SAN DIEGO — The debate on Diamond Street is heating up in Pacific Beach over a new traffic calming measure. The City of San Diego plans to install a row of bollards at two major intersections to reduce the number of cars using the road as an east-west thoroughfare.
“Diamond’s being singled out; we have no idea why,” said Jessica Moore, who lives one street over. “The residents have not been asked. We do not need it. We do not want it.”
Some neighbors are pushing back on the idea, while others are embracing it.
“This is a good attempt to see what we can do about slowing things down a bit,” said PB resident Chris Olson.
During the pandemic, the City turned Diamond into a “slow street,” closing it down for through traffic and making more safe space for walking, biking, and other ways of getting around. The street was opened again to cars this past January, but soon, the City will install the next phase of the slow street with vehicle-diverting bollards that will force a right-hand turn at the cross streets of Cass Street and Fanuel Street. The bollards will, however, provide enough clearance for alternative forms of mobility, such as bicycles, skateboards, and pedestrians.
“They would only be able to turn right; they would not be able to turn left on Fanuel, so emergency vehicles would have to go around the block and not be able to access life-threatening emergencies,” said Moore.
While some people living on Diamond are upset over this new development, others along the street look forward to it.
“I wouldn’t be inconvenienced by it,” said Michelle Sexton, who lives between Diamond and Fanuel. “I think that if it improves any safety, I mean, just having them there is going to get people’s attention, I would think, and so people might go slower, at least initially.”
When the new bollards are installed this summer, drivers will be diverted to other adjacent side streets, like Missouri and Emerald, another issue for people living there.
“I don’t want to have more traffic on my street when we’re doing stuff with our kids,” said Alex Rojas, who lives on Missouri Street. “It’s great Diamond Street’s gotten less traffic, but it’s not cool to put it over to our street.”
CBS 8 contacted the City’s Transportation Department about concerns over emergency vehicle access, and they said they’ve coordinated with the City’s Fire Department on this project. Regarding the rules on community input for projects like this one, a City spokesperson said staff could install traffic calming devices at their discretion.
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