B Street

B Street bike lanes are an exhibit of the City's passive aggressive attitude toward cyclists

Last week while riding back after a meeting, I turned onto B Street and saw empty trash and recycling bins placed in the bike lanes by the City's Environmental Services Department.

B Street Bike Lanes - A Holding Cell for Trash and Recycling Bins

This is a perfect example of how cyclists are treated by the City, completely ignored. When I last contacted the Environmental Services Department this problem last September, I was told that my comments were forwarded to Mr. Menzore Brassfield who is the district supervisor.

Last week, I mentioned this problem to Kevin Faulconer, District 2 Council Member. He was kind enough to follow up on this issue and last night learned the following:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/kevin_faulconer/status/172180763687653376"]

So now this appears to be an enforcement issue where one City agency has to enforce the vehicle code against another agency and waste valuable time, energy and money for no good reason. Perhaps what we really need is a dramatic depiction not unlike how Casey Neistat was able to convey his message of the nuisance involved in dealing with obstacles in the bike lane.

UPDATE: Council Member Faulconer provided additional information on how to report blocked bike lanes.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/kevin_faulconer/status/172451085007593473"]

To report trash bins in bike lanes here is the phone number to call:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/kevin_faulconer/status/172450215897481217"]


Uptown Planners Vote to make India Street Safer for all Road Users

I attended the Uptown Planners Meeting earlier tonight to listen to how the Uptown Planners Board would vote on the issue of removing 137 parking spaces on India Street and Kettner Blvd in order to install bike lanes going northbound and southbound.

Over a hundred people were in attendance to offer their support or opposition to the installation of bike lanes.

The Uptown Planners is the city-recognized community-planning advisory board for the neighborhoods of Bankers Hill/Park West, Middletown, Mission Hills, Hillcrest, and University Heights (west of Park Boulevard). Their Board voted against removing the automobile parking spaces because of business opposition against the removal. However, they voted to recommend installation of lighting in the tunnel that goes under the 5 to ensure the safety of cyclists who ride the corridor. Additionally they voted to recommend that traffic calming measures be implemented on India Street and that a feasible alternative for cyclists ought to be made a priority. They voted to have the 35mph speed limit enforced so that sharrows, if painted, could be effective rather than a liability.

All in all, it was a successful vote for cyclists that will ensure that we're one step closer to making India Street (which was under the ruling of the Uptown Planners) safer for all users.


What can we learn from Davis' bicycling advocates?

I had the opportunity to meet with Christa Clark-Jones recently. She and I had a long conversation relating to bicycle advocacy and the gradual shift in the U.S. from an environment that is more auto-centric to people-centric. As a graduate of University of California, Davis, Christa had much to say on Davis being a bike friendly city. I was very interested in her observations and knowledge about Davis' history and I think Davis has some valuable lessons that we, in San Diego, could learn.

Davis, CA is known for being "Bike City, USA." The bicycle infrastructure and high bicycle commuting numbers, make this city a model for cities all over the U.S. But I've been very curious on what Davis was like before the city's infrastructure was revamped to include bicycles as a viable and valid mode of transportation?

Frank and Eve Child. Davis bicycle Advocates. Photo from ucdavis.edu
Frank and Eve Child. Davis bicycle Advocates. Photo from ucdavis.edu

In the 1960s, Davis was the first city in the U.S. to have bike lanes. In 2005, it became the first city to receive the Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists. Portland, OR and Boulder, CO soon followed afterward. But what made Davis the first "Bike City, USA"?

It all began when two Davis residents, Frank and Eve Child  returned home to Davis after a sabbatical in the Netherlands in 1963. The couple was inspired by the bicycle infrastructure in the Netherlands and wanted to create the same environment in Davis. So they formed a bike advocacy group and began a movement that was very much a grassroots effort that eventually resulted in pro-bicycle residents winning the elections to represent the city at the City Council level.

This victory in politics resulted in the city experimenting with some of the nation's first bicycle infrastructure. Road reconfigurations were made,  and policies specific to cyclists were written and included in the city's General Plan. Bicyclists were finally legitimate users of the roadways. Much of what was designed and implemented in Davis became a model for cities and towns everywhere else in the country.

However by the start of the twenty first century, bicycle mode share had begun to drop noticeably. Car usage was beginning to simultaneously increase. The reasons for the drop in cycling was easy to spot. The political will that existed in the 1960s had deteriorated, and solutions to increase bicycle mode share were unknown and the bicycle advocacy movement had lost its momentum.

Thankfully, Davis has begun to recognize and reverse the decline. The University in Davis has policies that discourage freshman from owning automobiles as they cannot obtain parking permits.  The city in conjunction with the university has plentiful bicycle parking throughout the city. The city has lowered fines for cycling offences, and police officers give away blinky lights to those who don't own them. 95% of the city's arterial streets have bike lanes and the city continus to innovate with bicycle-centric infrastructure in an effort to continue encouraging and promoting bicycle use. Best of all, the city understands the increasing benefits of investing in bicycle based infrastructure and continues to expand and promote bicycle use agressively - a strategy that many other cities and states are beginning to realize. San Diego will do well to heed to how investing in bicycle infrastructure and promoting bicycling will pay off in spades.


Help create a bike parking map

Bike Parking in Hillcrest. Flickr/dorkula
Bike Parking in Hillcrest. Flickr/dorkula

I thought I'd note down the bike parking spaces for my own records, but then realized that others could also benefit from a bike parking map. I've created a map open for collaboration where I'd like for us all to track and note the bike parking spots that is specifically designated as a bike parking spots (and not a lamp post or stop sign pole).

Too often it can be frustrating to reach a destination and find that the only options to secure one's bike is to a tree or a lamp post. I'm hoping that by tracking bike parking spots in the city, we can use this data to pressure other businesses and organizations to designate and create more bike parking spots.

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Despite the date, this is not a joke project.