Closing the Hillcrest Gap: Councilmember Todd Gloria’s departing gift?

Posted on: December 2, 2016 Posted by: Jeff Kucharski Comments: 1

Closing the Hillcrest Gap: Councilmember Todd Gloria’s departing gift?

University Ave in San Diego
University Ave between 5th and 6th: 8 lanes devoted to moving and storing cars; none for bikes.

 

“We couldn’t accomplish that at SANDAG but I think we can accomplish that as a city project.”

Todd Gloria, November 14th, City Council Meeting

At a recent marathon City Council meeting, District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria took action to fill the Hillcrest Gap (aka HBA hole) as part of the update of the Uptown Community Plan. The failure of the Uptown community to create a safe east-west bicycle route through Hillcrest was one of the reasons BikeSD opposed the draft version of the plan. 

Councilmember Gloria addressed the Hillcrest Gap in context with the city’s Climate Action Plan. An analysis of the Uptown Community Plan update showed the city would not reach the city-wide transportation mode share goals in Uptown. In responding to Councilmember Gloria’s question, city staff acknowledged that bike mode share would be higher without the gap.

San Diego Uptown Mode Share Analysis

As the meeting proceeded late into the evening, Todd Gloria made a complex motion to approve the Uptown Community Plan with many additions. For this blog post, we will focus solely on the items related to mobility. First, Councilmember Gloria asked for a process that would allow the community plan to be adjusted if the city is not on target to meet the mode share goals. In addition, Councilmember Gloria asked for staff to “consider developing a plan to fund and implement the University Ave bike lane gap.” Councilmember Gloria’s motion passed with the support of his city council colleagues.   

So what did this all mean? For those of us watching on CityTV, it was uncertain.  Thankfully, Councilmember Gloria helped us understand through social media.   

Councilmember Gloria’s clarification was welcome news.  BikeSD has advocated for a solution to fill the gap in our regional bicycle network since the SANDAG Transportation Committee’s shortsighted decision to abandon a stretch of University Ave in June of 2015. SANDAG met privately with Hillcrest Business Association lobbyists to kill the bike lane, while cancelling public meetings. This was another example of the agency breaking the public’s trust, which helped defeat the agency’s ballot measure last month.   

While a path to close the gap has been identified, we will not be fully satisfied until changes in the street design have been implemented. We suspect the Hillcrest naysayers opposed to positive change will continue their intense effort to weaken and eliminate any bicycle infrastructure in the core of Hillcrest. In a supposedly progressive and tolerant community, why is the safety of residents who bike disregarded for cheap street parking? BikeSD will continue to advocate for a complete bikeway network so commuters and families can ride safely, and help meet the city’s Climate Action Plan mode share goals.  

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