John P. Anderson

Thumbnail image for The Rent Is Too Damn High? How About the Cost of Cars?

The Rent Is Too Damn High? How About the Cost of Cars?

by John P. Anderson 03.28.2014 Activism

The average San Diego household that rents pays more for automobiles than housing.

By John P. Anderson

SANDAG recently approved $200 million for bicycle initiatives under the Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program (EAP). This money will be spent across the county for high-priority projects over the next decade. There are 42 projects included in the EAP which will add 77 miles of new bikeways to the region.

$200 million is a lot of money and I was thrilled when the EAP money was approved. I’ve attended many meetings over the past few months and written a number of articles regarding two of the projects in the EAP – the Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Project and the North Park – Mid-City Bike Corridors Project. The approval of this money means that those projects can go forward, hopefully with a focus on University Avenue which is the best opportunity in the county for showing what bicycling infrastructure can do.

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Thumbnail image for Cyclist Seriously Injured On Pershing Drive

Cyclist Seriously Injured On Pershing Drive

by John P. Anderson 02.13.2014 Activism

Broken leg results from collision between car and bicycle

By John P. Anderson

Yesterday afternoon a cyclist was hit on the north-bound Interstate 5 onramp from Pershing Drive, on the south side of Balboa Park near Downtown.  The San Diego Police Commander’s Log offers the following details (inside).

My wife is a regular bicycle commuter from North Park to Downtown and was heading the opposite direction on Pershing Drive at about 4:45 PM yesterday. Riding in the bicycle lane she was nearly hit by a vehicle that attempted to make a right turn around her while she was crossing the intersection.

Continuing up Pershing to the intersection with 28th Street she was nearly hit a second time when crossing the intersection adjacent to a vehicle and a turning vehicle came around the vehicle she was beside. Upon her return home, thankfully safe and sound, she was very agitated and upset. Not only had she nearly been hit, twice, but in the first incident the driver had also angrily pointed, yelled, and given her an angry glare – clearly communicating that the cyclist was the one at fault and to blame for the near collision.

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Thumbnail image for Average Car Costs $9,000 Annually; What Else Could You Buy With That Much Money?

Average Car Costs $9,000 Annually; What Else Could You Buy With That Much Money?

by John P. Anderson 11.17.2013 Culture

By John P. Anderson

In May my family moved to North Park and we promptly had our bicycles stolen from our garage, including the trailer we used to transport our young daughter.  Bummer, big time.  One plus side was the encouraging messages and help I received from many sources in San Diego, including the Free Press.

Although it’s not fun to have a bicycle stolen it’s some comfort that having bicycles has made it possible for us to avoid the costs of owning a second vehicle.  My bicycle cost about $650, which is a pretty nice bicycle, but I could buy 14 bicycles per year for the annual costs of one car.  This got me thinking, what else could I buy for the annual cost of a car?

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Thumbnail image for Inside Story – Notes from the Freep Cave

Inside Story – Notes from the Freep Cave

by John P. Anderson 09.28.2013 Activism

Notes from the September monthly meeting of SDFP editors and contributors.

By John Anderson

In an attempt to increase the transparency of the conversations at the San Diego Free Press and to encourage a wider variety of voices from across the region we are publishing Inside Freep to let current contributors and readers keep up with items on the agenda for discussion and for future articles.  If you have thoughts or comments to add please do so in the comments section.  Better yet, join us for our next contributors meeting or send your own article to contact@sandiegofreepress.org.

The September monthly contributors meeting for the San Diego Free Press took place Wednesday, September 25, 2013, in North Park from 7 to 9 PM in an undisclosed location hereafter known as The Freep Cave.  After exchanging greetings and pleasantries fourteen members of the San Diego community sat down to discuss the special election for the mayor and other topics as detailed below.  The attendees hailed from across San Diego including the neighborhoods of Barrio Logan, City Heights, Hillcrest, La Jolla, Lemon Grove, Normal Heights, North Park, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Point Loma.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego For Free: My Free Tree (& How You Can Get One Too)

San Diego For Free: My Free Tree (& How You Can Get One Too)

by John P. Anderson 09.15.2013 Editor's Picks

City of San Diego property owners are eligible for free tree plantings.

By John P. Anderson

Back in April I wrote about a program ran by the Urban Corps of San Diego that plants free trees in front yards for property owners in San Diego. At the time I was living in an apartment and unable to partake of the green goodness but have since moved into a house – I can vote now! – and one of the first things I did upon moving in was contact the Urban Corps to get as many free trees as possible.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego for Free:  La Playa Beach – Point Loma’s Wonderful Hidden Beach

San Diego for Free: La Playa Beach – Point Loma’s Wonderful Hidden Beach

by John P. Anderson 09.12.2013 Culture

By John P. Anderson

An irregular column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

  1. Address: La Playa beach (McCall Street at San Antonio Avenue, Point Loma) Google Maps link
  2. Best For: Watching boats and swimmers, reading in the sun, building sand castles

As a stay-at-home father I’m constantly looking for outdoor activities to do with my kids. We frequent playgrounds, the San Diego Zoo, beaches, and spend a lot of time walking around North Park.

Recently a friend from Point Loma mentioned that the La Playa beach is a great place for playing in the sand.

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Thumbnail image for University Avenue: The Best Opportunity to Show What Cycling in San Diego Can Be

University Avenue: The Best Opportunity to Show What Cycling in San Diego Can Be

by John P. Anderson 06.24.2013 Activism

North Park – Mid-City Bicycle Meeting - Tues., June 25 6pm

SANDAG seeks community input for selection of route and infrastructure to make East-West bicycle connections

By John P. Anderson

Tuesday evening SANDAG (San Diego Associations of Governments) will host the 3rd Community Advisory Group Meeting to discuss the North Park – Mid-City (NPMC) Bicycle Corridors Project.  Members of the public are invited to attend and voice their opinion on which routes would be best and which type of infrastructure is preferred (sharrows, bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, etc.).  The meeting will be held from 6:00 PM to 8:30pm at 5450 Lea Street, San Diego, CA 92105 (Teen Challenge Center).

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Thumbnail image for SD For Free: North Park’s Summer Concert Series in Bird Park Begins June 15th

SD For Free: North Park’s Summer Concert Series in Bird Park Begins June 15th

by John P. Anderson 06.13.2013 Culture

North Park’s corner of Balboa Park plays host to the 11th annual bi-weekly concert series from June 15 – August 10

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

Address: Bird Park (north-east corner of Balboa Park at intersection of 28th Street and Thorn Street).

Best For: Date night, family outing, summertime hanging, a peaceful evening with a view

Time and Date: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM every other week starting on June 15 and ending August 10

Additional Information: Website

Balboa Park encompasses 1,200 acres in the heart of urban San Diego. The area around El Prado comprised of the San Diego Zoo and most of the museums in the park is typically thought of as the ‘heart’ of Balboa Park.

However, there is much more to the park and the various neighborhoods on the fringe of the park have their own ways of claiming Balboa Park as their own.

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Thumbnail image for NYC Launches Largest Bike-share Program in Nation – Will San Diego Ever Get Rolling?

NYC Launches Largest Bike-share Program in Nation – Will San Diego Ever Get Rolling?

by John P. Anderson 06.07.2013 Business

Start Up Delayed Until March 2014 – No Reason for Delay Given

By John Anderson

New York City launched a bike-share program last Monday, May 27.  The program, dubbed Citi Bike in a nod to corporate sponsor Citibank, had been the subject of much conversation and excitement (both positive and negative) in the months leading up to launch.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the country San Diego awaits the arrival of a bike-share program.  Announced in November 2012, the initial projection called for 1,800 bicycles in 180 stations.

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Thumbnail image for SD For Free: Hiking in Tecolote Canyon Natural Park

SD For Free: Hiking in Tecolote Canyon Natural Park

by John P. Anderson 06.06.2013 Columns

Natural beauty in the heart of the city

By John P. Anderson

Nestled in a coastal canyon just north-east of the intersection of Interstate 5 and Interstate 8 is the Tecolote Canyon Natural Park.  Despite being so near to these heavily trafficked freeways Tecolote Canyon is a peaceful, quiet place and a preserved open space in the heart of the city that presents visitors with a view to the native state of the area.  Work is ongoing to protect this open space from pollution and development and planting native plants to further complete the picture of the native state of the land.  The park was dedicated on April 1, 1978 after being purchased by the City of San Diego.

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Thumbnail image for Why Do I Write for the San Diego Free Press?

Why Do I Write for the San Diego Free Press?

by John P. Anderson 06.05.2013 Culture

By John P. Anderson

Why do I write for the San Diego Free Press?  Simply, because I was asked to.

Today I’m extending that invitation to you.  I’d like you to write for the San Diego Free Press.  You can’t say that no one invited you to the party.

June 4, 2013was the one year anniversary of the Free Press going ‘live’.  I was invited to a meeting of the Free Press in July 2012 and my first article on The New Children’s Museum was posted on August 16 of that year.  Since that time I’ve written many pieces mostly under four categories: free things to do in San Diego, bicycles, environmental issues, and beer.

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Thumbnail image for SD For Free: Free Mulch for Greener Yards and Gardens

SD For Free: Free Mulch for Greener Yards and Gardens

by John P. Anderson 05.30.2013 Culture

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

Address: Miramar Greenery / Landfill – 5180 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111 (Miramar / Kearny Mesa)

Date and Time: Monday – Friday 7 AM to 4 PM, Saturday – Sunday 7 AM to 4:30 PM

Best For: Reducing water usage, increasing plant life, healthier neighborhoods

It’s officially spring on the calendar, although in San Diego the type of weather associated with spring can be found in any month of the year. Spring is known as a time of planting and renewal of life. If you’re adding tomatoes and peppers to your garden or planting shrubs or trees you may find the use of mulch to be a helpful tool to increase your success rate. In San Diego residents can pick up free mulch at the Miramar Greenery (part of the Miramar Landfill).

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Thumbnail image for SD For Free: Coffee Cupping at Cafe Virtuoso and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

SD For Free: Coffee Cupping at Cafe Virtuoso and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

by John P. Anderson 05.23.2013 Culture

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

Address:

  • Cafe Virtuoso – 1616 National Ave, San Diego, CA 92113 (Barrio Logan),

Date and Time: Friday mornings at 8:30 and 10:30, respectively

Best For: Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, and Bashful

San Diego has a number of coffee roasters and you can try their goods at area restaurants, farmers markets, and in the on-site cafes that accompany most of the roasting locations.

Two of my favorite roasters, Cafe Virtuoso in Barrio Logan and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (BRCR) in Bird Rock, also offering complimentary cuppings on Friday mornings for those interested in learning more about coffee and roasting.

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Thumbnail image for Take 20 Minutes (or less) to Reduce Junk Mail by 90%

Take 20 Minutes (or less) to Reduce Junk Mail by 90%

by John P. Anderson 05.22.2013 Environment

By John P. Anderson

Want to reduce the amount of trash and recycling you have each week?  Reducing the amount of junk mail you receive is a good place to start.  Below I’ve compiled a convenient list of the websites and companies you should contact to most effectively reduce the junk mail you received.

Here are a few figures from a post by NYU Law School that highlight the environmental impact of junk mail:

  • 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in U.S. landfills annually
  • The average American household receives 848 pieces of junk mail per household, equal to 1.5 trees every year – more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined.
    • 100 million trees a year is the equivalent of deforesting all of Rocky Mountain National Park every four months.
  • Largely due to deforestation, junk mail manufacturing creates as much greenhouse gas emissions annually as 3.7 million cars.
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Thumbnail image for Bicycle Weekend – A Summary of Great Cycling Activities for this weekend

Bicycle Weekend – A Summary of Great Cycling Activities for this weekend

by John P. Anderson 05.17.2013 Activism

By John P. Anderson

Today, Friday May 17, is Bike to Work Day and there are pit stops all over the county for cyclists to stop, enjoy a bite to eat, meet some fellow riders, and generally start the day on a good foot.  I enjoyed the morning at the 30th Street & Upas Street corner with fresh coffee and pastries and some conversation with neighbors.

If you weren’t able to join the festivities today (or did but want to keep the party going) there are a number of great cycling activities going on this weekend.

Sunday, May 19

Bike Local Sundays - South Park – All Day

The second edition of this program from the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition rolls into action on Sunday in South Park.  The Bike Local Sundays program is held in a different neighborhood every third Sunday of the month and South Park follows the Hillcrest debut in April.  Per the SDCBC:

Bike Local Sundays started with a goal to get more people riding bikes to support business in San Diego. Trends show that more people riding bikes versus driving improves community health, air quality and traffic congestion, as well as boosts business by relieving residents of the costs of owning and operating a vehicle, transferring those savings to the local economy.”

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Thumbnail image for SD For Free: Golden Hill Recreation Center

SD For Free: Golden Hill Recreation Center

by John P. Anderson 05.16.2013 Culture

By John Patrick Anderson

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

Golden Hill Recreation Center

Address: 2600 Golf Course Dr, San Diego, CA 92102

Date and Time: Monday – Friday 2 PM – 9 PM, Saturday – Sunday 10 AM – 3 PM

Best For: Exercise, relaxation, walking, getting outdoors

Increasingly, when you mention the neighborhood of Golden Hill you will get a reaction that indicates the person you are talking to either knows where it is or has a pretty good idea (e.g. “Somewhere south of Balboa Park, right?”) instead of a blank stare. However, even those who know where the neighborhood is likely don’t know where, or what, the Golden Hill Recreation Center (GHRC) is.

Located on the south-east portion of Balboa Park (just east of Golden Hill Park), the GHRC is nestled between 26th Street and the Balboa Park Golf Course, just north of Russ Boulevard.

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Thumbnail image for Pershing Drive Bicycling: Let’s Make It Safe

Pershing Drive Bicycling: Let’s Make It Safe

by John P. Anderson 04.30.2013 Culture

By John P. Anderson

Pershing Drive is one of the best examples in urban San Diego of what well planned and executed bicycle infrastructure can be.  The road has few stops (basically just one, at Florida Drive), goes through an enjoyable area of Balboa Park with many nice views, and has full-width bicycle lanes on both sides of the road.

Additionally, Pershing connects North Park and other neighborhoods like City Heights and Normal Heights with Downtown – an ideal route for those commuting to work Downtown or headed there for entertainment or other purposes.  It is also a great example of how an ideal situation can be squandered.

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Thumbnail image for Hawaii for Cheap: Camping in Paradise

Hawaii for Cheap: Camping in Paradise

by John P. Anderson 04.27.2013 Culture

By John P. Anderson

Hawaii – land of honeymoons, idle thoughts, and sitcom ultimate vacations since the mid-1970s.  Also a land frequently visited by residents of Southern California due to the (relatively) close proximity and frequent flight deals.  I have been fortunate to visit Hawaii twice – my first trip, to Oahu, followed my junior year of high school and included my first flight, first time seeing an ocean, and many other firsts.  The second visit was a ‘babymoon’ in November of 2010, visiting Hawai’i, also known as ‘The Big Island’ since the state is commonly known by the same name as the largest island in the archipelago.

Following my typical travel planning routine we arrived in Hawai’i with no plans or reservations (other than a rental car).  Fortunately we discovered that the county of Hawai’i (which covers the entirety of the island) runs a spectacular set of nine beach parks located all around the island.  Camping is available at all the locations, although the associated amenities vary greatly at each park.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Favorite Bicycle Rides #1 – Ocean Beach to National City

San Diego’s Favorite Bicycle Rides #1 – Ocean Beach to National City

by John P. Anderson 04.26.2013 Columns

By John P. Anderson

A few weeks ago I wrote up one of my favorite bicycle routes, from North Park to Ocean Beach.  I got some good feedback and suggestions in response and decided to continue this idea.  However, I’m still a relatively new to cycling in San Diego and there are many areas of the city and county that I haven’t ridden.

To address my lack of personal knowledge I’ll be reaching out to cyclists across the county to profile some of their favorite rides and hopefully connect readers with some new places and routes to check out and enjoy.  I hope this series will be on a monthly basis, but we’ll see where things go.

The inaugural installment of this series features a ride from Jamie Ortiz.  Jamie recently won the 2013 Commuter of the Year Diamond Award from SANDAG for her earth-friendly cycling habit.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego For Free: Brews & Views at Alcohol-Friendly Public Spaces in San Diego

San Diego For Free: Brews & Views at Alcohol-Friendly Public Spaces in San Diego

by John P. Anderson 04.25.2013 Culture

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.
By John P Anderson

Address: Many locations across the city

Date and Time: Varies but generally either 8 AM – 8 PM or 12 PM – 8 PM

Best For: Beer drinkers, coping son-in-laws, well-behaved college students, responsible citizens and visitors of all stripes

San Diego is known for many things. Some prominent ones are sun, surf, an ideal climate, and beer. (If you enjoy reading about beer, read this article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that is the best list of top U.S. beer cities I’ve read.)

Once upon a time you could enjoy all of these things together but today we inhabit a safer, tamer, lamer, more responsible world and despite the love many San Diegans have for our local (and non-local) breweries it is not advised to consume their offerings whilst lounging on the golden sand of the Pacific. A ban on beach drinking was passed in San Diego a few years ago.

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Thumbnail image for Parts of Barrio Logan Have No Sidewalks – Does Anyone Care?

Parts of Barrio Logan Have No Sidewalks – Does Anyone Care?

by John P. Anderson 04.24.2013 Editor's Picks

Voice of San Diego doesn’t want to make judgment calls on that issue

By John Anderson

Voice of San Diego (VOSD) has been operating a Tumblr site featuring the damaged state of sidewalks across San Diego coined The Stumblr.  San Diegans are encouraged to send in photos from their neighborhood and the images are added to the site.  It’s a great idea to bring a public issue to light and has even received some love nationally including a nod from The Atlantic.

In preparation for our SDFP focus on Barrio Logan, fellow writer Brent Beltran noted the poor (read: non-existent) status of sidewalks in parts of the neighborhood, specifically along Harbor Drive.  Brent has a young son and mentioned he, and other Barrio residents, would like to be able to walk up to Seaport Village, the bayfront, Convention Center, and other destinations in the south-western part of Downtown.  No surprise – that area of Downtown is popular with locals and visitors alike and is a great place for a stroll, picnic, or throwing a frisbee.

I was already familiar with the area, but am usually on my bicycle and not paying particular attention to sidewalks.  I went out to specifically check out the area and take some photos.  There are large distances with nary a bit of cement sidewalk.

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Thumbnail image for SD For Free: Chicano Park Day – Saturday, April 20

SD For Free: Chicano Park Day – Saturday, April 20

by John P. Anderson 04.19.2013 Columns

By John P. Anderson

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free!  We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

  1. Address: Map for directions here (intersection of Dewey Street and National Avenue in Barrio Logan, 92113)
  2. Date and Time: Saturday, April 20 from 10 AM – 5 PM
  3. Best For: Good food, good fun, families, historians, artists
  4. Website: chicano-park.org/

This year Barrio Logan and Chicano Park have a lot of reasons to celebrate.  This Saturday, April 20th, at the annual Chicano Park Day from 10 AM – 5 PM presents an opportunity to do so.  Local residents and visitors will gather to celebrate the history and art of the park, as well as to enjoy time with friends and family.  Live dance and music performances will be on display and food and crafts will be available for sale as well.

This year’s Chicano Park Day will be the first since the park was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 23, 2013.  The 7.4 acre park was created in 1970 after local residents protested against a planned California Highway Patrol substation that was to be built on the site.

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Thumbnail image for SD For Free: A Tree! For Free! Whee!  Yippee! For Who? For You! And Who? You Too!

SD For Free: A Tree! For Free! Whee! Yippee! For Who? For You! And Who? You Too!

by John P. Anderson 04.12.2013 Columns

By John P. Anderson

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free!  We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

  1. Address: Your house
  2. Date and Time: Soon – if you send in your application. Don’t delay, apply today!
  3. Best For: Tree huggers, tree lovers, bird lovers, people lovers (Basically anyone that doesn’t own a parking lot)
  4. Website: http://www.urbancorpssd.org/FreeTree.pdf

Like trees? Love trees? Indifferent to trees but your spouse or children like them?  Have I got news for you! If you live in the City of San Diego and own property, you can have a tree planted in your yard for free.  Yes, 100% free.  The tree itself, the digging, calling the utilities, putting it in the ground, everything.  All you have to do is agree to provide a bit of water each year and try to keep it living and healthy.  The cost per year for the watering is estimated at $3.  $3 a year for a beautiful, living addition to your yard and street.

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Thumbnail image for What’s an EcoDistrict Anyway? North Park prepares to become first in San Diego

What’s an EcoDistrict Anyway? North Park prepares to become first in San Diego

by John P. Anderson 04.10.2013 Activism

North Park in the first stages of becoming the first sustainable-focused neighborhood in San Diego following the U.S. lead of Portland, OR.  Tonight (Wednesday, April 10th) there will be an informational meeting for community members to learn about the project.  The meeting will be at Sea Rocket Bistro (3382 30th Street, 92104) from 5:30 – 7:30 PM and $3 drafts and $2 street tacos will be available.

I recently talked with Paulina Lis, who is heading up the North Park EcoDistrict project along with colleague Jennifer Owens, to learn more about the project.  (The North Park EcoDistrict is currently in ‘start-up’ mode and the official website, northparkecodistrict.com, is under construction. In the interim the best source for information on the EcoDistrict is the Facebook page.)  Paulina directed me to the Portland Sustainability Institute (PSI) as a primary source for information on what an EcoDistrict is and what Portland has been doing.

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Thumbnail image for ‘State of Cycling in San Diego County’ – A Snapshot of the Region and Plans for the Future

‘State of Cycling in San Diego County’ – A Snapshot of the Region and Plans for the Future

by John P. Anderson 04.10.2013 Encore

by John Anderson

Last Saturday, April 6, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) hosted a ‘State of Cycling in San Diego County’ event in the Balboa Room of the historic Lafayette Hotel on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park.

This event was held to mark the one-year anniversary of the 5-Year Strategic Plan the group adopted in 2012 and discuss progress and goals for the coming years. Every seat in the room was taken, plus some standing in the doorways. I counted approximately 60 people. A bicycle valet service was provided outside the hotel for attendees – a service the SDCBC also offered at the Padres home opener on Tuesday, April 8.

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