Creating excellent mobility choices and
vibrant, healthy neighborhoods

Circulate San Diego is a regional grassroots organization formed through the merger of Move San Diego and WalkSanDiego, San Diego County's leading organizations dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to live, work, learn, and play. Our work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and land uses that promote sustainable growth.

What's New at Circulate

Letter: Support for Governor Brown’s Housing Legislation in the 2016-17 May Revision

Circulate San Diego strongly supports the housing legislation proposed and supported in Governor Brown’s 2016-17 May Revision.

In addition to the Governor’s proposed trailer bill, we also support SB 1069, AB 2299, and AB 2501.

We recommend, however, that the trailer bill be amended to ensure that it more clearly helps implement State Density Bonus Law.  Details are in our letter, available here [PDF].

Circulator- May 20th

Shifting Gears in Transportation - San Diego's Conversation on SB 743 Continues


Last week Circulate San Diego co-hosted a workshop on the implementation of SB 743 with Caltrans, the City of San Diego, and local chapters of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, American Planning Association, Women in Transportation, and the Association of Environmental Professionals.

Traffic engineers, planners, CEQA professionals, and complete streets advocates came together last week to usher in a new era for transportation in the San Diego region. Under the rubric of Senate Bill 743, the conversation focused on upcoming changes to transportation analyses, planning and implementation imposed by the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage smart growth development.

Learn more about the workshop by reading the entire blog post here.


Read more

A Cheaper, More User Friendly Process Would Encourage More Parklets in San Diego

Voice of San Diego recently reported a shortfall of parklets constructed in San Diego, only two in the last three years. They compared San Diego to San Francisco, where parklets originated, and where 60 parklets have been constructed.

The difference is all in the approach.

At Circulate we have been studying creative placemaking in cities across the U.S. and have found that a user friendly process is key to success. San Francisco for example, created a Parklet Manual to outline the permit process and encourage more applications, especially from neighborhood folks who have not typically gone through a permit process before. Cities like Los Angeles and Seattle have followed the example.capture_parklet_manual_san_fran.jpg

San Francisco’s Parklet Manual is 76 pages long. The first page outlines program goals:

- Re-imagine the potential of city streets
- Encourage non-motorized transportation
- Encourage pedestrian safety and activity
- Foster neighborhood interaction
- Support local businesses

Next, a diagram (see below) illustrates the step by step process including the city’s responsibilities, expectations of the applicant, and a general time frame that can be expected. This step by step process is then further explained and illustrated through diagrams in the next 60+ pages. The guide is filled with colorful, demonstrative photos.


In comparison, San Diego’s Pedestrian Plaza Information Bulletin is four pages long with one diagram on the last page. It does outline the types of permits needed to build a parklet, but for individuals not familiar with the City’s permitting process, it can be quite intimidating. And, it is not quite a one-stop-shop. At least two types of permits are required for a parklet, and there are other differences, too. We dug a little to compare the two cities’ processes for getting a parklet permit.

San Diego:
• Managing Department: Development Services Department
• Permit Type: Neighborhood Development Permit or Site Development Permit + Public Right of Way Permit + Maintenance Agreement
• Permit Cost: Minimum $2,000.00 
• Public Hearing Requirement: Required with permit
• Insurance Requirement: $1,000,000 general liability coverage minimum

San Francisco
• Managing Department: Partnership among Planning Department, Municipal Transportation Agency, and Public Works Department
• Permit Type: Specialized Parklet Permit
• Permit Cost: Minimum $258.00
• Public Hearing Requirement: Required only if an objection is filed during public notification period
• Insurance Requirement: $1,000,000 general liability coverage minimum

All this being said, the City of San Diego can actively reexamine its parklet policy. As other cities have advanced and improved the process, San Diego can look to evolve and learn from these other examples.

If San Diego wants to see more parklets or “Pedestrian Plazas”, it can follow the lead of San Francisco by lowering the initial permit cost, creating a user-friendly guide meant for applicants new to Development Services, and creating a one-stop shop for this type of creative placemaking. This means taking a detour from the types of dry informational bulletins historically produced by the City and creating an application process with community members (non-developers) in mind.

Communities across San Diego want more of these creative placemaking projects – things like park benches, intersection murals, neighborhood game areas, and gathering spaces. We have been talking to organizations involved in these in recent months and will soon release case studies on the challenges and opportunities involved with permitting for these projects. Stay tuned. 


get updates