Gilman entrance of UCSD

Letter on new UCSD campus policy about the use of micromobility devices

Dear Vice Chancellor Matthews,

We appreciate the opportunity to provide feedback on UCSD’s proposed campus policy on the use of micromobility devices, announced on November 5, 2019 [1]. The policy would establish several new rules and regulations regarding the operation of scooters, bicycles, and other small devices on UCSD campus. The need to create a safe environment for all members of the campus community and UCSD visitors is clear: with expected growth reaching 65,000-plus students, staff and faculty, getting into and around campus will be increasing complex. This policy represents an important opportunity to set expectations of campus users — through commonsense stipulations such as being able to operate safely under different conditions and yielding right of way to pedestrians — but could be expanded to help address many underlying issues that result in conflicts on a daily basis.

First, well-recognized principles of urban infrastructure design inform us that providing safe facilities where people want to walk and ride is vastly more effective and equitable than outlawing and diverting these modes [2]. Modern urban transportation plans thus aim to provide balance among the various uses of public roadways, and in particular separate traffic moving at vastly different speeds, such as through the use of off-street paths and protected bicycle lanes. Currently, UCSD campus facilities do not provide a level of ease of circulation for people regardless of whether they are walking, riding or biking. Most destinations are not connected by bike paths where riders can avoid mingling with pedestrians, and main desire lines either prohibit riding or are shared use without any signed or designated areas for riders. Construction activity throughout campus is not fully mitigated, leaving narrower and less convenient paths for everyone. We therefore urge the administration to adopt proactive infrastructural approaches to provide physical and/or marked separation between pedestrian and micromobility modes on campus, facilitating all desire lines.

Second, due to the sprawling footprint of campus, entry points via public transit are far from many campus destinations. While parking is a perennial complaint, it remains the case that most buildings have parking options within five minutes walk, while bus stops of high-volume routes can be 15 or more minutes away. As the growing community opts to take public transit, using micromobility to and from these entry points will be increasingly attractive, adding to the complexities with enforcing restrictions on their use. The trolley extension will only intensity this conflict: the nearest stop to The Village dormitory, Pepper Canyon, will be more than 25 minutes away. We propose that safe and convenient paths for micromobility are established from all existing and future transit entry points to all major campus destinations, taking advantage of both perimeter and throughcampus routes. 

Finally, major roads surrounding campus for the most part lack adequate facilities for micromobility users. Genesee Ave, Gilman Drive, and N. Torrey Pines Road, among others, have dangerous, unprotected lanes next to fast-moving traffic. The UTC area, where a large fraction of off-campus students live, is only two miles from campus and yet lacks safe routes to get to class. In spite of these drawbacks, the University community sees rates of bicycle use over two times the city and county of San Diego [2]. This need must be met with sustained support and encouragement for people to leave their cars at home when commuting to campus. Best practice for roads with speeds regularly exceeding 25 mph and 6000 cars per day is to establish protected bicycle lanes with vertical barriers or raised elevation from motor vehicle traffic [3]. We urge UCSD to work with the City of San Diego and SANDAG to create safe, protected micromobility routes for all ages and abilities to all destinations within at least two miles of campus. 

Let us reiterate that we strongly support ensuring the safety of all people traveling around campus. We believe this can be done in a non-punitive manner that creates and reinforces a welcoming environment for everyone to commute to and around campus via a range of alternative transportation modes. We look forward to working with you to achieve this vision. 

Sincerely,

Michael Davidson, Assistant Professor, UC San Diego
Paul Jamason, IT Services, UC San Diego; Board Member, BikeSD

On behalf of BikeSD, an independent, non-governmental, nonprofit advocacy organization. Our mission: To establish San Diego as a world-class bicycling city and create a more livable urban community by promoting everyday riding and advocating for bicycling infrastructure. https://bikesd.org/ 

 

References

[1]: “Proposed Addition to UC San Diego Policy and Procedure Manual (PPM).” November 2019. UC San Diego. http://adminrecords.ucsd.edu/ppm/micromobility.html

[2]: Toole, Jennifer, & Bettina Zimny. “Transportation Planning Handbook, Ch. 16: Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities.” Federal Highway Administration, US Department of Transportation, Washington, DC. https://nacto.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Transportation-Planning-Handbook-Bicycle-and-Pedestrian-Facilities.pdf

[3]: University Community Plan Update: Existing Conditions Summary. April 2018. City of San Diego. https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/final_university_cpu_ecr_report.pdf

[4]: Designing for All Ages & Abilities: Contextual Guidance for High-Comfort Bicycle Facilities. December 2017. National Association of City Transportation Officials. https://nacto.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/12/NACTO_Designing-for-All-Ages-Abilities.pdf


Upon completion of the western segment of W. Pt Loma this fall, biking options will look like this. Explore the W. Pt Loma + Sports Arena Blvd corridor in this google map.

Completion of the West Point Loma Blvd Cycletrack (eastern segment)

Looking west down W. Point Loma Blvd towards Adrian St.
Photo looking west down W. Point Loma Blvd towards Adrian St. showing some of the new 2019 bike lane striping.

Returning from scientific meetings and a holiday in July, I found the eastern span of the W. Pt Loma Blvd cycletrack completed (Adrian Street to Sports Arena Blvd). This is reason to celebrate. I’m personally happy because my partner’s daily commute to work is safer, and she already sees more bicycle and scooter riders on the track. As a community, Point Loma is one major step closer to having a fully connected bike way between Ocean Beach and Old Town Station. The San Diego River Bikeway currently connects these nodes, but for those that want to access the restaurants, breweries, businesses or neighborhoods between Old Town and OB, this new cycletrack on W. Pt Loma is a potential game changer.

Upon completion of the western segment of W. Pt Loma this fall, biking options will look like this.
Upon completion of the western segment of W. Pt Loma this fall, biking options will look like this. Explore the W. Pt Loma + Sports Arena Blvd corridor in this google map.

The new cycletrack offers slow and fast riders space to safely maneuver, and generally increases the visibility of traffic at intersections. Turning left across W. Pt Loma is easier than before in the stretches where there is now one full speed (35 mph) travel lane, rather than two, to reach the center turn lane.

There is still room for improvement in the westbound direction as riders cross from Sports Arena Blvd onto W. Pt Loma Blvd. Across the interchange, westbound traffic changes from two travel lanes and a bicycle lane, to two travel lanes with bicycle sharrows, until the street widens back to separated bike lane after clearing the southbound left turn lane. I was taught in driver’s ed to never change lanes within an intersection, and regularly encounter confusion between cyclists and drivers over how to merge through this intersection.

Corner detail of West Point Loma Blvd and Sports Arena Blvd

All in all, I enjoy this new W Pt. Loma route more than ever. I look forward to completion of the western segment so that I too can enjoy a safer daily commute. I often pass people or dogs walking in the new cycletrack, and with ample space to pass, it feels like the street is more accessible to all. The western segment will also improve Rue de Orleans and W. Pt Loma Blvd - one of the more dangerous intersections identified as one of the ‘Fatal 15’ locations where repeat fatalities occur. These ‘Fatal 15’ inform the city’s Vision Zero approach for targeted pedestrian safety improvements.

 

Help BikeSD bring safer streets for all San Diegans
Yes! I want to support BikeSD and their their advocacy work!

Action Item: Send a Letter in Support of 30th Street Protected Bike Lanes

Action Item: Send a Letter in Support of 30th Street Protected Bike Lanes

Click here to send an email right now

EVEN BETTER:
Write your own personal message to kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov and christopherward@sandiego.gov. Modify this sample letter and copy/paste to your personal email app:

 

Greetings Mayor Faulconer and Representative Ward,

I support adding protected bike infrastructure to 30th Street in North Park. Thank you for your leadership and efforts to bring these improvements to our community. There are many benefits that these lanes bring, especially for health, environmental, and economic benefits. These myriad benefits extend beyond the bike and scooter riders who use the bike lanes, which can result in safer streets for all, less congestion, and ultimately less competition for already limited parking spaces.

Many of the business owners along the 30th Street corridor will benefit from increased business and foot traffic through their stores. There is significant precedent for cycle infrastructure increasing business revenue.

To help reach our City’s climate action goals, investing in protected bikeways along neighborhood commercial streets like 30th Street is critical. Protected bikeways allow safe travel for people of all ages and will allow more people to choose environmentally beneficial mobility options like scooter and bike instead of making a car trip.

San Diego has the weather, the geography, and the existing road space to become a world class walking, biking, and scootering city. I’m excited to see how all of our communities can become connected through investments like the protected bikeways along 30th Street.

Sincerely,

_____________

Action-Alert-30th-D3

Send a letter in support of 30th Street protected bike lanes right now

Send a letter in support of 30th Street protected bike lanes right now

Click here to send an email right now

Writing your own personal message to kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov and christopherward@sandiego.gov is always better, but here’s a sample letter you can modify:

 

Greetings Mayor Faulconer and Representative Ward,

Thank you for supporting the plan to add protected bike infrastructure to 30th Street in North Park. There are numerous benefits to the community, spanning health, environmental, and economic considerations. There are myriad benefits for communities that extend beyond the bike and scooter riders who use the cycletracks, which can result in safer streets for all, less congestion, and ultimately less competition for already limited parking spaces.

Many of the business owners along the 30th Street corridor will benefit from increased business and foot traffic through their stores. There is significant precedent for cycle infrastructure increasing business revenue.

To help reach our City’s climate action goals, investing in protected bikeways along neighborhood commercial streets like 30th Street is critical. Protected bikeways allow safe travel for people of all ages and will allow more people to choose environmentally beneficial mobility options like scooter and bike instead of making a car trip. As the cost of gasoline continues to rise, the return on this investment will be invaluable to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

San Diego has the weather, the geography, and the existing road space to become a world class walking, biking, and scootering city through smart design and planning. I’m excited to see how all of our communities can become connected through future  investments like the protected bikeways along 30th Street.

Sincerely,

_____________

Action-Alert-30th-D3

Protected bike lanes on 30th Street

Letter in support of protected bike lanes on 30th Street in North Park

BikeSD member Matt Schalles sent this email and we wanted to share. Support protected bike lanes on 30th Street by sending your own message today to kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov and christopherward@sandiego.gov.

 

Protected bike lanes on 30th Street

Greetings Mayor Faulconer and Representative Ward,

Thank you for supporting the plan to add protected bike infrastructure to 30th Street in North Park. There are numerous benefits to the community, spanning health, environmental, and economic considerations. There are myriad benefits for communities that extend beyond the cyclists who use the cycletracks, which can result in safer streets for all, less congestion, and ultimately less competition for already limited parking spaces.

I wonder how many of the business owners along the corridor would benefit from increased business and foot traffic through their stores? There is significant precedent for cycle infrastructure increasing business revenue.

Cycling infrastructure is an investment. To help reach our goals for increased bicycle ridership, we need to first provide the infrastructure. Data from the UK, which has heavily invested in cycling infrastructure in the past few years, showed increases as large as 50-75% in two years after installation of cycletracks. As the cost of gasoline continues to rise, the return on this investment will be invaluable to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

San Diego has the weather, the geography, and the existing road space to become a world class biking city through smart design and planning. I'm excited to see how all of our communities can become connected through future bicycling investments.

Sincerely,
Matt Schalles

Support BikeSD's advocacy by becoming a member today