon to 2 p.m. Four yet-to-be-named finalists take the stage for each award, reviewed and selected by a panel of judges.
The event is open to CWI members and guests. Tickets are $129 purchased in advance or $159 at the door. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For information or reservations, go to bit.ly/2Uzy9Yr.