Join Your Community Planning Group to Make San Diego a Better Place to Ride

Once a month volunteer residents in over 50 community planning areas meet to advise the City of San Diego on land use decisions. Community planning groups (CPGs) provide guidance on a wide range of issues, from the large, multi-year community plan updates to individual residential and commercial developments. To learn more about what community groups do and how to get involved, consider attending attending our next member meetup on March 6 at Iron Pig Alehouse in Pacific Beach. Circulate San Diego will be joining BikeSD to discuss how residents can (and should) get involved in local planning groups to help create a world-class city for biking.

How to Join Your Community Group

Any effort to improve bicycling in San Diego is basically a land use decision; therefore, these groups play an important role in making San Diego a world class bicycling city. As an organization, BikeSD, encourages bicycle riders everywhere to join their community groups. While a CPG role is strictly advisory, these groups remain influential. We have highlighted a few recent examples to show how these groups have helped or inhibited our effort to improve bicycle infrastructure in San Diego.

  • In March 2015, Uptown Planners held a special meeting to address the Uptown bikeway. Despite the passionate pleas of bicyclists, the Uptown Planners supported 4 motions that weakened or opposed the planned bikeway. Less than ten weeks later, the SANDAG transportation committee officially created a hole in the planned network by abandoning any improvements in western Hillcrest.  
  • In the “Complete the Boulevard” study, the need for dedicated bicycle infrastructure were widely ignored. While city staff did study these options, they were excluded after Kensington-Talmadge and City Heights CPGs made it clear that they would only support sharrows (or no bike infrastructure) on El Cajon Boulevard.
  • The ridiculous creation of a hole in the Uptown Bikeway caused advocates to mobilize and join the Uptown CPG (including BikeSD endorsed candidates). The personnel change provided immediate sanity as the board passed a series of motions supporting a continuous east-west corridor. In a passionate defense of 4th and 5th Ave. segments of the planned Uptown Bikeway, former District 3 Councilmember, Todd Gloria, cited these changes in the local CPGs as positive sign of support for the project.
  • City staff has cited the Uptown CPG’s motion to close the “Gap” when presenting the proposed “Hillcrest Gap” solution.
  • The planned transformation of downtown San Diego’s streets, Downtown Mobility plan, was supported by the Downtown CPG. The San Diego City Council unanimously supported the plan in June of 2016.  

Every community in San Diego should be a great place to safely ride a bike. Community planning groups play a large role in whether that happens. Whether it is advocating for secure bike parking at a new development or supporting a road diet, we need support (even minority support) on CPGs. If your community has either an upcoming community plan update (Clairemont, Old Town/Midway, Kearny Mesa) or is home to one of SANDAG’s early action bicycle projects, your CPGs will play a very important role in our transportation future.  

Each planning group has slightly unique eligibility rules for elections. All CPGs hold elections in March. If you choose not to join a CPG, please consider voting (and bring friends) for bicycle friendly candidates!!


SANDAG's Executive Director Gary Gallegos Must Step Down

This past Monday, Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts, revealed the story of the stunning public deception carried out by our regional planning agency, SANDAG, led by the agency’s executive director Gary Gallegos.

To recap, SANDAG put a sales tax measure on the ballot last November and it failed to garner the required 2/3 votes in part because organizations like BikeSD opposed the measure. SANDAG’s proposal was to raise $18 billion to spend on transportation projects, but a large portion of those funds would have gone toward expanding and building more highways—an attempt at marginal gains to address congestion problems in the region.

In Keatts’ piece, we learned that the revenue projections for the tax measure were inflated and yet, “the agency’s board of directors approved putting the $18 billion spending plan before voters.”

We already know that Gallegos is a man without any vision, given his statement, “Transit is not going to work for every person in the region.”

On Tuesday, Keatts, followed up on the SANDAG bombshell story with some statements from the agency’s board chair, Supervisor Ron Roberts who stated he had no idea what was going on with the organization because he wasn’t told anything.

Why isn’t Gallegos being held accountable?
Why isn’t Gallegos being held accountable?

For an agency managing one of the largest sources of public dollars, not knowing is simply not acceptable as a response. Supervisor Roberts can’t simply disregard this gross act of public deception and except the public to have faith in either his ability to govern or in the agency’s ability to solve the region’s problems related to transportation or even housing. Furthermore, having a leader running a government agency that lacks vision beyond the highway-centric one from sixty years ago isn’t the way forward.

The SANDAG Board of Directors is currently at a retreat this week and we have to make it clear that when they return from that retreat, we expect new staff leadership—no excuses.

So we are calling on SANDAG’s Gary Gallegos to step down as executive director.

Make the call to change the corrupt nature of one of our most important regional agencies:

Board Chairman Ron Roberts: (619) 531-5544

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer: (619) 236-6330

For more information please read this commentary by former BikeSD President, Andy Kopp.


BikeSD Letter to Planning Commission on Uptown Community Plan

City of San Diego Planning Commission
1222 First Ave, Fifth Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Members of the Planning Commission,

Bike San Diego asks the Planning Commission to reject the Uptown Community Plan Update. While we acknowledge the many years of effort developing the Update, the current version of the plan is inconsistent with the requirements of the City’s Climate Action Plan and therefore should not be approved.

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) calls for a bike mode share of 18% in Uptown by 2035, a significant increase from current levels. However, since the Uptown Community Plan’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) performed no analysis for Vehicle Miles Traveled as required by California SB 743, there are insufficient improvements to bicycle infrastructure necessary to achieve this target. The Uptown Community Plan Update also lacks a single continuous, safe east-west bike route through the entire community. To address this problem, the planned Class IV University Ave cycletrack should be extended west, to at least 1st Ave.  

In addition, by only considering automobile Level of Service in the EIR, the resulting autocentric plan lacks the multi-modal infrastructure mitigation necessary to accommodate the growth forecast in the Community Plan Update, or the associated increase in greenhouse gas emissions when residents have no robust alternative to driving.

Finally, the Uptown Community Plan Update reduces the number of allowable residential units by 1900 units from the 1988 Uptown Community Plan. This also conflicts with the City’s CAP requirements of significantly increasing density in Transit Priority Areas to accommodate the growth anticipated by SANDAG and the CAP. Areas with higher population density have higher bike mode share rates.

Thank you,
Jeff Kucharski
Board President
BikeSD, Inc


No Way On Measure A

This November, voters like you will be faced with a decision on SANDAG’s ballot measure, Measure A. SANDAG’s goal: get San Diego County voters to give a blank check to the tune of $18 billion for the agency to ensure that there will be no guarantees of traffic congestion relief, despite the agency’s public relations campaign promising congestion relief.

nowaymeasurea-793

This past Thursday, the Measure A opponents (of which BikeSD is a member), held a kick-off event to highlight the burden that Measure A would place on San Diego, contrary to SANDAG’s claims.

Below is a KUSI video with a brief description of the ballot measure and the opposition behind it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZtCvU27KsA&feature=share

 

For more information on why the ballot measure needs to be defeated (besides the fact that widening existing highways will not reduce traffic congestion) please visit the No on Measure A website.

Given that SANDAG has no problems holding endless community meetings to build a protected bike lanes (of which not a single foot has yet been constructed), there is no reason voters should hand over a blank check to SANDAG to push a 1950s solution to address traffic concerns of the 21st century.

More information about this ballot measure will be forthcoming, but for now, please do tell all your friends and family to: Vote NO on Measure A.


San Diego Downtown Mobility Plan

Cycle tracks are coming to downtown!

Downtown areas in American cities have dramatically redesigned their cities with bicycle infrastructure in recent years. Unfortunately, San Diego was not among the early adopters. Currently, the downtown core of San Diego has no bicycle lanes. In addition to the lack of dedicated infrastructure, many of the roads serve high volume, high speed traffic from the 3 connecting freeways. Clearly, bicyclists have not been a priority for the transportation planning in downtown. However, we are hopeful this significant oversight will be corrected with the implantation of the Downtown Mobility Plan.

On June 21st , the San Diego City Council passed the Downtown Mobility Plan. We have previously expressed our enthusiasm for the plan. We are very grateful that the plan passed without any major revisions requested by opponents. The plan creates an entire network of protected cycle tracks and greenways throughout downtown.

San Diego Downtown Mobility Plan

When opponents from Little Italy pleaded for sharrows instead of cycletracks, Todd Gloria discussed the differences of riding by himself where sharrows may be sufficient but his preference for enhanced facilities when riding with his niece and nephew.  Gloria and Civic San Diego planner, Brad Ricther, emphasized the plans intended outcome of encouraging new riders with protected facilities.

Council member Gloria addressed the plan’s opponents directly when addressing opposition to a lane reduction and protected bikeway on the same street as Washington Elementary, “The net result of that is reduced speed. For an elementary school in particular, the ability to slow down traffic and reduce it a bit and as well as the protected path is a net win for safety, which should be our top concern when we talk about children going to school.”

While City Council approved the plan, the plan requires further political support to ensure implementation. And San Diego bicyclists are very familiar with planning fatigue. Will the downtown mobility plan gather dust with so many other well intentioned studies and plans? We are optimistic that city staff will implement Civic San Diego’s plans. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has committed to building the cycle track network within 3 years as a part of his climate action plan. Bike San Diego will continue to advocate for a better downtown and a full implementation of the downtown mobility plan.