Observations Of the Coronavirus Crisis On The Waterfront & In The Gaslamp Quarter
I went for a run today.
Frankly, I half expected to get pulled over by a cop telling me to get back to my apartment, considering Gov. Gavin Newsom put the entire state on lockdown the previous evening.
But we all need to get our exercise and while a Twitter friend suggested I put on a daypack as a disguise to pretend I was going grocery shopping, I took a chance by wearing just my running shirt, shorts and shoes.
Plus I wanted to do a bit of investigative journalism just to see how the lockdown was affecting San Diegans.
My route took me from basically Horton Plaza to Market Street, across Harbor Drive to the waterfront, around the Embarcadero, along the Marriott marina to the Hilton and along the convention center to Fifth Ave. I then walked up Fifth Ave., to F Street.
This took place between 10:30-11:30 a.m., on Friday, March 20. Here are my observations.
• Traffic on Market Street was busy with a steady stream of vehicles. I saw FexEx and Amazon Prime delivery vans among the cars and vans. What I did not see anywhere were food and alcohol delivery trucks. There were also a couple dozen people walking along Market and other streets, a bit fewer than. on a normal mid-morning weekday. Along here, everything appeared to be normal.
• The popular Richard Walker’s Pancake House, which usually has people lined up waiting to get inside even on weekdays, had no line. There were a couple of customers inside waiting to pick up to-go orders.
• The Trolley was still running; the Metropolitan Transit Service announced it will run all its trains and buses on a full schedule through March and will evaluate April service at the end of the month. Amtrak and the Coaster each announced they will be cutting service as ridership has fallen to as much as 20% of normal.
• The waterfront was abnormally quiet. Usually, there’s tourists going for walks, sitting on the patios of the restaurants and popping into the shops. But all the shops are closed, Seaport Village is as quiet as it is at midnight and the patios of the restaurants were not open. With few tourists remaining in town and conventions canceled, there were no customers for them anyway.
• I saw a few people walking dogs and maybe a dozen couples out for a walk along the harbor. What was interesting is that all of those couples were 50+ years old.
• Besides myself, there were 10 other runners. Two were San Diego firemen, holding their walkie-talkies as they ran. Two nice-looking girls, in their late 20s or early 30s, were stretching on the backside of the convention center stairs, obviously taking a break between workouts. The convention center steps are a very popular workout spot for Gaslamp Quarter residents.
• San Diego Bay was calm. The water only had small ripples in it from a light breeze. Aside from a single police boat, there was no water traffic – no wave runners, no recreational boats, not even the Coronado ferries (one was docked and locked by Joe’s Crab Shack). The only cops I saw during my run, by the way, were the two on that boat.
• Fifth Ave., was even quieter than San Diego Bay. All the shops were closed and only a couple of restaurants had opened their doors. Normally at this time of day, employees are putting out sandwich board signs listing the day’s specials and seating customers. At one closed bar, a lone person made himself at home on a patio bench and was eating something and was drinking what appeared to be a beer.
• I saw a lot of homeless people. Sadly, that’s normal for here.
While the vehicle traffic was brisk, there was a noticable absence of people. It’s a hollow feeling to see so many businesses shut, especially along normally robust Fifth Ave.