A response to Hillcrest Business Association’s Campaign against Uptown Bikeway

Hillcrest, San Diego Sign

Our friends at Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) have resumed their social media push to gut San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Uptown bikeway. While tempting to ignore the HBA’s stale talking points, we recognize their prior effectiveness in preventing bike lanes. They successfully lobbied SANDAG to eliminate the planned protected bike lanes on University Ave in western Hillcrest.

Therefore, here is a brief bullet response to HBA’s recent social media effort.

1) This is not a “bikeway to nowhere.” The planned protected lanes on 4th & 5th will take bicyclist from Downtown to Hillcrest. This will connect to planned improvements past the hospitals to Bachmann and into Mission Valley. If anything, HBA lobbying reduced the utility of the network by creating a hole in the network on University in 2015.  

2) The HBA appears to be claiming the segment from 4th/5th to 3rd on Washington St is unsafe. If HBA is claiming  these blocks of Washington St are unsafe, SANDAG and the city should take action to remedy this problem. However, back in 2014, the HBA believed Washington was a preferred alternative to planned route on University. After they successfully created a hole in network on University, they believe Washington St is dangerous.  

3) While the HBA focuses on parking losses of about 16 spaces in the Hillcrest core, they neglect to mention the hundreds of empty spaces  SANDAG identified in a single Hillcrest garage. The also neglect to mention the 4th & 5th cycletracks will create 55 additional spaces throughout the length of the route.

4) The HBA has taken a recent Voice of San Diego story out context. One traffic engineer did express concern that mode share goals were “not based on anything.” However, if you read the city’s Climate Action Plan, the basis for the mode share is clearly articulated in the appendix. The entire plan identifies the reduction in greenhouse gases for each strategy identified to reach the city’s goal of eliminating half of all greenhouse gases. Thankfully, this policy was written by  environmental policy wonks, not traffic engineers. The VOSD story simply highlights the internal struggle of city staff to buy into the new city policy.  

5) The HBA has stated that bike lanes harm businesses. This is simply not based on facts. Even our local San Diego Union Tribune concluded, “Bike lanes, even when they displace parking spots, make little impact on the numbers of customers for local businesses”.

6) In July 2016, the Hillcrest Business Association attempted to stall the Uptown Bikeway by preventing the environmental approval at a SANDAG board meeting. Former City Councilmember Todd Gloria remarked  any further gaps in the planned  bikeway would just cause opponents to attack the remaining segments in Mission Hills, Old town and Eastern Hillcrest. Gloria’s  assertion that bikeway opponents (led by HBA) will never be satisfied has been confirmed by the HBA renewed social media push.  

As Hillcrest Business Association mobilizes its significant resources to pressure Councilmember Chris Ward ( christopherward@sandiego.gov ) and Mayor Kevin Faulconer ( kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov ), please thank these elected officials for supporting safe streets in Hillcrest. (Include BikeSD on your communications, talk@bikesd.org). Or if you prefer twitter for communication, @ChrisWardD3  and @Kevin_Faulconer (still, include us @bikesd).