Marina Linear Park, San Diego, CA, USA

Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Client: Center City Development Corporation
Design Team: The Office of Peter Walker and Martha Schwartz
Size: 5 acres
Status: Completed 1988
Award: American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award 1991

Marina Linear Park was a major civic contribution to San Diego’s open space. Its scale, theme, and quality should establish it as an important landmark. The park, as a single work of art, creates a visual and cultural link between the city and the waterfront, integrating the function of transportation into an aesthetic environment.

The two images that dominate the site are the linear dimension of the railroad yards and the grid of the city. The visual strength and absolute flatness of the railroad tracks, along with the historic imagery of train and street cars, are the central themes.

The park is conceived of as a grand public garden. It is composed of rich bands of grass, trees, flower beds, asphalt, and gravel paths. Benches and hedges are dimensioned as abstract reminders of the visual quality of a train yard. Water appears between the LRT lines, referencing the city’s historic waterfront relationship. The park is designed to encourage access directly from adjacent housing to accommodate jogging, strolling, and sunning. Pedestrian access is encouraged along a network of pedestrian streets. While development in this area may vary, the streets produce a consistent character of slow moving traffic not found elsewhere in the city.