Mayor Todd Gloria (right) and other officials cut ribbon to open section of 14th Street Greenway project. Image via Twitter

Mayor Todd Gloria Thursday celebrated the completion of the first block of 14th Street Greenway project, a $2.08 million urban greenspace project along 14th Street in East Village.

Once completely put into effect, the 14th Street Greenway will extend 11 blocks from C Street to Commercial Street. It is the first of six interconnected greenways along 14th Street in East Village. The five other greenways will be located along Eighth Avenue, Cedar Street, E Street, Island Avenue and Union Street.

“These welcoming greenways are inviting and safe and create a much-needed walkable space for the downtown community, which is forecasted to double in size in the next two decades,” Gloria said. “Spaces like this encourage residents to get out of their cars, which helps us achieve our climate-action goals. I look forward to creating more projects like this across our city.”

He was joined Thursday by San Diego Association of Governments Chair Catherine S. Blakespear, Civic San Diego Chair Maddy Kilkenny and Downtown San Diego Partnership President and CEO Betsy Brennan.

The city will next construct a second and third block of the greenway to the south between Market Street and Island Avenue and within the East Village Green park to the north. Both blocks are scheduled to start construction later this year. Private developers will construct the two other blocks along 14th Street in the next two years.

“There is no more perfect place to launch the greenway program than in downtown,” said City Council President pro Tem Stephen Whitburn. “With San Diego’s nearly year-round perfect weather and as we move closer toward reaching our climate action goals, I am excited to see more and more projects like this that improve walkability come to life in District 3 and throughout the city.”

This 300-foot-long greenway is a joint project with Civic San Diego, a city-run nonprofit tasked with completing outstanding redevelopment projects.

Civic San Diego led the project’s planning and design work and provided construction oversight of the project, which removed a vehicle travel lane and eight parking spaces on the east side of 14th Street to create the new greenspace in the East Village.

New angled parking spaces will replace parallel parking on several streets in the neighborhood, and a 185-space underground parking garage is planned with the future East Village Green park’s construction directly to the north.

“This block is the first of many blocks which will help create a vibrant and walkable path along 14th Street, and other parts of downtown, connecting existing and future parks within the East Village neighborhood,” said Kilkenny.

The greenway establishes 4,500 square feet of park space and installed improved LED lighting and curb ramps. A new double row of Chinese Elm and Western Redbud trees was planted, along with landscaping featuring a total of 200 plants, creating a safety buffer between pedestrians and vehicle traffic.

Four industrial artifacts were donated by the family of late East Village pioneer Bob Sinclair and were displayed along the greenway along with centrally placed panels showcasing historical images of the neighborhood.

The project is intended to align the goals of the city’s Climate Action Plan and the Downtown San Diego Mobility Plan. The Climate Action Plan calls for eliminating half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the city and aims for all electricity to be from renewable sources by 2035. The Mobility Plan envisions repurposing downtown’s roadways with landscaping and greenery and integrating a safe, multi-modal transportation network within the surrounding communities.

Construction of this first phase of the greenway was funded by a SANDAG Transnet grant and the floor area ratio fees developers pay to increase density on projects and promote civic benefits.

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