NEVP: A new gateway between San Diego’s waterfront and downtown
It took 15 years to get here, and the road was bumpy at times along the way, but today construction began on the first phase of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, or “NEVP.” Hundreds attended the groundbreaking ceremony; many had worked for more than a decade to make it happen.
When construction is complete, San Diego Bay will connect with downtown San Diego in an inviting and spectacular way worthy of our dynamic city and of this beautiful waterfront property. It will be a unique and dramatic gateway between the city and the water, and a brilliant testament to what can be accomplished when people with different points of view are brought together to find common ground for the common good.
Here’s where it is: NEVP Phase I encompasses the area on North Harbor Drive, near the Navy Pier, north to the B Street Pier, and east up a portion of West Broadway. It will create a 105-foot wide esplanade, or walkway, and a total of about 12 acres of public space complete with formal gardens, plazas, shady pavilions and public art by renowned artists. It will be a place where people can meander along the waterfront, take a jog, or bike ride or just enjoy the view!
Eventually, it will be popular not just as a pretty place to pass through, but also as a destination in itself that will draw residents and visitors to special events such as art exhibits and concerts and festivals.
The hardscape and utilities will have special features that define it and make it exceptional among the other sidewalks and streets downtown with distinct paving and medians, and rows of decorative palm trees and lighting. It will be such an extraordinary place that it will draw nice new developments adjacent to it, creating more public spaces for people to enjoy downtown.
Projects of this scale and grandeur never happen quickly, and they don’t happen without spirited public discussion and debate. That can definitely be said of this project.
First, there were several agencies involved: The Port of San Diego, the City of San Diego, and the Centre City Development Corporation, together formed a Joint Powers Authority. So it required a lot of cooperation and compromise, and ultimately approvals from all of these agencies, and from the California Coastal Commission. It also rightly required input from members of the public, many who had really strong opinions that didn’t always line up with the original plans put forward.
And that made it really hard at times; but I very much believe that it will be a better project because of the changes we made to address concerns raised by the public. That’s the way it’s supposed to work! I extend a big thank you to everyone who paid attention and offered suggestions and stuck with it for so long.
When I first started serving on the City Council in 2000, our priorities for downtown were completing the ballpark, building the library and renovating the waterfront with the NEVP.
Look at what we can accomplish when our public leaders listen, bring people together, and forge consensus. We created for San Diego something that will benefit the public for decades to come.