Road Standards Hearing this Friday – Your input is needed

Kathy Keehan, the executive director for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, is urging all bicyclists in San Diego County to attend the road standard hearing this Friday, October 23rd or at the very least offer comments (see the last paragraph of this post). The hearing will be held at:

The DPLU Hearing Room,
5201 Ruffin Road, Suite B,
San Diego, CA.

Kathy says, “The standards they are proposing are better than what it out there now (they call for 5-8 foot shoulders on all roads), but not as good as they could be (they allow parking in a lot of those shoulders so they wouldn’t be much good for bike use). ”

She elaborated further:

“In San Diego County they are almost universally a double sign – no parking and bike lane. We don’t usually have to worry too much about the bike lane/parking situation, unless it is people violating the parking restriction. It’s rare that we have bike lanes that allow parking. With the County Road Standards, the shoulders will almost all not be bike lanes, but simply shoulders. That’s what makes it possible for people to park in them. It’s a tricky situation for the County, because you have so many different types of roads –

1. Rural roads between villages. These roads are long, don’t have a lot of driveways or intersections, and don’t have a lot of signage. For many of these a shoulder acts almost the same as a bike lane (except at intersections). It would not be used for parking since there isn’t really any demand for parking along those stretches of road. There might be an occasional car or pedestrian on the shoulder, but for the most part these would be pretty much left to the bikes.

2. Village main streets. These are short stretches of roadway through the middle of rural community centers. They tend to have lower speed limits (hopefully!), but more demand for on-street parking. In these cases, there might be a need for extra space to be added to the right of way to accommodate space for parking or bicyclists, depending on the configuration of the road. These are the main points of contention on the standards, because the current and proposed standards design these roads with wide lanes, no bike facilities, on-street parking, and fairly high design speeds. These would be tough streets to ride on.

3. Little residential streets. These don’t need bike lanes or any bike facility really, but they need to be designed to keep traffic speeds low in residential areas. And they need to allow on-street parking so people can park in front of their homes.

4. Large expressways. These are alternatives to the freeways, and tend to be in more urban parts of the county but go through unincorporated communities. Scripps Poway Parkway is a good example. These are multilane arterials, will have shoulders, and will probably not have parking since they are high speed roads.

Right now the standards specify that if a street is called out in the bike plan as having a bike lane, then an additional 10 feet of right of way (five feet on each side) is needed to accommodate both the bike lane and the parking. Unfortunately, the bike plan does not have every street that needs a bike lane on it. So there could potentially be a bunch of streets that need bike lanes that wouldn’t get them under the standards. Our proposal is to change the wording so that if parking is required, an additional 12 feet of right of way would be required. We’ll see if the Planning Commission goes for it.

To support having bicyclists accommodated on EVERY county road, send an email to Thanks the planning commissioners for their hard work on putting together the road standards and encourage them to adopt road standards that make sure bicyclists can ride safely on every county road. Please cc me ( on the email so I have a sense of how many emails end up going to the commissioners. Please be sure to email them as early as possible, but certainly by Thursday (10/22) evening.”

Feel free to copy the email below:

Subject: bicyclists should be accommodated on EVERY road in San Diego County

Dear Ms. Jones,

First I wanted to offer my gratitude for all the hard work you and other planning commissioners have done in putting together the road standards hearing. To further improve the quality of life that San Diego County offers its residents while ensuring compliance with the California Complete Streets Act of 2008, all roadways in San Diego County should be designed to accommodate all users of the roads.

As you are aware, a year ago, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the California Complete Streets Act of 2008. The law will require all cities and counties in California to ensure that local transportation plans account for the needs of all roadway users by 2011. These roadway users include not just motorists but also, pedestrians, transit riders, children, older people, disabled people as well as bicyclists like myself.

To ensure compliance with the Complete Streets Act, it is imperative that the wording of the county road standards be changed to require an additional 12 feet of right of way on every road that parking is permitted. This will not only ensure compliance with the California Complete Streets Act by 2011 but also ensure that San Diego’s quality of life will be an inspiration for the rest of the country to emulate.