North Park – San Diego’s Weak Excuse for a Bike Friendly Place

north park

By John P. Anderson

North Park is an urban neighborhood in San Diego.  It is often cited as the “hipster” area of town and is generally known for being one of the more walkable areas in San Diego.  North Park is home to the only 2 parklets in San Diego, the majority of the bike corrals in the city, and it is not uncommon to see people biking on the streets.

If there is anywhere in San Diego you would expect to find good bicycle infrastructure North Park would be high on the list, perhaps along with East Village, Downtown, Little Italy, or a beach community like Ocean Beach or Pacific Beach.  The reality on the ground is far from good.  The reality is a near absolute lack of any bicycle infrastructure.   [Read more…]

Airbnb Not Typically Allowed in Apartments

John P.

By John P. Anderson

As the Airbnb debate continues in San Diego, I found it interesting to receive a warning letter from my previous apartment manager, Torrey Pines Property Management this week informing tenants that using sites like Airbnb is not allowed in the buildings they manage.

I contacted Torrey Pines and was informed that this is a proactive measure to avoid issues in future, not in response to issues that have occurred. Good for them for taking a proactive, informative approach to the issue.   [Read more…]

San Diego Brewery May Be ‘Selling Out’. Does It Matter?

elysian sucks

By John P. Anderson

San Diego County has a large beer industry, there are currently more than 110 active breweries. Along with high numbers, San Diego has earned a reputation as a leader in the craft beer industry. Many would rank it as the top craft beer city/region in the United States – whether it is the top dog or in the top five isn’t especially important. It’s a leader however you measure – top ranked beers, top ranked breweries, number of breweries, or gallons produced annually.

So InBev and MillerCoors come to town and write a check with a bunch of zeroes, hope someone takes the offer, and then do their best to make sure that as few people as possible know that a big brewery now owns the “little guy”. So does it matter if a brewery is owned by a person in your neighborhood or a large corporation like InBev? For many it does.   [Read more…]

SANDAG Bicycle Corridors – Finished Before They Even Started

Chicago transportation priorities

By John P. Anderson

Two and a half years ago SANDAG announced $200 million for bike projects to create a regional network. The first of these projects is a $40 million project in Uptown. It would create a critical connection both East to West and North to South in the heart of San Diego’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

Since the original announcement SANDAG has repeatedly trumpeted these funds as a sign of commitment to healthy transport in the form of bicycles. During the time since Uptown was selected for the first SANDAG bicycle project what has changed in the area? Population, businesses, traffic, and roadways all remain the same. There remain only two real options for an East to West connection – University and Washington.   [Read more…]

Close Florida Drive Now. Right Now.

balboa canyon

As I recently wrote about, Balboa Park is a city treasure, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It is also home to many high-speed roads which greatly diminish the quality of the park, use large amounts of high-value land, and pose health dangers immediate (being crushed by a car) and long-term (developing asthma and other disease due to very poor air quality in San Diego). It is time to eliminate the most superfluous high-speed road in Balboa Park – Florida Drive.   [Read more…]

How To Save $12,000 a Year in San Diego? Drive Less!

By John P. Anderson

Our family of four is a single-car household. We’ve lived in San Diego since Fall 2009 (5.5 years as of this writing) and have selected our residences in San Diego where we live based on where we work.

We’re currently on our third neighborhood. Having a short commute and a variety of transport options is important to us for reasons of both time and money. Today we use bicycles as our primary method of transport, supplemented by our car, bus, Car2Go, and Uber.

Our current car is a 2002 Ford Focus station wagon which we purchased in March 2012. We bought it with 72,700 miles and today, about three years later it has 88,130. Just 15,430 miles over three years yields an average of 5,143 miles per year.   [Read more…]

Pedestrians As Safety Hazards

By John P. Anderson

In case we need further proof that drivers and cars will continue to receive priority over every other mode of transit in San Diego, the San Diego Police Department has provided more clear evidence of the supremacy of the car, this time at the specific expense of pedestrians.

If there is a single clearly beneficial manner of transit we should be encouraging at every chance it is walking. Following jaywalking stings in recent years, now the police department is going out of its way to portray pedestrians as dangers to the community and themselves and explaining some steps pedestrians should take to further cater to cars and avoid inconveniencing motorists.   [Read more…]

Vacation Rentals In San Diego Under More Scrutiny

Vacation rental property owners targeted for missing tax payments

By John P. Anderson

I have a small cottage that I rent out to visitors via the vacation rental website Airbnb. The cottage is on the same property as my home and I did not think that vacation rental taxes in San Diego applied to my situation.

The taxes in San Diego for vacation rentals are the transient occupancy tax (TOT) and tourism marketing district (TMD) assessment. The rates for a property like mine from these taxes total 11.05% of gross rent – 10.5% TOT and .55% TMD, there is also a higher 1.45% TMD rate that applies to lodging businesses with 30 or more units.   [Read more…]

Fall Brewing Company Joins North Park Beer Scene

The more the merrier or enough already?

By John P. Anderson

Joining the large beer and brewing scene in North Park, Fall Brewing Company opened for customers this week. The brewery is located at 4542 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104 and is currently in ‘soft opening’ mode. The doors are open, but they’re not yet promoting the brewery to the public while kinks are ironed out – setting up the sales software, building up the stable of beers on tap, arranging staffing, etc.   [Read more…]

SDFP Street Beat: 4th & 5th Avenue Bike Lanes – A Win for All

By John P. Anderson

On Tuesday evening, October 20th, the Bankers Hill Community Group gathered for a meeting featuring a presentation by Brian Genovese on the extension of the 4th and 5th Avenue bike lanes in Uptown that were created earlier this year. Mr. Genovese is a Senior Engineer with the Transportation Department of San Diego. He referred to the City’s 4th & 5th Avenue bike plans as an ‘interim bike plan” since it may be replaced or enhanced in a few years by a SANDAG bicycle corridor project in the Uptown area that is currently in the planning stages.

The 4th and 5th Avenue bike lanes are part of the City’s Master Bicycle Plan that was created in late 2013. This plan calls for San Diego to double the size of its bike system. To make timely progress toward this goal, Mr. Genovese noted the city is focusing on ‘immediate action treatments’ – 4th and 5th Avenues fall into this category. These are projects that can be implemented quickly and with a low amount of cost.   [Read more…]

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

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.   [Read more…]

Cyclist Seriously Injured On Pershing Drive

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.   [Read more…]

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

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?   [Read more…]

Inside Story – Notes from the Freep Cave

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

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.   [Read more…]

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

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.   [Read more…]

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

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.   [Read more…]

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

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).   [Read more…]

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

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.
  [Read more…]

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

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.   [Read more…]

SD For Free: Hiking in Tecolote Canyon Natural Park

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.   [Read more…]

Why Do I Write for the San Diego Free Press?

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.   [Read more…]

SD For Free: Free Mulch for Greener Yards and Gardens

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).   [Read more…]

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

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.


  • 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.   [Read more…]

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

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.
  •   [Read more…]

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

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.”   [Read more…]