SAN DIEGO – This past weekend the proprietors of the San Diego Park-2-Park Shuttle service announced the addition of two special service routes to support revelers attending this weekend’s Pride Parade and Festival.
Shuttle owners Omar Passons and his wife, Erin, launched the service in April to connect the communities of Normal Heights, Universal Heights, North Park and South Park, with the intention of boosting local businesses and making community exploration more eco-friendly. Standard summer service through Labor Day runs Friday and Saturday nights, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
This weekend, however, to support their LGBT and LGBT-friendly neighbors, they are expanding their service with the hopes of satisfying the commuter needs of hundreds of people attending the two largest annual events in our community.
“We wanted to reach out to Pride for two reasons,” Passons said. “First, it supports celebrating what Erin and I see as a fundamental human right to love and be loved as you choose. Period. Second, it is a hugely busy weekend, the parking isn’t great, we have a large LGBT community east of Park and we’d like to offer our services to them.”
Passons, a native San Diegan and current resident of North Park, has great appreciation for the local gay community. After all, they are not only potential customers, but many are also local small-business owners along his route, as well as members of his own neighborhood.
“And honestly,” Passons added, “part of the reason we love our neighborhood is that Pride isn’t just something for the LGBT community. Tons of people go because it is a great time and just a real part of the fabric of mid-city.”
The shuttle traditionally donates 20 percent of their tip jar to local charities, but during Pride weekend, they will instead be donating 50 percent to Lambda Archives. Passons recently tapped the Archives to help him develop an LGBT historical slideshow he will run on the shuttles throughout Pride weekend. Not only does the slideshow offer riders a glimpse of LGBT history, it also acts as a good advertisement for the Archive’s LGBT historical exhibit now running through July 23 at City Hall.
“I was talking to a self-described young gay man yesterday,” Passons said, “and he said it was important to have Lambda Archives because he never had to experience the really nasty treatment, but wants to show respect for it. I think that story has parallels to my own experience as a Black male. Our city and our country have come a long way on both fronts, but having a way to remember the experiences that made the achievements of today possible, is something we want to support.
“If Stonewall had never happened, or Harvey Milk had never stood up, or tons of people who aren’t in the history books hadn’t engaged in their own acts of defiance, we wouldn’t have a Todd Gloria or a San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, for that matter.”
Pride Line passes
Passons has named the two additional routes the “Pride Line.” Riders can choose a single day Pride Line pass for $10 or a weekend Pride Line pass for $15.
These passes will offer riders service to and from the start of the parade route from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday; to and from the festival (hours listed below), and will also connect them to the standard weekend night-time route of the Park-2-Park shuttle.
In addition, those who buy the Pride Line weekend pass can start using the standard route as early as Friday night! Just remember, the standard route does not include Hillcrest, but check the map, as Bourbon Street, Bacchus House, West Coast Tavern and many other popular LGBT destinations are all within steps of shuttle stops along the traditional route.
Purchase passes online
The easiest way to buy the passes is in advance and online, and Passons encourages this method to help them assess how many passengers they might expect on this busy weekend. When you purchase online, all you have to do is show up at a shuttle pick-up location! The shuttle host will have your name on a list for verification, and provide you with your bracelet right then and there.
The bracelets for the one-day Pride Line pass will be just like the shuttle’s traditional red wristbands, but – and here is yet another reason to go for the weekend pass – the weekend Pride Line pass will be a reusable rainbow-colored silicone bracelet (similar to the Armstrong “Live Strong” bracelet) and with “Park-2-Park Pride Line” stamped on it. See photo above.
Starting Wednesday (today), limited numbers of Pride Line passes will also be available for purchase at Urban Mo’s, Baja Betty’s and Bourbon Street. It is best to buy your passes early to avoid confusion.
Also, for those who happen to be staying at the Lafayette Hotel on Friday night, access to the standard route will be included with your stay. Check the website for businesses along the route who offer specials to shuttle riders when they show their wristband.
Those coming from areas outside of the shuttle’s service area can park at the North Park parking garage (located off of 30th and North Park Way) and have easy access to all routes each day for the weekend.
Other weekend events to consider
In addition to Pride, two other events will be happening in the surrounding neighborhoods that revelers may also want to attend. Sight and Sound is a monthly event presented by Walk to Walk, that takes place the 3rd Saturday of every month and celebrates the finest in San Diego’s creative talent. Their new venue is Queen Bee’s, located at 3925 Ohio St, San Diego 92104.
Also happening is the South Park Walkabout. The quarterly festive evening includes live entertainment, tastings, walking tours and business specials.
So remember, your Pride Line pass will also get you access to these other events by use of the Park-2-Park’s standard shuttle service, if you choose to mix them into your weekend.
Park-2-Park Pride Line service schedule
PARADE SERVICE: Saturday, July 17 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – Hop on the Park-2-Park Shuttle at any of the following stops: Lafayette Hotel , Ritual Tavern, or North Park Parking Garage.
First shuttle leaves at 10 a.m. from the Parking Garage, and heads to near the beginning of the parade route (near Park and University), then drives a continuous loop back to Lafayette Hotel (on El Cajon Blvd), Ritual Tavern (30th St), North Park Parking Garage, then back to the parade, in that order, until 2 p.m.
SATURDAY “PRIDE LINE” – FESTIVAL/HILLCREST SERVICE: Saturday, July 17 (7 p.m. – 1:45 a.m.) – They will run extended shuttle service from the Festival to Hillcrest, University Heights, and connect to their regular route. First shuttle leaves at 7:00 p.m. from the Lafayette Hotel and stops (in order) at: Bourbon Street (Park & Madison), McDonald’s (Vermont & University), Festival Stop (6th & Laurel), Urban Mo’s (3rd & University), Filter (Vermont & University), then back to the Lafayette Hotel.
This special route will allow you to connect with their regular route at the Park & Madison or Lafayette stops, so you can explore the neighborhood or hit the other two other events happening.
SUNDAY “PRIDE LINE” – FESTIVAL/HILLCREST SERVICE: Sunday July 18 (3 – 9 p.m.) – Hop on the Park-2-Park for Sunday service to the festival and keep the fun going!
First shuttle leaves at 3 p.m. from the Lafayette Hotel and stops (in order) at: Ritual Tavern, North Park Parking Garage (30th & North Park Way), McDonald’s (Vermont & University), Festival Stop (6th & Laurel), Urban Mo’s (3rd & University), Filter (Vermont & University), then back to the Lafayette Hotel (El Cajon Blvd & Mississippi).
REGULAR ROUTE: The Pride Line Weekend Shuttle Pass allows you access to all the great stops on their regular route. Visit your favorite hot spots in North Park, South Park, Normal Heights and University Heights. PLEASE NOTE: THE STANDARD PARK-2-PARK SHUTTLE PASS ($5) WILL ONLY ALLOW ACCESS TO THE REGULAR ROUTE – THE “PRIDE LINE” IS NOT INCLUDED.
Special note: This shuttle service is not to be confused with two other shuttle services being offered during Pride: (1) SD Pride is offering complimentary shuttle service to both the start of the parade (University & Centre St) on Saturday and to the festival (6th and Juniper) on both Saturday and Sunday. Riders must park at the Balboa Naval Hospital back parking lot (Park Blvd and President’s Way). See the 2010 Pride program at www.sandiegopride.org for more information. (2) Limo shuttle buses provided to holders of the San Diego Pride VIP Pass which gives access to the events around town sponsored by SDPIX and SDGLN.
Morgan M. Hurley is the Copy Editor at SDGLN. She can be reached at (877) 727-5446, ext 710 or via e-mail at [email protected].