Biker on Pacific Highway

BikeSD Supports Your Journey by Bike

Bicycling can change the lives of people in San Diego by providing affordable and sustainable urban transportation. The number of communities benefiting from this form of transportation is growing every day, but we still have a lot to do before reaching our goal of providing safe and comfortable bicycle infrastructure in San Diego neighborhoods.

 

We are an organization of advocates and visionaries who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to the work of making San Diego a world class bicycling city. Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, religion, race or culture, we are committed to fairness, dignity, and respect for all who ride bicycles.

 

In that spirit, BikeSD is proudly riding in the Pride Parade to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible strides the LGBTQ community has made toward equality and in recognition of the work that is still continuing. BikeSD stands with those who are fighting for diversity and inclusion not just today, but all year round. No matter how you choose to identify or the path you are on, BikeSD supports your journey and will ride with you.

Inclusivity, Resilience, and Bicycles

Bicycling Research and Social Justice

Women, Trans, and Femmes bicyclists were reassured regarding their place in the bicycling community last week at the San Diego Regional Bike Summit. Ringing in day one of the San Diego Regional Bike Summit, keynote speaker Adonia Lugo, author of Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance led attendees on a journey through culture and mobility in Los Angeles. Lugo has spearheaded multiple projects across the nation, including but not limited to: advocating cycling for people of color and different socioeconomic backgrounds, strategizing multilayer approaches to urbanism with communities, and providing research so that “we create bridges between different bikers.” Her compelling concept of focusing on ‘core riders’ was one that opened discussions between attendees. Borrowing the term from the transit advocacy field, core riders “...are known to be the more frequent and regular users of transit. Such regular users make up most of transit usage. Transit planners should focus on core riders and those considered potential riders.” She continued to discuss that core riders also comprise those bicyclists that aren’t necessarily active in bicycle advocacy but need representation too. The concept of core bicycle riders is crucial to advocacy since they are the most prevalent users.

Check her out at urbanadonia.com for more information on her research background and ongoing work.

Adonia Lugo also co-authored The New Movement Bike Equity Today.

Resilience on Wheels

The theme of representation for core riders continued at the "Resilience on Wheels" session. Four advocates discussed their sense of place on the streets, representing different generations, ethnicities, and gender identities.

Tez de la Tierra discussed their educational classes as a means to use biking ‘as a tool of liberation’ through QTIBIPOC Spirit Bike Tours/Rides in the LA and San Diego areas. They highlighted the strong connection that biking provides with mother earth by experiencing the complexity of landscapes in detail and being able to create strategies to heal from oppression. Sharing their journey with others provides resources to persons who might not have the courage to jump on a bike and cruise.

Karissa Bo Bissa is a local artisan and a member of the SheWolves for over four years. Her story was one that focused on the importance of community and inclusivity that allows women/trans/femmes to feel comfortable bicycling on the streets. Being a SheWolf, she now experiences no boundaries on where she can take her body and bike. Check out SheWolves Facebook Page or Website to see upcoming rides.

Cresencia Garibo is a living example that ‘el querer es poder’ (to want is the power to be able to), learning to ride a bike at 62 years young! Growing up in Mexico she would rarely see women biking since riding a bike was considered to be only for men. She dreamt of learning to ride a bike from a young age and her desire never receded. She now uses bicycling as a therapeutic release.

These speakers bear witness to how much more work needs to be done by bicycle advocacy and transportation justice organizations in the area of gender and diversity equity. It is important for people who have been oppressed to be able to use public spaces, including the street space and have active mobility choices because that is what makes urban life great. By supporting one another and physically showing up, new opportunities will become accessible for women, trans, and others who have not felt the courage to do so by themselves. A successful bike system would provide equal resources and inclusivity to those of different types of backgrounds. A diverse community can provide a wide range of ideas and topics to ultimately understand what a comprehensive system for all would be.

Women/trans/femmes are underrepresented in active mobility and public space, but the San Diego Regional Bike Summit beautifully highlighted the presence that does exist in the community, research, and grassroot movements.

BikeSD continues to celebrate diversity and community by Biking With Pride in this year's The Parade - San Diego LGBT Pride

Date: July 14, 2018. Time: 11:00 am. Locations: The parade begins at the Hillcrest Pride Flag at University Ave. 
For more information on riding with us in the parade, email talk@bikesd.org

Hancock Street, San Diego CA

Save the Hancock Street Bike Lane

Hancock Street in Middletown

Given the photo above, you might be asking, "Save what bike lane?  All I see is another poorly-maintained San Diego street."  Well, the City is performing the "Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Update" for this area, and this wide, auto-oriented stretch of Hancock Street is set to receive a Class II (unbuffered) bike lane as part of the proposed Hancock Transit Corridor:

Hancock Transit Corridor is envisioned as a multiple-use and mixed-use corridor connected to the Washington Street Trolley Station and the historic Mission Brewery, with a diverse mix of residential, office, and retail uses. Residential development, which can include workforce and affordable housing, will activate the area and take advantage of nearby access to trolley service.

Unfortunately, businesses on Hancock have asked the city to remove the planned bike lane, not because any parking will be removed, but in order to *increase* the existing on-street parking. They are proposing a "Hancock Street Safeway" composed of reverse angle parking on both sides of the street, and sharrows, a bike symbol symbolic of token safety gestures.  At this time, we understand the bike lanes have been removed from the Community Plan as it goes to a final City Council vote, as this Planning Department graphic shows  

(Update, 06/05/2018 - City staff provided this correction: The City still supports the proposed Class II bike lane, but has been requested by the Smart Growth & Land Use Committee to do further research on whether it would be possible to accommodate both the Class II bike lane and the additional parking desired by the Hancock Street businesses. Planning staff is continuing to look into this with Transportation & Storm Water Department staff. But we still believe that the proposed Class II bike lane best implements the City’s Climate Action Plan goals and best meets the needs of bicyclists in the area.) 


More on that below. If you don't have time to read further, we're asking you to please email this letter of support for the bike lane to your district council member. Hundreds of emails in opposition have already been sent to the City.


Some background: this segment of Hancock Street runs through a largely industrial zone wedged between two highways (I-5 and Pacific Highway) and two rail lines (the San Diego Trolley and Amtrak/Coaster).  You can see the limited options for pedestrians and bicyclists to traverse this area, despite the nearby Washington Street trolley station (shown below) and Old Town Transit Center:

The Midway Pacific-Highway Community Plan Update is an update to the area's zoning and development plans, and calls for rezoning this area from industrial to very high residential densities, mixed with commercial space:

 

The Loft2015 apartment building, shown below, is the first example of how this area will be transformed into a mixed-use residential neighborhood adjacent to transit.  This means safely accommodating the pedestrians and bicyclists who will be living here, or using nearby transit, or just trying to get through this extremely bike-unfriendly area of San Diego.  The Community Plan does propose a cycle track and multi-purpose urban trail along nearby Pacific Highway, but the city has consistently failed to build facilities that require anything more than paint - and the usual lack of funding certainly applies here.  Building a cycle track along Pacific Highway would require redesigning high speed on- and off-ramps, and that's extremely costly.

The community plan's "Proposed Policies Related to Land Use", also shown below, explicitly describes why bike lanes are planned for this segment of Hancock: to support connections from housing to nearby transit.

Further, to reduce congestion and parking demand, we need to support travel modes other than just driving.

The Hancock Street Business Association says their Hancock Street Safeway will result in a "safer" Hancock street, and several of the dozens of comments in the community plan preliminary EIR imply that the shared street will be safer for bicyclists than the planned dedicated bike lanes:

Except sharrows aren't safer than dedicated bike lanes.  In fact, the presence of sharrows has been shown to make streets more dangerous to bicyclists than no markings at all, since it provides a false sense of security with symbols largely ignored by drivers.  During evening rush hour, Hancock becomes a dangerous alternate route to I-5 for aggressive drivers barreling down the street to the next on-ramp.  Dodging speeding two-ton vehicles isn't safer for bicyclists than riding in separated bike lanes.  And while the street would be narrowed under their Safeway proposal (with cars), this would also occur with bike lanes.

The Hancock Street Business Association has made significant progress in removing the bike lanes from the Community Plan.  Several HSBA representatives turned out to the April Midway Community Planning Board Meeting, and that board supported the businesses efforts to "explore opportunities to find more parking".  In response to this, City staff reached out to HSBA to discuss options for Traffic Demand Management.  Business owners were not willing to consider methods widely used to optimize existing spaces, such as timed parking and/or meters.

Next, a large number of HSBA representatives appeared at an April 26th City Planning Commission meeting and lobbied for more city-subsidized parking.  Commissioner James Whalen included a motion for removing the bike lane - after waxing on about his many years of partying at Hancock Street establishment Club Montage (now Spin) and explaining his new "healthier lifestyle":

Apparently Whalen's healthier lifestyle doesn't include biking.  The Planning Commission voted to support the HSBA's request to remove the bike lanes from the Community Plan.

Most recently, the City's Smart Growth and Land Use committee (Hancock Street is in committee member Lorie Zapf's district) heard this issue.  New BikeSD Executive Director Judi Tentor and board member Nicole Burgess attended the meeting and spoke in support of your riding safety.  Partly as a result of these efforts, the Smart Growth and Land Use committee did not support the recommendation for degrading the planned bicycle facility.

Update, 06/05/2018 from City staff: The City still supports the proposed Class II bike lane, but has been requested by the Smart Growth & Land Use Committee to do further research on whether it would be possible to accommodate both the Class II bike lane and the additional parking desired by the Hancock Street businesses. Planning staff is continuing to look into this with Transportation & Storm Water Department staff. But we still believe that the proposed Class II bike lane best implements the City’s Climate Action Plan goals and best meets the needs of bicyclists in the area. 

This issue goes to the full City Council on June 26.  BikeSD has written a letter in support of the Hancock Street Bikeway - please consider emailing this to your district council member.


Can we talk about parking? Over the past decade, there have probably been at least a dozen cases in San Diego where preserving or adding street parking has neutered badly-needed bike infrastructure. The Hancock Street Business Association responsible for this most recent example is composed of Vertical Hold Climbing Gym, Culture Shock Dance Center, San Diego Circus Center, Cali-Coast Elite Gymnastics, Bikram Yoga College, and Murphy Construction.  Vertical Hold has led the HSBA effort for the City to provide them with more free parking, so let's compare the off-street parking they provide versus other climbing gyms in San Diego.

Here's the Vertical Hold Climbing Gym parking lot, which they split with the Circus Center:

It appears to contain approximately one dozen parking spaces.  This is the parking lot for Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness near the intersection of I-8 and SR-163:

I would estimate their parking to be at least ten times that of Vertical Hold, with well over 100 spaces. This is the parking lot for Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness in Sorrento Mesa:

This lot is at least 5 times as large as Vertical Hold's, with well over 50 spaces.

If these other indoor climbing businesses in San Diego are paying for the parking required for their customers, why is the City of San Diego required to subsidize Vertical Hold with free parking, simply because they provide inadequate off-street parking?  It's unfair for bicyclists (many of whom also own vehicles and pay gax taxes) to risk their safety when they pay the same City general fund taxes as drivers that maintain our roads.

Further, the City is attempting to reduce vehicle miles travelled, increase bike and public transit use and improve bike/pedestrian safety.  Removing bike lanes to add more free street parking runs counter to these goals.  It also sets a terrible precedent for future Community Plan Updates.  So we ask the City Council to please restore retain the Hancock Street Class II bike lanes to in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Update.

 


SANDAG 2019 Regional Plan Transportation Themes Open Houses

SANDAG Regional Plan Transportation Themes

SANDAG is in the process of developing San Diego Forward: The 2019-2050 Regional Plan, which will outline the overarching vision for our region over the next 30 years. As part of this process, SANDAG is asking for your input on what you think the San Diego region’s transportation network should look like in the future and what transportation issues are most important for your quality of life. This survey is available through May 10.

TAKE THE SURVEY

You will have to write in BICYCLE many times on the survey questions. For example, to answer the question "What method(s) of transportation do you use during your daily commute? (Select all that apply.)," Walking and Biking are listed together under Active Transportation. Walking and Biking are transportation modes that use different infrastructure. Biking should be its own method of transportation, particularly with such an extensive list that, for example, separates Carpool and Vanpool and has separate categories for Bus and Rapid. There are three comment areas on the survey to comment and reiterate that bicycling is extremely important. Let’s make our voices heard.

There are several workshops scheduled, during which, SANDAG employees are available to answer questions at multiple poster stations. The graphics are highly engaging, but the content is generalized and informational and avoids serious discussions regarding Climate Action Plan or Vision Zero goals. Here is the schedule for the upcoming workshops:

North County Coastal: Wednesday, April 25 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Encinitas Public Library Community Room | 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas 92024

East County: Monday, April 30 from 3:30–5:30 p.m. El Cajon Police Department Community Room | 100 Civic Center Way, El Cajon 92020

South County: Tuesday, May 1 from 5–7 p.m. San Ysidro Civic Center | 212 W. Park Avenue, San Diego 92173

North County Inland: Wednesday, May 2 from 5–7 p.m.  Centro Universidad Popular | 1234 N. Santa Fe Ave, Suite 100 Vista 92083

Central San Diego: Thursday, May 3 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Jackie Robinson Family YMCA Community Room |  151 YMCA Way, San Diego 92102

CLICK HERE for supporting materials for the workshops.

I attended the last workshop and here are a some of my comments on the information stations:

Emerging Technologies

"Technology is evolving and has the potential to radically change our region’s transportation system." I am doubtful that technology will radically change the region’s transportation system away from a car-centric approach. Political will could radically change the system, but not technology. Additionally, there is some early research that indicates ride sharing services increase Vehicle Miles Traveled or VMT.

Regional Plan Overview

Overall the Transportation Themes lean heavily toward a continuing car-centric approach to transportation. The Regional Economic Prosperity Objective includes "investing in transportation projects that provide access for all communities to a variety of jobs with competitive wages." And the Policy Objectives for Environmental Stewardship include making "...transportation investments that result in cleaner air, environmental protection, conservation, efficiency, and sustainable living and address climate change." How do these two policies interact? How is success measured for these policies?

Climate Change and Environment

On the poster "Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Passenger Vehicles and Electricity," the regional plan calls for allocating funding to electric vehicle charging stations while the "Local Efforts" poster calls for promoting public transit access, active transportation, parking management, and complete streets.

What Do We Want to Promote?

What does “Promote” mean? I would like to see “allocate funding for public transit access, active transportation, and complete streets.” Throw out parking management which is a euphemism for “make parking easier”—which promotes driving.

Healthy Communities

This station explains all the benefits from Policies and Strategies if local jurisdictions invest in transportation infrastructure that maximizes public health benefits, social interaction, and community cohesion. The benefits are numerous for increased access to active transportation and public transit, and walkable and bikeable neighborhoods.

Performance Measures

"Performance Measures" are a series of questions in several categories. For example, "Innovative Mobility & Planning Goals" includes these three questions:

1. Is delay reduced?
2. Are more people walking, biking, using transit, and sharing rides?
3. Is the transportation system safer?

These are great questions, the key is how will they translate into performance measures? And how much money will be allocated to measuring the goals?

Please attend a workshop in your region or take the online survey and type BIKES!


Judi Tentor on her bike

Join us in welcoming our new Executive Director

We are thrilled to announce that Judi Tentor has accepted the position of Executive Director for Bike San Diego. Judi will be working with John Anderson, interim ED, to transition into the role over the next month. Please feel free to reach out to her at director@bikesd.org and stay tuned for our next member meet-up (details to come) to meet her in person.

About Judi Tentor

Judi TentorJudi lives in Mission Hills, grows a lot of food in her garden, and gets around by bicycle as much as possible. She has been navigating the streets of San Diego by bicycle and transit since 2008 when she sold her Honda Element. Her passion for the environment and sustainability drives her everyday actions. Riding a bicycle, she believes, is more than a fun activity, but also a tool for transportation as well as a solution to environmental, social equity and health issues that matter to her.

Judi is also a Cycling Instructor (LCI #5098) certified by the League of American Bicyclists, the oldest bicycle advocacy org in the US. She teaches beginner classes for adults learning how to ride for the first time and traffic skills classes for intermediate riders through nonprofit organizations. She is an advocate for active transportation and a feminist, hoping to inspire more women to ride bicycles for the benefit of their health, spirit, and the planet.

As a bicyclist, advocate and cycling instructor, she has been leading efforts to get more bicycle infrastructure in San Diego. She currently serves on the board of the Mission Hills Town Council. When not pedaling and sometimes while pedaling, Judi takes photographs of people riding bicycle and bicycle infrastructure around the world. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from SUNY ESF and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from The Ohio State University, and was awarded a Comprehensive Bikeway Design Certificate from Portland State University.