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As part of our Move Free SD project, funded partly by SANDAG and the City of San Diego, Circulate SD hosted a Comic-Con walk audit. We invited downtown residents and workers to observe and think critically about how the built environment functions at peak use.

Every year Comic-Con brings over a 100,000 tourists and locals together in one small place. We asked our walk audit participants to consider some of these questions: How well does a City function during peak use? Are people using the infrastructure the way it was designed to be used? Are our streets conducive for walking? Are people driving or do they take public transit? Which areas are busier than others, and why? Are event interventions working?

Here are a few key findings and opportunities observed along our route:

  1. Temporary Public Space: The vehicle road closures in the Gaslamp Quarter were beneficial for pedestrian navigation to and from the Convention Center, however, we noticed a need for seating in these areas. We observed people standing in the street for extended periods and sitting along the curb. The only seating observed in many places were in restaurants and bars. We suggest some placemaking/temporary public space interventions along street corridors that are closed to vehicles for people to rest and interact with one another.
  2. Trained Crossing Guards: We observed conflict areas along the Martin Luther King Promenade and Harbor Drive area. There was a visible need for crossing guards to be stationed at every crosswalk along the Martin Luther King Promenade. It was also recommended that trained crossing guards lead pedestrian crossing at the intersections with vehicles and the trolley.
  3. Navigation and Orientation Improvements: At each stop along our walk audit route the group discussed access to transit and the convention center from each specific vantage point. Our observations discovered the event would benefit from temporary wayfinding signage with navigation and distance information to the convention center, transit, ferry, etc.
  4. Extend road closures: Our observers suggested future road closures reach to Island Avenue because dense pedestrian use extended to this area.

We hope that this information will help promote future safe, accessible, and engaging Comic-Cons in San Diego!

Thank you to all our participants for participating in this program.

For any questions about our findings, please email Angelica Rocha at [email protected].