San Diego, CA
United States

Conducted an analysis evaluating the feasibility of use of the Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit (TOBOP), a no-cost permit that allows businesses to temporarily conduct business in the public right-of-way, in City Council District 4, a portion of which is within the San Diego Promise Zone.

Circulate San Diego, whose mission is to create excellent mobility choices and vibrant, healthy communities, began this project with a focus on San Diego’s Promise Zone and COVID-19 critical communication. The effective dissemination of critical information to residents in the San Diego Promise Zone is a persistent challenge, especially for elderly residents, non-English speakers, and those low-income households. Circulate San Diego set out to survey the community, using texts, direct mail, and social media to understand how Promise Zone residents were accessing COVID-19 related information. Outreach occurred to several thousands of Promise Zone residents.

However, as a result of low response rates, attributable to survey-fatigue leading up to the 2020 election and challenges with remote surveying, Circulate San Diego pivoted their project to evaluating San Diego’s Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit (TOBOP) and how it could be used in the Promise Zone. TOBOP is a no-cost permit that allows businesses to temporarily conduct business in the public right-of-way in response to COVID-19. This includes creating parklet-style outdoor dining, immediately adjacent to businesses, such as on a street, sidewalk, or parking lane.

Circulate San Diego’s final report explored why businesses chose to apply or not to apply for TOBOP and proposed a series of low-cost interventions for business owners. Their report, which included prototype designs and best practices for maximizing outdoor space for various businesses, was shared with project partners including the City of San Diego Economic Development Department’s Promise Zone Team and the Diamond Improvement District.