Starting in 1969 there was a housing boom in the area that now extends from the I-15 freeway in the East to I-805 in the West and is approximately 10,500 acres (42 km²). It was one of the earliest areas of urban sprawl along the I-15 Corridor. Hourglass field became the site of San Diego Miramar College and Hourglass Field Community Park. The area was built so quickly that it was lacking schools, shopping centers, or other services for its thousands of residents. In 1971 Pete Wilson started his political career running for mayor with the slogan "No more Mira Mesas!" as a promise to stop quick, unplanned growth in San Diego.
Since its inception, Mira Mesa was largely influenced by the military located at adjacent NAS Miramar. Mira Mesa was the northernmost "real community" of San Diego, and was separated from the rest of the city by NAS Miramar for many years. For nearly 30 years the Navy's Top Gun School was located here and most of the pilots made their homes in Mira Mesa.
As of the late 1990s, the Mira Mesa area has undergone extensive expansion to accommodate the thousands of new residents attracted by its ideal location (between two major freeways) and its close proximity to Downtown San Diego. Several commercial and industrial centers have been built within the Mira Mesa area.
Established in the 1950s as a residential area to support Naval Air Station, Miramar, Mira Mesa has grown into the largest community in San Diego.
The community has business and residential zoned areas, providing shopping and recreational opportunities as well as business buildings with technology facilities and office space. There are a variety of ethnic cuisines and restaurants, as well as more traditional dining. There are eight community parks, teen and senior centers, ice arena, aquatic complex, shopping centers, and state-of-the-art movie theater.
* Mira Mesa Boulevard runs east to west, and is the main road in Mira Mesa, and is an important link between Interstates 15 and 805. In the year 2000 this main artery was estimated by the city government to carry over 80,000 vehicles/day. During the normal work week it has arguably the worst traffic in the county due to the excessive amount of commuters traveling in and out of the high density employment area of Sorrento Valley, and from cut-through traffic between Interstates 15 and 805/5 corridors. There has been such a high traffic volume, that the majority of residential roads running in all directions from Mira Mesa Boulevard became backed up. By 1997, in an effort to control the problem, the city had installed additional traffic controls, such as turn prohibitions at various intersections, and speed humps on certain streets, to reduce the cut-through traffic from other neighborhoods, such as Scripps Ranch and Rancho Peñasquitos.
According to the City of San Diego Council Minutes - Sept. 9, 1997, faith in alleviating the Mira Mesa Blvd. traffic problem was put in the completion of east-west running State Route 56 to the north of Mira Mesa Blvd. The minutes state, "(SR 56) is expected to substantially reduce the non-neighborhood cut-through traffic demand on (Mira Mesa residential streets)." SR 56 construction started in 1999 and was scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2004. This was delayed, and with the opening of SR 56 north of Mira Mesa complete in early 2006, there has been a noticeable drop in residential traffic, especially on Calle Cristobal.
* Camino Ruiz is a north-south four lane thoroughfare that runs the whole length of the Mira Mesa area, and links Miramar Road to Mira Mesa Boulevard, to Calle Cristobal. It is a main thoroughfare for military personnel traveling to and from MCAS Miramar and the surrounding area.
* Black Mountain Road is a north-south thoroughfare that connects San Diego to Mira Mesa, and continues to Rancho Peñasquitos, and Del Mar.
* Calle Cristobal runs east to west, along the northern perimeter of Mira Mesa, through the Los Peñasquitos Canyon. It is mainly used by residents to get to the subdivisions of Sorrento Valley, and by commuter cut-through traffic via Interstates 805 or 5.
* Sorrento Valley Boulevard becomes Calle Cristobal between Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa.
Miramar Reservoir is just across the I-15 interstate from Mira Mesa and is an exceptional recreational area, popular with casual swimmers, sun bathers, and even a few avid water sport fans.
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