Summer in the city

By Kris Michell | Downtown Partnership News

There’s nothing quite like summertime in San Diego. From the 2016 MLB All-Star Game at Petco Park, to the world-renowned Comic-Con International to San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops on the Embarcadero, there’s been a little something for everyone this summer. Here’s a quick recap of several of this season’s most exciting happenings:

Have you met FRED?

To provide more efficient and sustainable transit options Civic San Diego and the Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP) later this month will launch the new “Free Ride Everywhere Downtown” or “FRED” circulator program.

FRED copywebtop

Meet FRED (Free Ride Everywhere Downtown), which launches this month (Courtesy DSDP)

The new program, funded by Downtown parking meter revenues, features five-passenger, all-electric vehicles that are designed to augment existing transportation options and make short trips within Downtown’s eight neighborhoods easier.

The initial launch includes 15 vehicles with the fleet expected to grow to 20 within the first year.

Users will be able to request a pick up via a mobile app called The Free Ride. They’re free to the public thanks to dedicated funding from Civic San Diego — which manages the Downtown Community Parking District — and private sponsorships. FRED shuttles will operate seven days per week. 

Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation

With more than 110 tech startups — and counting — we know that Downtown San Diego is the innovation economy’s next frontier.

That’s why in July the UC San Diego Extension and the DSDP announced an exciting two-year initiative designed to support and strengthen Downtown’s growing tech ecosystem.

CDI will offer a variety of programs to help entrepreneurs develop the networks critical for future growth as well as provide business support and workforce training. Operating out of the DSDP office, CDI will serve as a hub for a variety of programs, including:

Ideas forum: Develop a series of roundtables to connect Downtown tech entrepreneurs with researchers and scientists at UCSD and on the Torrey Pines Mesa.

Talent accelerator: Leverage UCSD Extension’s robust certificate and pre-college offerings to provide a variety of education and training programs, with a special focus on providing computer science and information technology skills to youth in underserved communities.

Entrepreneur exchange: Offer a wide range of entrepreneurship support and incubation activities including skills development workshops and pre-accelerator programs.

We must do everything to connect the know-how at UCSD and on the Torrey Pine Mesa to help grow Downtown’s emerging tech ecosystem. CDI is the first step in strengthening that connection with the entire community and the region’s larger economic goals.

Clean & Safe team tackles Comic-Con cleanup with superhero power

Once again, Comic-Con International 2016 was incredibly successful, attracting a record 135,000 attendees and visitors to Downtown San Diego.

The steady stream of superheroes, guests and attractions brought plenty of additional work for the DSDP’s Clean & Safe team. They provided round-the-clock safety and maintenance services, tackling an average of nine times their typical workload to ensure Downtown San Diego remained at its best on behalf of the 11,000 property owners it represents.

During this year’s Comic-Con, Clean & Safe Ambassadors:

  • Removed 25 tons of trash (about two times more than average)
  • Pulled 6,720 bags of trash (about seven times more than average)
  • Removed graffiti 1,035 times (about five times more than average)
  • Picked up 25,310 flyers, posters and stickers (about 22 times more than average)

To put it in perspective, the Clean and & Safe team generally removes 13 tons of trash and collects 930 bags of trash during a five-day period. Clean & Safe also removes graffiti 190 times and gets rid of 1,150 flyers, stickers and posters during a typical five-day period.

On behalf of the Downtown Partnership, I am thrilled to be able to share all of this news with the Downtown community. Our organization works tirelessly to make Downtown San Diego a vibrant, exciting, safe, and enjoyable place – not just in the summertime, but all year long. 

—Kris Michell is the president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a non-profit, member-based organization that serves as the leading advocate for the revitalization and economic health of Downtown. To learn more about the Downtown Partnership and the Clean & Safe program, visit

One Comments

  1. Joniene Swick says:

    I heart the Downtown Partnership and FRED!

    What a great place you all make San Diego. The Downtown Partnership employees are always cleaning and keeping our city safe! FRED is an awesome service – free rides!


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