Mission Hills residents upset over Mayor Gloria’s decision to remove over 20 parking spaces

Monday, KUSI’s Dan Plante went back to International Restaurant Row to speak with the business owners after the City of San Diego responded to the controversy.

The city released a statement saying, “we moved to complete this project after the August 2020 crash that killed a cyclist. The interim safety measure happened ahead of the start of a SANDAG project at that location, which will involve additional construction on the slope to create space for both a separated bike facility and added parking.”

The business owners weren’t satisfied with this response, and shared their frustration with KUSI’s Dan Plante live on Good Evening San Diego.

MISSION HILLS (KUSI) – Mission Hills residents are very upset over an order to remove 22 parking spaces at West Washington Street, what is known as International Restaurant Row.

Owners of businesses on “International Restaurant Row” tell KUSI News that the order effectively removed 22 parking spots without any notice. The business owners say parking was already limited in the area, and are “disappointed” that Mayor Gloria would allow this to happen after they have been struggling to make ends meet due to the coronavirus pandemic.

KUSI’s Allie Wagner spoke with a group of the business owners live on Good Morning San Diego to hear their frustrations first hand.

The manager of Shakespeare’s Pub, Nikki McEwan-Beatty, said it already takes staff about 20-minutes to park, but they “can’t afford” to have customers take their business elsewhere because they can’t find a parking spot in the area.

The owner of Regal Beagle, Matt Guilbert, added that the city making less parking available is “not a good thing” when their businesses have been so hurt by the restrictions of the pandemic.

Jennifer Pesquera, the owner of El Indio Mexican restaurant said the removal of these parking spaces is, “detrimental, it’s horrible.” Adding that she, “can’t think of anything that could be worse.”

Aaron and Ian Rabinowitz, owners of Gelato Vero, was concerned for their business and their employees. Aaron said their employees, “can’t afford to park at metered parking for an entire eight hour shift.” Aaron said customers have already complained to them about the terrible parking situation, and the City of San Diego “made a bad situation worse.”

Lastly, Selina Stockley, the owner of Shakespeare Corner Shoppe, is also Chair of the IRR Parking Advisory Committee, but she wasn’t even informed that the parking spots were going to be removed.

Stockley said she “has represented this area for over 8 years now, and so has Mayor Todd Gloria,” explaining that “before he was the mayor, he was representing our district. He knows how important parking is to this area.”

The residents and business owners have reached out to Mayor Gloria for an explanation, but feel ignored as they have yet to hear back.

Live on KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego, Selina Stockley asked for a response saying, “Mayor Todd Gloria, if you are watching this, please reach out to us, we’ve all reached out to you, let us know why you’ve done this to us.”

Stockley added that she has heard Mayor Gloria isn’t worried about their concerns, and that people have told her the Mayor said, “don’t worry about it, they will get their parking back in two years.”

KUSI reached out to the City in response to the residents’ concerns and City of San Diego Senior Public Information Officer Anthony Santacroce said “Last week City crews installed 700 ft. of separated bike lane on Washington Street, which removed parking spaces along that section. We moved to complete this project after the Aug. 2020 crash that killed a cyclist. The interim safety measure happened ahead of the start of a SANDAG project at that location, which will involve additional construction on the slope to create space for both a separated bike facility and added parking.”

KUSI’s Allie Wagner spoke with the nearby business owners live on Good Morning San Diego:

The bikeway project at Washington Street is part of SANDAG’s Uptown Bikeways. More details can be found here:  https://www.keepsandiegomoving.com/RegionalBikeProjects/UptownSegment3-intro.aspx

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News, Politics