Reconnecting San Diego Communities Across I‑5

Illustration by Wren McDonald


Year Codified in Community Plans


Acres of Additional Park Space


Break Ground Target Date


Interstate 5 cuts through downtown San Diego and surrounding areas, dividing historic neighborhoods and severing them from each other, downtown, Balboa Park, and shared community resources.


San Diego Commons was formed in 2019 by concerned citizens to address this issue.


Freeway Lids An effort to cover the freeway with community amenities in park-like settings.


Along I-5 in the heart of San Diego.


As soon as possible – targeting 2028.


To create a healthier and more beautiful environment for San Diego.

What is a Freeway Lid?

Glad you asked! Also known as freeway covers, these are concrete decks constructed over a road. Lids reconnect neighborhoods and provide much-needed open space.

Some case studies:

more case studies


Construction of the Interstate 5 Freeway created a divide through the heart of San Diego severing historic neighborhoods and vital connections to downtown and Balboa Park.

San Diego Commons was formed to advance many years of grassroots efforts to heal this divide. We aim to cover specific freeway trenches along the I-5 in the core of San Diego with parkland – reconnecting underserved communities with accessible, desirable open space.

Throughout the nation and the world, communities are engaged in similar efforts. Perhaps the best California example is “Hollywood Central Park” covering US 101 with a 38-acre deck park currently progressing through Environmental Impact Review (EIR) and the planning approval process.

Our focus is on four freeway covers identified in the Downtown San Diego, Southeastern San Diego, and Barrio Logan community plans:


Sherman Heights to East Village from Market Street to J Street


Balboa Park and Bankers Hill to downtown from Cortez Hill east of 6th Avenue to 2nd Avenue


Barrio Logan to Logan Heights between Sampson Street and National Avenue


Barrio Logan to Logan Heights between 30th Street and 32nd Street

Goals and Aspirations

Reconnect communities severed by the freeway
Transform sources of toxic air, heat, and noise into desirable, accessible open space
Create common ground for community and shared civic healing
Embody Climate Positive/Resilience principles for a sustainable future

Our Leadership

2023 Advisory Council

Bill Anderson
Brendan Bargmann
Noura Bishay
Howard Blackson
James Brown
James Burnett
Gregory de Peña
Vicky Estrada
Larry Herzog
Carol Kim
Laurie Madigan
Brett Payton
Martin Poirier
Denise Price
Ashley Rodriguez
Ralph Rosling
René Smith
Mike Stepner

We want to hear from you!

Our goal is to work in alignment with the community. Please get in touch here:

Tell us what you think:

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Nonprofit Status: San Diego Commons is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the State of California. All donations are tax-deductible. Tax ID: 83-4204024