On the outside looking in, San Diegans are enviable people. We live in constant sunshine with access to beautiful beaches and arguably, some of the best Mexican food in Southern California (depending on who you ask). Don’t get us wrong, we know we are incredibly blessed to be living in America’s Finest City, but living in San Diego sometimes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and here are some reasons why.
There Are Too Many People
More and more people are moving to this fine city, which is okay, but to be honest it’s kind of getting crowded down here! A lot of people come here for various reasons―college, military assignment, what have you―but then those people just end up staying here. One of the biggest complaints, especially among native San Diegans, is the increasingly annoying amount of transplants in this city. Nowadays, it’s becoming rare to meet someone who was actually born and raised in San Diego.
Out of this problem stems a whole slew of other things wrong with San Diego. Click on to see how the increasing population is causing San Diego more issues.
Traffic Is The Worst
Admittedly, traffic is an issue in any city, but it’s especially bad in Southern California, let alone San Diego. Traffic isn’t quite as bad in San Diego as it is in the Los Angeles area (yet) but it is getting pretty troublesome. While rush hour is an obvious time to avoid the freeways, there is also (almost always) traffic on the weekends.
The surface streets get packed with people going out running errands and going shopping. It doesn’t help that a lot of the streets are narrow and the street lights take an unbelievable amount of time to go through one light cycle. And don’t even get us started on the traffic conditions when it starts to rain.
SD Is A Sad City For Sports
Despite being a big city, San Diego is very remiss in regards to its sports teams. In the early ’80s, they had the Clippers, but the basketball team picked up and moved to Los Angeles. This left them with the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego Padres. The Chargers in recent years have become a disappointment to many football fans due to their inability to win games, and are now leaving for Los Angeles, too.
The San Diego Padres have suffered the same fate for baseball. In 2016, the Padres were dubbed one of the worst teams in baseball for being shut out for the first 27 innings (first three games) of the 2016 MLB season. None of San Diego’s sports teams have won any championships in over a decade.
The Chargers Couldn’t Even Stay
The Chargers were so unsuccessful in San Diego that at the start of 2017, owner Dean Spanos made the decision to move the team to Los Angeles. This news outraged many loyal San Diego Chargers fans, who went to the Chargers headquarters and Qualcomm Stadium to ceremoniously burn all their Chargers gear in protest of the announcement.
Despite the unrest, it doesn’t look like the Chargers will come back to San Diego anytime soon, but the move was so controversial that it has been rumored that Los Angeles doesn’t even want the Chargers there. Now all San Diego has is its Padres and the recently reacquired San Diego Gulls.
The Roads Are In Bad Condition
Probably due to the fact that there’s way too many cars driving around, San Diego is home to some of the worst roads to drive on. Cracked asphalt and unending amounts of potholes can make driving in San Diego a bumpy nightmare sometimes.
For whatever reason, the City of San Diego is taking a long time to implement their plans for the pot holes. According to a past report by NBC San Diego, the city cites bureaucratic problems as the blame for as to why a lot of San Diego’s roads aren’t getting fixed. Spending delays, missed repair deadlines, and trying to figure out what fixes need to be done have put a setback on these repairs.
Rent Is Too Expensive
Because San Diego is such a desirable place to live for out-of-towners, realtors and landlords alike have capitalized on that by making the cost of renting a place to live very high. According to rentjungle.com, the average rent in San Diego for a one-to-two-bedroom apartment is around $2,134/month.
That’s a lot of money for someone who is trying to live on their own and many young adults who try to start their lives here in San Diego have to start out with roommates. The closer to the city center or the coast you want to live, the more expensive it’s going to be.
The Military Presence Is Strong
Okay, this isn’t really a bad thing about San Diego. In fact, it does make us feel a lot safer knowing that we have a strong military presence to protect us. But sometimes, military tests or projects make themselves apparent to the public and it can be somewhat disturbing. Military jets from Miramar Air Base will randomly fly overhead and it can be very loud and sometimes frightening.
Sometimes we hear random booms or feel random shakes thinking it’s an earthquake, but it turns out to just be something going on at the military base. The military is right by our side and we should be thankful, but they won’t let us forget it.
There’s A Homeless Epidemic
One of the most heartbreaking problems is San Diego’s homeless population. With the fourth-largest homeless population in the nation, one of San Diego’s drawbacks is the lack of care it takes towards this crisis. One of the most prominent areas where homelessness is blatant is downtown’s East Village, where real and makeshift tents line the sidewalks and freeway entrances.
With overcrowded shelters and not enough subsidized housing, the homelessness issue continues to run rampant throughout the city of San Diego. A lot of good samaritans do what they can to help these people out by handing out supplies and food, but many citizens are relying on the city to help relieve the issue.
Citizens Suffer From Low Wages
One of the reasons that it is so hard to keep up with increasing rent prices is the stagnant rate of minimum wage in San Diego. For the past couple of years before California’s overall minimum wage hike in 2016, San Diego has had one of the lowest minimum wage rates among big cities, having increased the rate from $8/hr just barely before 2015.
In July 2016, the city voted to raise the wage for lowest paid workers and minimum wage is now at $11.50/hr. Still, that’s barely livable for a lot of people who have more than one mouth to feed, in addition to bills and rent payments.
The Weather Isn’t Always Nice
This might be hard to believe, but San Diego isn’t always under perpetual sunshine. Sometimes, we go through a couple months out of the year where it is constantly cloudy and muggy. We call this “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” So if you come to live in San Diego expecting perfect weather year-round, think again.
The cloudy days still aren’t enough to get San Diegans off of their normal routines, however. Even on cloudy days, you will still find people enjoying the beach or taking a walk in Balboa Park, especially because it still doesn’t get cold despite the lack of sun.
Public Transportation Isn’t The Best
One of the reasons that you need a car to drive anywhere in San Diego is because of the lack of reliable public transportation. Of course, San Diego does have its own Metropolitan Transit System that controls a whole fleet of public buses and three trolly lines, but for a growing city where everything is spread out, this is hardly enough.
Many people complain of trolleys and busses that run behind schedule and this is probably due in part to the fact that it takes an unnecessarily long amount of time to make a short trip. With traffic and multiple stops along the way, it can sometimes take almost an hour to travel up to five miles by bus in the heart of San Diego. In addition, routes are limited and people end up having to walk a bit to get to their destinations.
Hiking Is Very Trendy Here
So trendy, in fact, that a lot of the popular hiking spots are often overcrowded. Maybe a lot of people don’t mind this, but for true nature-loving hikers, the amount of people on the trails can take away from the tranquil and relaxing experience. Spots like Cowles Mountain and Torrey Pines State Reserve can get quite crowded on any given weekend.
One of the most popular hiking trails is the Mt. Woodson Trail out in Poway. Most people come to this seven-and-a-half mile trail with the intention of getting to Potato Chip Rock, where everyone likes to get their picture taken.
While San Diego’s increasing population accounts for many of its problems, that’s not always entirely to blame. One of the reasons we experience overcrowding and traffic is because of tourists. We can’t really attribute tourists to any one season since we seemingly have tourists year-round, but if there was a time of year we see the most tourists, it’d definitely be the summertime.
Tourists are great for San Diego economically, but any native San Diegan knows that it’s difficult to go anywhere where there are bound to be slews of tourists. Luckily, San Diegan’s have a “been there, done that” attitude of the main tourist attractions, so we can definitely find other things to do during the summer.
There’s Never Any Parking
Okay, so you got in your car and sat through traffic that turned what should have been a 15-minute drive into 45 minutes, but you finally made it to your destination. But now, you’re driving around and realize there is no parking. The lot is filled and there are a few other cars circling the lot looking for a spot too.
So you go out to the street and all the free street parking is taken. Your next option would be to park at a parking meter, but somehow all those spots are taken too! Which leaves you with the last resort: paid parking lots. You can either drive around for another 20 minutes looking for a better option or succumb to paying upwards of $5 to park your car for an hour.
Beach Overcrowdedness Is Too Real
Unfortunately, one of our go-to recreational activities is going to the beach (can you blame us?) and this proves especially difficult when it is tourist season. Not only is it difficult to find a spot to lay out once you get to the sand, trying to get to the beach is a whole other mission.
We already mentioned how difficult traffic in San Diego can be. But it is almost ten times worse when going to and from the beach, where the roads are most of the time only one lane. Tack on trying to find parking and trying not to run into pedestrians in the beach towns, trying to go to the beach during the summer is a whole day of exhaustion.
Comic-Con Is Its Own Season
San Diego Comic-Con happens in the middle of summer and it’s like its own tourist season within tourist season. While an event as big as Comic-Con brings the city of San Diego a lot of publicity and money, it still attracts hoards of tourists from all around the world, except this time they’re all dressed up as fictional characters.
This means Downtown San Diego is to be avoided at all costs if you are not a fan of huge crowds. Comic-Con goers pack the streets of Downtown, the buses, and the trolleys, but we must admit that we do enjoy seeing all the impressive cosplayers that we may come across during this time.
Who Came First: The People Or The Seals?
Many people who are new to San Diego visit La Jolla Cove and are amazed to see dozens of sea lions lounging on the rocks and on the shore. But many people who reside in that area of La Jolla or who are frequent visitors to the cove know that the sea lions are becoming a nuisance.
In recent years the number of sea lions have greatly increased and now massive sea lions have taken over the cove and are becoming aggressively territorial. In addition to that, there is no way to control their waste in that area, the foul odor of which has affected nearby residents and businesses. A lot of times visitors to La Jolla Cove can’t even enjoy it for fear of being attacked by the sea lions.
Our Beaches Are Getting Dirty
Speaking of waste, there is a growing pollution problem throughout San Diego County beaches. A lot of times San Diego’s sewage will make it into the ocean and this is especially true in the aftermath of a storm. This causes the beaches to be unswimmable because of the hazardous health conditions that it causes.
San Diego County’s Department of Environmental Health has the Beach and Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program to keep track of water pollution, but the ongoing issue of sewage and chemical spills still affects San Diego’s beaches. While San Diegans are lucky enough to have the beach close by, we can’t always take advantage of it.
Everything Is Always Under Construction
You may realize by now that there are a lot of things in San Diego that need to be fixed and if the city is not already on it, then it might be on their to-do list. But because the city realizes that there’s a lot of work to be done, that means that there is always some sort of construction going on throughout the county.
While we’re glad that these issues are getting attention, construction always gets in the way of our everyday lives. The worst type of construction is road construction, which only worsens the already apparent traffic problem, and sometimes these projects can take years! On the plus side, it does create more jobs and helps improve the city of San Diego into the great city that everyone thinks it is.
You Must Have A Car
Sure, San Diego is an awesome city with a bunch of cool places to check out―from Sunset Cliffs to North Park, to the growing amount of breweries and coffee shops, you will never be out of something to do. But anyone who knows San Diego knows that these places are not close together, in terms of walking distance.
You need a car to go anywhere in San Diego since much of its main attractions are scattered all around San Diego county. And if you do have a car and are able to explore San Diego, then you are subject to the issue of traffic.