Gaslamp Promenade poised to transform downtown San Diego

The resdesign will restrict vehicular access from 11-3 a.m.

Gaslamp Quarter sign

A greeting from the Gaslamp Quarter.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

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The Gaslamp Quarter is getting ready for the next chapter in its history. The Gaslamp Quarter Association has outlined its vision for a new promenade that aims to improve pedestrian access and create an environment where businesses can thrive.

The Gaslamp Promenade will stretch along Fifth Avenue from L Street to Broadway, and offer a new look and experience — but preserve the area’s history and charm.

Paving the path

The initiative was first introduced in October 2019 with the goal of increasing the area’s appeal, attracting more businesses, and creating more space for dining and entertainment. To do this, the promenade will be closed to vehicular traffic daily, 11-3 a.m. — except at cross streets. This will impact Broadway to K Street, but Fifth Avenue from L to K streets will always remain open to vehicles unless there’s a special event.

The area will also undergo construction resulting in:

  • The formation of eight distinct plazas along Fifth Avenue — so the area is better suited for pedestrians
  • Repaved streets that preserve historic elements
  • New trees for shade and street lights
  • The removal of curbs, whenever possible
  • New art, sculptures, and street furniture

With this transition, parking spaces will be removed. To address the limited parking available downtown, Fourth Avenue is in the process of creating more spaces by converting from parallel to diagonal parking.

Gaslamp Quarter history

A current look at the sidewalks, art, and streets in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Photo via Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

When are changes coming?

Drivers can expect access to be restricted beginning spring 2023. This week, crews continued construction along Fifth Avenue to install bollards that will block vehicles from entering the spaces. The city is also working with MTS to retain access for bus routes 3 and 120, which run along Fifth Avenue and serve thousands of locals daily.

But, traffic is only one element of the project. The final completion date is still up in the air, but the promenade has been included as a priority in San Diego’s drafted budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year with hopes of finishing it by the end of this time frame.

Gaslamp Promenade unveiling with city leaders

The Gaslamp Quarter is crossing a milestone.

The first reveal

On May 16, 2023, the Gaslamp Promenade project hit a milestone when city leaders and crews unveiled steel bollards with letters spelling “PROMENADE” and new crosswalks. During the ceremony, Mayor Todd Gloria called the transformation of Fifth Avenue a “home run for San Diego.”

These bollards will serve as more permanent replacements for the temporary gates used to restrict vehicle access when the Gaslamp Quarter was designated as a “Slow Street.” They will be installed daily, 12 p.m.-2 a.m., and the Gaslamp Quarter Association will be responsible for removing and storing them.

The new regulations are expected to begin on Saturday, July 1, from Broadway to K Street.

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