As you may have heard, the San Diego Museum of Man joined Mayor Kevin Faulconer, our fellow Balboa Park cultural institutions, and dozens of civic and cultural leaders to applaud the renewed efforts to remove cars from the center of our beloved Balboa Park.
We are incredibly proud of our new alliance. It unifies the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Balboa Park Conservancy, Friends of Balboa Park, and the Balboa Park Trust in their support of the Plaza de Panama Project.
Although it’s called the Plaza de Panama Project, it will also restore pedestrian access to the Plaza de California (in front of the Museum of Man), west El Prado (between the Museum and the Plaza de Panama), and the promenade that leads to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
In other words, everything from the arch at the end of the Cabrillo Bridge all the way to the Organ Pavilion will be completely landscaped, creating 6.2 acres of car-free space for the enjoyment of all park visitors.
Cars will still be able to access the park from the west side via a turn-off at the end of the Cabrillo Bridge that will lead into the Alcazar parking lot.
Also, the Organ Pavilion parking lot will become an underground parking garage with hundreds of additional parking spaces and a two-acre green park area in place of the current asphalt lot.
This project was approved by the City Council in 2012 and is now part of the Balboa Park Master Plan. The finished plan will allow future generations to experience the beauty of our park in spaces that were always meant for people.
For the San Diego Museum of Man, moving forward with this plan is critical to our future. Imagine the gravitational pull of a pedestrian-only California Plaza and the possibility of a wide array of programming for the public. No longer will one of the park’s most beautiful plazas have cars running through it!
They say a picture paints a thousands words, so the Balboa Park Alliance has put together a website that shows what the transformation of Balboa Park will look like.
We are incredibly excited to see the Plaza de Panama Project advance and we look forward to the restoration of San Diego’s crown jewel.
The management, staff, and board of the San Diego Museum of Man