SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The city's Balboa Park Committee will solicit public comment on a plan to ban vehicles from the park's Plaza de Panama during a 9 a.m. meeting Saturday.
The Park and Recreation Board committee will meet at the Balboa Park Club to discuss a privately funded, $33 million project to make the plaza north of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion more pedestrian friendly.
Philanthropist and former Qualcomm chief executive Irwin Jacobs headed the fundraising effort.
The plan calls for traffic to be diverted from the Cabrillo Bridge around the Museum of Man, and for construction of an underground parking garage, with a rooftop garden, behind the organ pavilion.
Bruce Coons, of the Save Our Heritage Organisation, supports the proposed ban on cars, but said the current plan "is extremely destructive and would forever alter the iconic Cabrillo Bridge and the historic landscape, and would hide the most important character-defining features of the front entrance to this National Register district."
Coons said the plan is at odds with the Interior Department's standards for historic properties, because it would alter the entrance. Most preservation organizations are against the proposal, he said.
Plaza de Panama, along with many of Balboa Park's architectural center pieces, was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, but since the 1960s has primarily been used as a parking lot.
Mayor Jerry Sanders said the plaza was designed as a gathering place for park visitors and a hub of cultural activities, but was converted into a few dozen parking spaces.
He hopes to have the project completed in time for the 2015 centennial celebration of the Panama-California Exposition.
Cal Fire is at the scene of a wildfire burning off State Route 94 near Church Road in the Campo Indian Reservation.
A small plane crashed Saturday evening near the El Capitan Reservoir, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department confirmed.
Backers of an initiative that would allow San Diego State University to buy the SDCCU Stadium site in Mission Valley for campus expansion are scheduled to begin seeking petition signatures Saturday.
Friends and relatives of a couple whose bodies were found in Joshua Tree National Park say they believe the two got lost while hiking in the sprawling desert park and struggled in the searing heat with little food or water before they died in a "sympathetic murder-suicide."
Sunshine and higher temperatures are making the return to San Diego County Saturday after intermittent drizzle across the region on Friday.
President Donald Trump is portraying the Islamic State group's ouster from its Syrian stronghold as a milestone in the U.S. fight against terrorism and a step toward a political transition and lasting peace in Syria.
The San Diego Police Department announced Saturday that officers will step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations.
The San Diego Gulls allowed power-play and shorthanded goals in the first period and an empty-net goal in the third in a 4-2 loss to the Stockton Heat Friday night at Stockton.
Authorities asked the public Friday for help in identifying and tracking down a pair of thieves who have carried out a two-week series of bank robberies this month in the San Diego area.