Thursday, May 3, 2012
A competing proposal to the city of San Diego's plan to remove cars from the center of Balboa Park is scheduled to be unveiled today.
Architect William Lewis' design will be presented at a meeting of the Balboa Park Committee at 6 p.m.
Preservationists object to the city's plan for Plaza de Panama and Plaza de California because it requires the construction of a bypass bridge that they believe will ruin the character of the west entrance to Balboa Park. Many also oppose a parking garage that would be built near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
The primary differences in Lewis' proposal, which supporters call Plan B, are a new perimeter road that would run under the Laurel Street Bridge and an 868-car underground parking structure would be located below the central plazas.
The perimeter roads would lead to the international cottages on the south side and a north rim road that could serve as a new entrance to The Old Globe.
"The roads would become part of the park experience,'' Lewis said.
"They will look like they've been there 100 years."
The roads, however, do not account for the steep terrain in that area of the park, said Gerry Braun, who has been leading the effort to win passage for the city's plan.
Irwin Jacobs, the Qualcomm co-founder, has sunk several million into the planning process for the city proposal, including the development of an environmental impact report.