Welcome to something new! The first question I should address: what is the Right Side Club?
The short answer is the Right Side Club is a new grassroots experiment to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods immediately to the east of Balboa Park, aka the Right Side. North Park, South Park, SoNo, Altadena, Burlingame, Golden Hill, Brooklyn Heights, T32: there’s a lot of different names, but we really aren’t so different. And we aren’t focusing on a precisely defined geographic area: if you live near here, you can be one of us.
There’s plenty of people who claim they are interested in quality of life and “community character,” but we hope to be a bit different. We recognize the Right Side is a dynamic urban neighborhood faced with change, and we embrace that change. Our goal is to support the change needed to make our neighborhood into the best place to live in San Diego for everyone who wants to live here.
To do this, we need to recognize that the old way of doing things won’t always work in the future: we love our historic single family homes, but also recognize that adding density to allow more people to live in our neighborhood is a good thing and will help support new businesses and restaurants. We admit to owning a car, but want a walkable, livable neighborhood that welcomes bikes, scooters, busses, and any other alternative means of getting around. We love our longtime residents, but welcome the hipsters and the kids and anyone else that wants to join us.
Why embrace change? Because there is a better way to live than driving everywhere and excluding people with the hope of preserving the status quo. Anyone who has experienced the charm of an old-world European city or strolled a bustling main street in a major city knows that we can do better than parking lots and freeways.
Perhaps most importantly, change is inevitable. We cannot hope to preserve the status quo and live in an attractive neighborhood. If we don’t build more housing in our popular neighborhood, flippers will buy up our old homes and duplexes and sell them to the highest bidder, driving up prices and driving out our families, artists, and elderly residents on fixed incomes. Too many people who have become our neighbors have been forced to leave when the rent goes up or the new baby is born.
At the same time, as more people start to live here, getting around by car will get even more difficult. If we don’t want to be jammed with traffic and enter into death matches over parking spaces, we have to make it easier and safer to walk, bike, or scooter around town. This has the added benefit of being more fun! We enjoy some of the finest weather in the world, we should be outside enjoying it as much as we can. It helps that Uber and Lyft and the shared bikes and scooters making it easier and cheaper to get around. We also need to push to make our public transportation more dependable and nicer to use. We realize not everyone wants to, or is able to, bike and walk and bus. And that’s fine. All we are asking is for the choice to get around how we want to in a safe, enjoyable way.
It’s normal to be apprehensive about change, but past experience has shown that the fear is often unfounded. It wasn’t so long ago that the naysayers were claiming that the new South Park Target would ruin the neighborhood, but they now happily shop there with the rest of us. Rather than opposing all change, we can participate in the process to ensure that the change benefits both the current residents and future residents we will someday call neighbors.
Our neighborhood should be the best in San Diego. To make our neighborhood as successful as it can be, we need to work together to push the City to support our needs. As individuals alone, it’s far too easy for the city to ignore us and either maintain the status quo or listen to more organized groups. Too often the city assumes we are resistant to change and doesn’t seek our input before making decisions or deciding the leave things as they are.
Change is hard and the burden will be on us to push for that change. Too often a few voices in opposition are able to claim they represent everyone and fight for the status quo. We recognize the challenge, but we are willing to try things out to see what succeeds even if we fail sometimes.
The good news is that the city is starting to embrace change. There is some funding for needed infrastructure for neighborhoods that accompanies the change. If we can convince the city that we won’t frustrate attempts to create a new city, perhaps we can attract the needed funding. Moreover, by accepting change, we can get ahead of it instead becoming solely reactive, forced into poor choices in the future.
This is not a professional organization. We don’t know what will work or how to get there. Some may call us naive. But the only way to find out is to get started trying. Interested in joining? Here’s what you can do.
- Sign up as a supporter.
- Add this website to your bookmarks.
- Share with your family and neighbors.