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Smart Growth Awards project nominee

Park to Bay Link creates walkable, transportation-friendly corridor

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The Park to Bay Link II/Smart Corner project is a major improvement to downtown San Diego, in which Park Boulevard between Balboa Park and San Diego Bay was reconstructed into a pedestrian/transportation-friendly corridor.

Smart Corner is a mixed-use development that entails public services such as transportation, offices, underground parking and a residential tower of condominiums, in a location that is walking distance from Balboa Park. John Nolan originally drew up the plan for this project almost 100 years ago. Now that it is finally achieved, the design entails improved access to City College and San Diego High School, promotion of pedestrian activity and business, safety, easy-access transit locations, redevelopment and investment in the East Village.

The City College Station is one of the busiest on the line. The construction of a new City College Station provided City College transit users a much more modern and safer transit experience. The rail lines used to make a 90-degree turn from Park Boulevard onto C Street. Now it cuts through Smart Corner, making a 45-degree angle instead. The new set-up provides an improvement on the trolley's speed, safety, and wear and tear on the rails and trolley wheels.

The project designers incorporated enough room for the SANDAG Bus Rapid Transit stations, along with 16 bus lines to better serve those without vehicles. A broad variety of landscaping includes a double row of trees planted along the sidewalks, which will form a canopy over the walkway when they grow. The sidewalks were widened by 14 feet to make enough room for a landscape bio-swale, which is a natural storm water filtration that slows the velocity of water runoff. At the same time the storm water benefits the soil and the landscape in the swale. There is also room for foot traffic.

The towers at Smart corner demonstrate that residents and tenants can live in close proximity of work, transportation and food locations. They don't need to drive in traffic to get from point A to point B. At Smart Corner, the north tower is a 19-story residential complex and the west tower is a five-story office building.

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