Visitors to downtown San Diego’s bustling bayside will find a new, more pedestrian-friendly Embarcadero thanks to enhancements recently unveiled by the Port of San Diego.
Two years in the making at a cost of US$31.1 million, a new esplanade located along Harbor Drive between the Navy and B Street piers welcomes visitors, including cruise ship passengers boarding and disembarking from San Diego’s two adjacent cruise ship terminals. Representing the first phase of San Diego’s Embarcadero Visionary Plan, the improvements include a two-block area of West Broadway between North Harbor Drive and Pacific Highway.
The improved Embarcadero’s centrepiece is a beautifully landscaped 105-foot wide promenade which was made possible by removing parking spaces and realigning Harbor Drive 60 feet to the east.
The following are some notable features visitors can find along San Diego’s premier waterfront destination:
- Two sleek metallic shade pavilions feature colourful and inviting new glass ticket kiosks for the Old Town Trolley Tours, Flagship Cruises and Hornblower Cruises. The pavilions also house a new visitor information centre, projected to open in April, gift shop and Carnitas Snack Shack, a popular local restaurant scheduled to begin operating in late May/early June.
- Eye-catching public art by internationally known artist Pae White integrates seamlessly throughout the architecture of the Embarcadero’s new buildings. Inspired by the novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull, White adorned the pavilions, ticket booths, restaurant, information center and a new public restroom with large cutout letters and words that represent the aerial views of a seagull in flight.
- Lush, colourful gardens, landscaped plazas and pathways feature comfortable wooden benches and seating areas, groves of 42 purple-blooming jacaranda trees – San Diego’s official tree – and an environmentally friendly water filtration system that captures street and sidewalk runoff, filtering pollutants from the water before it enters San Diego Bay.
- New York lighting designer Leni Schwendinger installed dramatic sculptural lighting fixtures in the medians along West Broadway, complementing 18 towering palm trees.
In addition to the transformation of the North Embarcadero, a new 12-acre Waterfront Park featuring an 830-foot-long fountain opened in May. Also neighbouring the new Embarcadero, construction is underway on two new hotels – Springhill Suites and a Residence Inn – and a public park at Lane Field.