Helped Reduce School Overcrowding, Jump-started Canyon Crest Academy: As enrollment at Torrey Pines High School climbed past 3000 students, we heard complaints from parents about overcrowding. At the same time, Scott heard from the school administration that the City was not being helpful with the construction of Carmel Valley’s planned second high school. Scott convened the city building department and engineers to make it clear that this was a priority for him and the community. They responded. We got the plumbing, electrical and sewer built so that the school could open on time, and today Canyon Crest is a stunning success.
Brought Traffic Relief by Completing Highway 56: Thousands of homes in and east of Scott’s district were constructed on the assumption that this critical east-west freeway would be constructed; but in 2000, 15 years after its planned completion, it was still unfinished. Scott committed himself to see this highway’s completion. Working with our regional transportation partners, our local developers and our communities, Scott helped to finish the highway in 2004 and made it possible for thousands of families and employees to move east and west in this congested area.
Built Trails and Trail Connections throughout the City: San Diego’s climate makes this a natural place for bicycling, hiking and horseback riding, and improving trails has been a priority for Scott. He made sure that every new development in his district contained trails and trail connections. Since he left the City, Scott has continued to be active in adoption and implementation of SANDAG’s Bicycle Master Plan, and has represented the Port on and served as co-chair of the Bayshore Bikeway Work Group, which is building a 26-mile dedicated bikeway around the perimeter of San Diego Bay.
Created the Super Loop: San Diego has spent over a billion dollars developing the trolley system, which is focused on downtown. But our major job center is now to the north, including North University City, where there was absolutely no transit. Working with the transportation staff and the community, he worked to create the “Super Loop“, a circulator that now moves people throughout North UC at frequent intervals, with upgraded stations and traffic priority. The Super Loop has been a tremendous success in the community, and strong demand has led to expansion of the program.
Passed the Transnet Extension: Few issues are more vexing to San Diegans than traffic, yet the 1/2¢ sales tax that funded so many of our road and transit improvements was set to expire in 2008. Scott knew that if we lost that income, San Diegans would notice reduced service. He also knew that we had to present a plan San Diegans would embrace if we were to get them to vote to extend the tax. Scott was deeply involved in creating the package of improvements put before the voters in 2004, and raised more money for the campaign than any other elected official. The passage of Transnet II, with only 3000 votes to spare countywide, made $14 billion available to the region for investments in roads and mass transit.
Banned Smoking in our Parks and on our Beaches: San Diego is defined by our parks and beaches, and they were consistently littered with cigarette butts. Scott worked with a broad range of community members, including the Lung Association, Surfrider Foundation, and the Prevention Coalition, to convince the City Council that it was time to ban the butts. Today, our parks and beaches are cleaner and smoke free.
Banned Drinking Alcohol at the Beach: San Diego was one of the few coastal cities that still allowed alcohol on its beaches, and partiers knew it. Beaches were overrun by drunken partiers, and were no longer appropriate places for families. After a riot broke out in Mission Beach, Scott took action. He imposed a one–year ban on alcohol consumption at our beaches, and then campaigned for a city-wide ballot measure to extend the ban permanently. Residents and visitors and even former ban opponents recognize that the experience of going to the beach has been greatly improved.
Restarted Utility Line Undergrounding: In the 1990s, the City abandoned its plan to force SDG&E and other utilities to underground the unsightly overhead power lines that drape our older neighborhoods. In 2003, the City Council resurrected the plan, working with the local utilities and the state Public Utilities Commission, so that over time, the “graffiti of the sky” would be buried once and for all.
Built the Peñasquitos Skate Park: For six years, the community had fought over whether to site a skate facility in Hilltop Park, a beautiful community park in the middle of a residential area, where the lights and noise from teens could be disruptive. Scott located surplus property owned by Caltrans near a shopping mall and convinced Caltrans to give it to the city so it could serve our community teens. The community itself designed the skate park, the City Council approved it, and today, Rancho Peñasquitos has preserved the pastoral nature of Hilltop Park and created a separate and exciting place for its teens to skate safely.
Turned Sorrento Valley Road into a Park: In 2000, a segment of Sorrento Valley Road had been closed because it was unsafe and had to be reconfigured; reopening this road was an urgent priority for the high tech businesses in the area. However, when a group of environmentalists showed Scott what a treasure the road was without cars, adjacent to sensitive and rare lagoon habitat, he agreed that the road should remain closed to automobile traffic, and got the City Council to agree with him. Today, the expansion of Highway 5 to more than 20 lanes and the opening of the new Carmel Mountain Road exit provides more than enough room for cars, while bicyclists, joggers and rare birds continue to enjoy that special space where cars can’t go. Watch Video
Completed 24 New Parks or Major Park Improvements: Despite San Diego’s tight budget, Scott was able to complete numerous park improvements to serve the neighborhoods of City Council District 1, including new tot lots, dog parks, field turfing, rest rooms, and 12 entirely new parks.
Opened the Nobel Park and Library: In 2007, the city opened a gorgeous new library on a plateau above a 30-acre park. The facility was funded entirely by developer fees collected to ensure that infrastructure was built as communities grew. Today, the library is a treasured resource for this community of 60,000, and the park gives hundreds of baseball, soccer and lacrosse players in this urban area a wide-open space to play.
Completed the Carmel Valley Road Enhancement Project: While it is in one of the most beautiful settings, adjacent to the Peñasquitos Lagoon, Carmel Valley Road was a safety nightmare for bicyclists and poured polluted runoff into the lagoon. Working with the community and SDG&E on this $6 million project, the city improved the road with new, safer bicycle lanes, pedestrian amenities and protections for the lagoon from storm water pollution.
Kept the Water Authority’s Hydroelectric Plant out of Ridgewood Park: The County Water Authority planned a massive $700 million water project, and planned to put it adjacent to a neighborhood park in Rancho Peñasquitos. Scott helped mobilize residents to let the Authority know that wasn’t acceptable, and convinced them to spend the extra money to put it in a commercial area instead.
Reconfigured the Throat: Traffic in and out of La Jolla had been jammed up for decades, with traffic clogged in the second busiest intersection in San Diego, known as the “throat.” The City Council approved the plan to increase green light time in and out of the village while replacing the 90-year-old water pipes that seemed to break and cause floods every six months. Now the intersection conveys traffic efficiently and has been beautifully landscaped – it’s now an appropriate gateway to La Jolla. This project won the 2004 Project of the Year award from the American Public Works Association.