Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons


Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines. - David Letterman

When I lived in San Jose, it took me 20 minutes to drive a mere 4 miles to work. Talk about a tough way to start the day!

Now, I walk from the bedroom to the office; a grand total of 22 steps.

Almost everywhere I go, I arrive by walking. Once a week, I start my car and drive to Midtown Church for Spiritual Living and Whole Foods Market in Hillcrest. I’m not like the little old lady who drives only on Sunday, more like the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.

Since I learned to navigate our streets long before Downtown was discovered, I’ve been accustomed to having no wait time. I’m an expert at selecting a path that takes me to intersections where I can choose the “walk” option, whether I’m supposed to or not. When I need to drive, I employ the same strategy, choosing paths with options to keep moving if the light turns red.

All that has become ancient history in a matter of months.

Am I the only one frustrated by drivers slowly maneuvering down our streets, forgetting to look ahead while they take in the sights all around? Or pedestrians “playing chicken,” daring oncoming cars to hit them as they walk against the light? What about the drivers who all of a sudden stop paralyzed in the middle of the street, not knowing which way to turn? And, the most frightening of all, drivers who use traffic signals as a rough guideline?

I wonder…Will the drivers driving on our streets drive us to be uncivil?

Marv Spira(Renaissance) believes, relative to the Big Apple, we don’t have traffic problems in our Downtown community. He feels the city does a good job of making changes to potential traffic pattern nightmares.

Thea Quigley (Beaumont) finds the fencing around construction sites creates a more dangerous situation, blocking views of oncoming cars.

A short 3-minute walk takes Carol Iseman (Renaissance) from home to office. She feels there needs to be more crosswalk striping on streets, particularly at the intersection of 3rd and Market. Crossing there is “taking your life in your hands.”

Another commuter on foot, LeAnna Zevely (Treo) walks the 10 blocks to work each day. When she does drive, she doesn’t find the traffic out of control in most areas of Downtown.

While waiting for her new home (M2i) to be built, Dee Thompson moved into Entrada. She made a choice to live in the Ballpark District and plans around game days to avoid the extra traffic.

From talking to Downtowners, even though our neighborhoods have more traffic, it’s not affecting our quality of life. However, as even more people move into our neighborhoods and more visitors discover our slice of paradise, our frustrations will mount. It’s time to seriously discuss a free-ride zone in our community. - August 2004

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