The Morena Corridor Specific Plan has received the Best Practice Award from the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association based on the exceptional quality of work that touches on key planning principals and methods. The Specific Plan prioritizes transit-oriented development along a pedestrian-oriented commercial corridor with new residential uses located within half a mile from two trolley stations, thus creating a walkable and bikeable community core. The grid street network provides accessibility to the two trolley stations while also implementing the goals and objectives of the City’s Climate Action Plan. These key elements of the plan are addressed in the vision statement, to “Enhance the Morena Corridor as a mixed-use village that has a vibrant community core with strong restaurant/retail/design district components and gathering places, balanced residential density that includes affordable housing, quality urban design, safe and accessible travel for all modes, employment opportunities, supporting infrastructure, and public amenities.”

To reimagine the current auto-dependent uses in the Morena Station District and Tecolote Village District , the Morena Corridor Specific Plan envisions a high density, pedestrian-oriented village reinforced by linking the street network to the two trolley stations, improving access to Old Town and Mission Valley. Land use designations within the specific plan area allow high density residential uses with convenient accessibility to public transit within a transit priority area (TPA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A sense of place will take shape through livability improvements added to the public realm. The new buildings will front the street edge with parking located out of public view. Street trees planted along sidewalks will provide canopy shade and will be complimented by landscaped parkways within the village and roadway extensions. Policies promoting sustainable design are included. Design guidelines like energy efficient design, low impact runoff features, and landscaping with native, drought-tolerant plant species are examples of these policies. Other design guidelines promote pedestrian friendly design practices like human scale lighting to illuminate walkways.

The Morena Corridor Specific plan embodies a paragon of what planners strive to accomplish in a transit-oriented development through comprehensive goals addressing land use and districts, mobility and urban design. With a mix of uses near transit, an increase in linkages with a grid street system, and an enhanced humanscape aspect of the specific plan area, the Morena Corridor is set to be a very environmentally resilient and pleasant place to live and spend time.