The Hillcrest Town Council, a small group of Hillcrest residents, voted 22-1 on Tuesday evening to endorse a pro-sprawl, pro-car, and less sustainable land use plan for Hillcrest.
At issue was the draft Uptown Community land use and density plan presented by San Diego Development Services. The HTC – a small band of monthly regulars – voted nearly unanimously for a motion that recommends lowering density in Hillcrest. The motion also called for lower building heights, although land use plans do not address building heights in any way. Density and building height are not necessarily interdependent.
Studies have shown that lower density development is less sustainable since it creates dependance on car travel, less walkable neighborhoods, more traffic congestion, and greater parking problems. Coincidentally, the need for increased parking was voiced at the meeting, along with concerns about traffic congestion. Absent was a discussion on induced traffic created by additional parking and car dependency/traffic created from low density development.
Such conservative stances on land use, more often expressed by Tea Party members and anti-Agenda 21 groups, is atypical of the progressive, mostly liberal leaning Hillcrest.
On a higher note, SANDAG presented a bicycle plan that calls for one bicycle lane traveling east and west through Hillcrest, and one lane traveling north and south. Even though the limited Hillcrest lanes may not traverse through areas where people want to be, SANDAG was confident that bicycle ridership would increase once the lanes were installed in 2014. Two years are required to design bicycle lanes.
Walter Chambers – GSSD