Petition calls for fewer parking lot projects in downtown SD: Man says area's character at stake

SAN DIEGO - As two long-standing downtown San Diego buildings are demolished, one local man has launched an unusual petition drive and he says the character of downtown is on the line.

If you are near Seventh Avenue and F Street, you can see and hear two long-standing buildings – some 90 years old – being demolished.

The character of one building, which once housed the International Male store, was told in its intricate brickwork.

The owners successfully appealed to the city to overturn its historic designation and the site will soon turn into a parking lot.

"When you do this, you break up the fabric of downtown," said longtime San Diego resident Bill Adams.

He said the vibrant, walkable downtown he loves has been put in park.

"If you walk around downtown, we've lost so many buildings to surface parking," Adams said.

He pointed out another one – a vacant lot on Broadway – that used to be home to a building loaded with history.

"You make the downtown into in essence a suburban shopping center with lots of surface lots," said Adams.

Adams has launched an online petition drive at Change.org, calling on the city to put the brakes on parking lot projects.

"I'd like it to be a wake-up call to the city," said Adams. "Enough!"

City redevelopment officials told 10News the slow economy has led to less development and more parking lots, but calls them temporary projects that can be developed at any time. Officials said parking lots are being developed every year.

Then, there is this reality. With much of the region's projected population growth in the next few decades centered around downtown, the demand for parking spots will grow.

Adams and redevelopment officials agree that public transit and enclosed parking are the better options.

But for now, projects like the one at F and Seventh pave the way for parking lots.                      

If you'd like to see the online petition, click here.

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