See what its like to ride the notorious Washington Street uphill

 

BikeSD Advocates Ride Washington Street, not for fun

After a 65 year old cyclist was killed in a hit and run accident, BikeSD has been working to address Uptown bicycle route safety and get a previously deleted bike lane restored.  In the first few seconds of this video its easy to see how the dangerous design of this roadway resulted in death.  Our team had a few close calls themselves.

The current Class III painted “sharrows” in the second eastbound travel lane are not recommended by the State of California for speed limits above 35 MPH. However the posted speed limit is 45 MPH, and in the video cars can be seen travelling 55 MPH or more, with some motorists even exceeding 70 MPH.   Forcing bicyclists into dangerous, high-speed traffic on a steep incline like this is a recipe for disaster. The City is also not notifying motorists that the road contains a bike lane, as the signage that was posted on the hillside has been removed, and the street cycling symbol on the road has been painted over. Along with being a designated ‘Bike Route’, Washington Street is the main connector to the Washington Street Trolley Station for residents of Mission Hills, Hillcrest and Bankers Hill.

We sent a letter to the Mayor asking the city to immediately address public safety hazards on the Uptown bicycle route at eastbound Washington Street and return the Class II bicycle facility on the south side of the road. We will continue to ask that the City prioritize residents’ lives and well-being over a dozen free parking spaces.

Help us restore the Washington Street bike lane until the completion of the SANDAG Washington Street Bikeway in this area. Contact your councilmember or the mayor’s office and tell them to restore the bike lane on Washington Street.

SEE THE LETTER HERE


MEDIA ADVISORY: Advocates Call on Mayor Faulconer and City of San Diego to Replace Painted Over Bike Lane After Hit & Run

     

 

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES: Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 11 AM

MEDIA CONTACT: Kyle Heiskala

Phone: (619) 300-9484
Email: director@bikesd.org

M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y

Advocates Call on Mayor Faulconer and City of San Diego to Replace Painted Over Bike Lane After Hit & Run

 

WHAT: Press conference with bicycle safety advocates to call on the City of San Diego and Mayor Faulconer to immediately address the dangerous situation on Washington Street and to replace a bike lane which was painted over to add parking. As a result of the existing unsafe conditions, a 66-year old bicyclist riding eastbound on Washington on August 21st, 2020 was struck by a car and critically injured and the driver fled the scene. 

 

WHO: Bicycle Advocacy Organization Representatives

  • BikeSD

  • San Diego County Bicycle Coalition

  • San Diego Mountain Biking Association

 

WHEN: Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 11:00 am

 

WHERE: 3754 Columbia St, San Diego, CA 92103 - Intersection of Columbia St and Andrews St

 

More information: The bike lane symbols formerly in this location were painted over to add free street parking. As a result, a 66-year old bicyclist riding eastbound on Washington on August 21st, 2020 was struck by a car and critically injured and the driver fled the scene. View SDPD video on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/SanDiegoPD/status/1297338194921320448?s=20

 

Last year, 44 pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle and motorcycle drivers lost their lives unnecessarily on San Diego streets and six bicyclists have been hit since 2012 near the Washington St and India St intersection. The current Class III painted “sharrows” in the second eastbound travel lane are not recommended by the State of California for speed limits above 35 MPH.  However, the posted speed limit is 45 MPH, and a speed study of the corridor showed traffic speeds averaging 55 MPH or more, with some motorists traveling 70 MPH.

 

BikeSD https://bikesd.org/ | San Diego County Bicycle Coalition https://sdbikecoalition.org/
San Diego Mountain Biking Association https://sdmba.com/

 

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Download

Letter Sent to the Mayor to Support a Safe Bicycle Facility on Washington Street

Dear Mayor Kevin Faulconer & City Staff,

We request the City of San Diego immediately address the public safety hazard on eastbound Washington Street (east of India Street) by returning the Class II bicycle facility to the breakdown lane on the south side of the road. The bike lane symbols formerly in this location were painted over without City permission, to add free street parking. As a result, a 66-year old bicyclist riding eastbound on Washington on August 21st, 2020 was struck by a car and critically injured and the driver fled the scene.

This segment of Washington was identified by the City as a “High Priority Bicycle Project” in the 2013 Bicycle Master Plan, and is a designated City bike route. SANDAG also identified the Washington Street Bikeway in its 2012 Early Action Plan, but opposition to the Bikeway from local business districts necessitated costly studies and additions to the project, delaying Bikeway construction until 2022.

The current Class III painted “sharrows” in the second eastbound travel lane are not recommended by the State of California for speed limits above 35 MPH. However the posted speed limit is 45 MPH, and a speed study of the corridor showed traffic speeds averaging 55 MPH or more, with some motorists even exceeding 70 MPH. The City is forcing bicyclists into dangerous, high-speed traffic on a steep incline. Further, the City is not notifying motorists that the road contains a bike lane, as the signage that was posted on the hillside has been removed, and the street cycling symbol on the road has been painted over. Washington Street is the main connector to the Washington Street Trolley Station for residents of Mission Hills, Hillcrest and Bankers Hill. The City of San Diego’s requirement to reduce vehicle miles travelled, and its Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero goals are further reasons to address this corridor’s safety hazards, where six bicyclists have been hit since 2012.

We ask that the City prioritize residents’ lives and well-being over a dozen free parking spaces. Please restore the Washington Street bike lane until the completion of the SANDAG Washington Street Bikeway in this area.

Sincerely,


A Vision for Texas Street

By Nevo Magnezi, BikeSD Board Secretary

On August 18, 2019, Tom Morris, a man with a walker, was killed due to traffic violence while trying to cross Texas St in North Park. On November 17 of the same year, a 33-year old man was killed, also trying to cross Texas St, this time by a big rig truck. They join 6,590 other Americans who were killed in 2019, doing something that comes naturally to all of us: getting around on foot. Indeed, 2019 saw the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the United States since 1988.

Other cities in developed countries don’t seem to have this issue. Oslo and Helsinki saw zero pedestrian deaths in 2019. This success is not because our Nordic friends are less likely to jaywalk. Rather, it is because urban planners in those places design their built environment to be safer and more forgiving to human error. The tired excuses that San Diego is so distinct from other places that we must simply accept the killing of our community members cannot be tolerated. We can and must do better to make our entire transportation system safer.

So what makes Texas Street so deadly? Between wide streets, heavy traffic, insufficient pedestrian crossings, and a complete lack of any biking infrastructure, Texas Street is not designed for humans in mind.

 

What Texas Street looks like today between University Ave and Madison Ave.

 

As city planners know well, speed kills. The National Association of City Transportation Officials, or NACTO, recommends that lane widths be 10 feet in urban areas to reinforce a 25mph speed limit, or 11 feet for designated bus and truck routes such as Texas St. The current distance from the edge of the street parked cars and the line delineating the center turn lane is 14 feet. The city must reinforce a design that truly limits vehicle speeds to 25mph, and that means ensuring lanes are only as wide as their intended use.

The relationship between speed and fatality risk. Provided by NACTO.

With two 11 foot vehicle lanes, the pedestrian crossing distance, should naturally be no more than 22 feet. By implementing mini-roundabouts, as done on Meade Ave, in conjunction with pedestrian refuge islands and curb extensions, the pedestrian crossing distance can be reduced to 11 feet at intersections. Furthermore, raised continental crosswalks implemented at every intersection could further increase the visibility of pedestrians and provide much needed mobility to disabled folks who currently cannot cross at many of the intersections.

 

Intersections on Texas Street could someday look something like this (though with a more compact roundabout design). Provided by Bike East Bay.

With each vehicle lane width of 11 feet and 7-8 feet for street parking, that leaves 16 feet left on this 52 foot wide street. We believe that the best use of the remainder of the street width would be for two 8 foot wide cycletracks, including buffer, adjacent to the curb. Similar designs of sandwiching cycletracks between the sidewalk and street parking have successfully been implemented in many other cities as well as downtown. We note that the North Park Community plan calls for a class II bike lane facility, which makes sense, as in addition to being a bus, truck, vehicle, and pedestrian route between North Park and Mission Valley, Texas Street is also a bike route and has class II bike lanes north of Madison Avenue.  That being said, we believe a class IV cycletrack is more appropriate for Texas street between Madison Avenue & University Ave because of the NACTO recommendation that streets with a speed of 25mph and an average daily traffic volume of greater than 6,000 vehicles be equipped with protected bike lanes, in order to become a facility suitable for all ages and abilities.

 

 

Finally, we would like to note that we think it would be great to keep the approximately 98 public street parking spaces, according to our count, on Texas St between Madison Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard, as well as points south. Parked cars can further provide protection and limit speeds by making the lane feel even narrower to drivers, and offer convenience to those who drive in the neighborhood. However, our top priorities must be satisfying our vision zero and climate action plan goals. Ultimately, we defer to the expertise of our city planners in determining how much street parking can be maintained.

No doubt, building roundabouts, protected bike lanes, and extending curbs will be costly. While BikeSD is not qualified in estimating the total cost, it is worth noting that in 2013, the state of California determined the economic loss associated with each traffic violence death to be 1.32 million dollars. With two deaths and twenty five reported injuries since the beginning of 2018, building a safer Texas Street will be a steal in comparison to doing nothing. The state provides funding for jurisdictions to build complete streets through SB-1, however so far the city has not used any of that money explicitly for that purpose. We ask that the City of San Diego use all available funding sources, including SB-1, in order to ensure that Texas Street becomes safe for users of all ages and abilities.


People carrying a table to a parking space.

Send a Letter to the Mayor & City Council to Show your Support for Open Air Dining San Diego

Send a Letter to the Mayor & City Council to Show your Support for Open Air Dining San Diego to Help Businesses Utilize the Public Right of Way during COVID-19

A diverse group of organizations is requesting that the Mayor and City Council consider changes to the special events permits to allow dining and physical distancing for designated businesses.  Join us in requesting that this extra public space be used to provide safer conditions for social distancing due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Click the green button below to can send a pre-written letter, or tell your own story and write your own.

Click here to send an email right now

Or…

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


May 27, 2020 

The Honorable Kevin Faulconer
Mayor City of San Diego
202 C Street, 11th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101 

 

Open Air Dining San Diego: Request for an Expedited Permitting Process to Allow San Diego Businesses to Utilize Public Right of Way

 

Dear Mayor Faulconer,

On May 20th the State approved the County of San Diego’s request to allow the region to accelerate the reopening of the local economy. San Diego is moving further into Stage 2 of the California Resiliency Roadmap.  Under the proposal, in-person dining at restaurants and retail shopping is allowed, as long as businesses enact social distancing measures and follow various restrictions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Many restaurants, retail establishments and small businesses in San Diego are submitting plans to the County to reopen as a result of Governor Newsom’s announcement allowing a transition from Phase II to Phase III reopening. We should comply with all regulations and facilitate a safe opening by expanding the use of the public right of way to accommodate mobility options such as bicycling, walking and utilizing more public space for shopping and dining while preserving accessibility.

It is critical that we remain flexible and innovative in these unprecedented times to facilitate the reopening of restaurants and businesses while also ensuring their ability to comply with social distancing requirements. To accommodate this, we have identified specific recommendations for the use of the innovative use of special event permits and public right-of-way (PROW) permits and that would enable a swift and safe opening of restaurants that could be referred to as the “Open Air Dining San Diego” program.

We request the following 3 measures be implemented by the City of San Diego:

  1. An expedited process to allow non-profits to apply for special event permits exempted from CEQA that would allow for innovative use of sidewalk areas, parking lanes, streets, or adjacent parking lots through an expanded business footprint for patio dining.
  2. Fast-tracking of Public-Right of Way (PROW) permits for businesses setting up tables and chairs in these newly identified expanded footprints.
  3. Waive the need for Police & Fire Department fees or SETC traffic personnel associated with these new special event permits.

New Alcohol and Beverage control regulations allow for businesses licensed to serve alcohol to apply for a permit to expand their footprint into adjacent property including the public right of way. The application requires a diagram that could also be used by the City of San Diego in an expedited approval process for the applicable Special Event Permit.

Many businesses may not be viable under the required social distancing guidelines, nor will some survive the time it currently takes to secure a Special Event Permit to expand their offerings and gain a critical number of customers. The requested measures will help those businesses and our business districts while preserving the public’s health and safety. As stated by the Downtown San Diego Partnership in their May 20th letter, our commercial zones are suffering, and these zones provide thousands of jobs, important services, and social and entertainment outlets for our residents and visitors. 

This is a matter of protecting public health, supporting our local businesses and making use of our public streets to enable San Diego businesses to reopen both quickly and safely.

We look forward to working with you on the Open Air Dining San Diego program.

Sincerely,

___

 

And feel free to add these important CCs:

barbarabry@sandiego.gov, jennifercampbell@sandiego.gov, chriscate@sandiego.gov, christopherward@sandiego.gov, monicamontgomery@sandiego.gov, markkersey@sandiego.gov, scottsherman@sandiego.gov, vivian@vivianmorenosd.com, georgettegomez@sandiego.gov, cvincent@sandiego.gov, cbwear@sandiego.gov, talk@bikesd.org