Rose garden at Balboa Park. Photo by Chris Stone
Rose garden at Balboa Park. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego tops local cities when it comes comes to parks, but slips down the list as compared to other large cities, according to an annual survey by the Trust for Public Land.

San Diego came in at No. 29 on the ParkScore index, which evaluates the nation’s 100 largest cities based on park acreage, amenities and investment, along with the access and equity for residents. The trust scored each category on a scale of 1-100.

San Diego fared well on acreage, with slightly lower scores on access and investment. Tallies for equity and amenities, however, fell to the lower 40s or less.

Chula Vista, though, ranked 78th, with scores falling in the middle on access, acreage and amenities, but lagging on equity and trailing badly on investment.

Irvine came in at eighth, the best score for a Southern California city, and San Francisco ranked best in the state, landing one place ahead of the Orange County municipality.

Other California cities on the list include Long Beach, Anaheim, Riverside and Los Angeles, which tied with Chula Vista.

According to the report, the national average for the number of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park is 75%, while cities average 10% across the U.S. for how much of their lands are set aside for parks.

“Investing in natural solutions like trails, shade, and green spaces can cool temperatures by up to six degrees and help prevent flooding,” Diane Regas, president and CEO of the Trust for Public Land, said in a statement.

Washington, D.C., topped the list, followed by St. Paul, Minn., Arlington, Va., Cincinnati and Minneapolis.

According to the report’s authors, park spending per resident dipped in most Southern California cities in the past year. The trust called on governments at all levels for more support, and urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to add $800 million for park funding as part of his May budget revision.

“We must address California’s huge park equity gaps and ensure that all Californians have access to quality parks and open space,” Guillermo Rodriguez, state director of Trust for Public Land, said in a statement.

The report noted that across the nation, neighborhoods where the majority of residents identified as people of color have access to an average of 43% less park space than predominantly white neighborhoods. Low-income neighborhoods have 42% park space than high-income areas.

– Staff and wire reports