Join Your Community Planning Group to Make San Diego a Better Place to Ride

Once a month volunteer residents in over 50 community planning areas meet to advise the City of San Diego on land use decisions. Community planning groups (CPGs) provide guidance on a wide range of issues, from the large, multi-year community plan updates to individual residential and commercial developments. To learn more about what community groups do and how to get involved, consider attending attending our next member meetup on March 6 at Iron Pig Alehouse in Pacific Beach. Circulate San Diego will be joining BikeSD to discuss how residents can (and should) get involved in local planning groups to help create a world-class city for biking.

How to Join Your Community Group

Any effort to improve bicycling in San Diego is basically a land use decision; therefore, these groups play an important role in making San Diego a world class bicycling city. As an organization, BikeSD, encourages bicycle riders everywhere to join their community groups. While a CPG role is strictly advisory, these groups remain influential. We have highlighted a few recent examples to show how these groups have helped or inhibited our effort to improve bicycle infrastructure in San Diego.

  • In March 2015, Uptown Planners held a special meeting to address the Uptown bikeway. Despite the passionate pleas of bicyclists, the Uptown Planners supported 4 motions that weakened or opposed the planned bikeway. Less than ten weeks later, the SANDAG transportation committee officially created a hole in the planned network by abandoning any improvements in western Hillcrest.  
  • In the “Complete the Boulevard” study, the need for dedicated bicycle infrastructure were widely ignored. While city staff did study these options, they were excluded after Kensington-Talmadge and City Heights CPGs made it clear that they would only support sharrows (or no bike infrastructure) on El Cajon Boulevard.
  • The ridiculous creation of a hole in the Uptown Bikeway caused advocates to mobilize and join the Uptown CPG (including BikeSD endorsed candidates). The personnel change provided immediate sanity as the board passed a series of motions supporting a continuous east-west corridor. In a passionate defense of 4th and 5th Ave. segments of the planned Uptown Bikeway, former District 3 Councilmember, Todd Gloria, cited these changes in the local CPGs as positive sign of support for the project.
  • City staff has cited the Uptown CPG’s motion to close the “Gap” when presenting the proposed “Hillcrest Gap” solution.
  • The planned transformation of downtown San Diego’s streets, Downtown Mobility plan, was supported by the Downtown CPG. The San Diego City Council unanimously supported the plan in June of 2016.  

Every community in San Diego should be a great place to safely ride a bike. Community planning groups play a large role in whether that happens. Whether it is advocating for secure bike parking at a new development or supporting a road diet, we need support (even minority support) on CPGs. If your community has either an upcoming community plan update (Clairemont, Old Town/Midway, Kearny Mesa) or is home to one of SANDAG’s early action bicycle projects, your CPGs will play a very important role in our transportation future.  

Each planning group has slightly unique eligibility rules for elections. All CPGs hold elections in March. If you choose not to join a CPG, please consider voting (and bring friends) for bicycle friendly candidates!!


SANDAG's Executive Director Gary Gallegos Must Step Down

This past Monday, Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts, revealed the story of the stunning public deception carried out by our regional planning agency, SANDAG, led by the agency’s executive director Gary Gallegos.

To recap, SANDAG put a sales tax measure on the ballot last November and it failed to garner the required 2/3 votes in part because organizations like BikeSD opposed the measure. SANDAG’s proposal was to raise $18 billion to spend on transportation projects, but a large portion of those funds would have gone toward expanding and building more highways—an attempt at marginal gains to address congestion problems in the region.

In Keatts’ piece, we learned that the revenue projections for the tax measure were inflated and yet, “the agency’s board of directors approved putting the $18 billion spending plan before voters.”

We already know that Gallegos is a man without any vision, given his statement, “Transit is not going to work for every person in the region.”

On Tuesday, Keatts, followed up on the SANDAG bombshell story with some statements from the agency’s board chair, Supervisor Ron Roberts who stated he had no idea what was going on with the organization because he wasn’t told anything.

Why isn’t Gallegos being held accountable?
Why isn’t Gallegos being held accountable?

For an agency managing one of the largest sources of public dollars, not knowing is simply not acceptable as a response. Supervisor Roberts can’t simply disregard this gross act of public deception and except the public to have faith in either his ability to govern or in the agency’s ability to solve the region’s problems related to transportation or even housing. Furthermore, having a leader running a government agency that lacks vision beyond the highway-centric one from sixty years ago isn’t the way forward.

The SANDAG Board of Directors is currently at a retreat this week and we have to make it clear that when they return from that retreat, we expect new staff leadership—no excuses.

So we are calling on SANDAG’s Gary Gallegos to step down as executive director.

Make the call to change the corrupt nature of one of our most important regional agencies:

Board Chairman Ron Roberts: (619) 531-5544

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer: (619) 236-6330

For more information please read this commentary by former BikeSD President, Andy Kopp.


University Ave in San Diego

Closing the Hillcrest Gap: Councilmember Todd Gloria’s departing gift?

University Ave in San Diego
University Ave between 5th and 6th: 8 lanes devoted to moving and storing cars; none for bikes.

 

“We couldn’t accomplish that at SANDAG but I think we can accomplish that as a city project.”

Todd Gloria, November 14th, City Council Meeting

At a recent marathon City Council meeting, District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria took action to fill the Hillcrest Gap (aka HBA hole) as part of the update of the Uptown Community Plan. The failure of the Uptown community to create a safe east-west bicycle route through Hillcrest was one of the reasons BikeSD opposed the draft version of the plan. 

Councilmember Gloria addressed the Hillcrest Gap in context with the city’s Climate Action Plan. An analysis of the Uptown Community Plan update showed the city would not reach the city-wide transportation mode share goals in Uptown. In responding to Councilmember Gloria’s question, city staff acknowledged that bike mode share would be higher without the gap.

San Diego Uptown Mode Share Analysis

As the meeting proceeded late into the evening, Todd Gloria made a complex motion to approve the Uptown Community Plan with many additions. For this blog post, we will focus solely on the items related to mobility. First, Councilmember Gloria asked for a process that would allow the community plan to be adjusted if the city is not on target to meet the mode share goals. In addition, Councilmember Gloria asked for staff to “consider developing a plan to fund and implement the University Ave bike lane gap.” Councilmember Gloria’s motion passed with the support of his city council colleagues.   

So what did this all mean? For those of us watching on CityTV, it was uncertain.  Thankfully, Councilmember Gloria helped us understand through social media.   

https://twitter.com/ToddGloria/status/798456681340383233

https://twitter.com/ToddGloria/status/798646291211239426

Councilmember Gloria’s clarification was welcome news.  BikeSD has advocated for a solution to fill the gap in our regional bicycle network since the SANDAG Transportation Committee’s shortsighted decision to abandon a stretch of University Ave in June of 2015. SANDAG met privately with Hillcrest Business Association lobbyists to kill the bike lane, while cancelling public meetings. This was another example of the agency breaking the public’s trust, which helped defeat the agency’s ballot measure last month.   

While a path to close the gap has been identified, we will not be fully satisfied until changes in the street design have been implemented. We suspect the Hillcrest naysayers opposed to positive change will continue their intense effort to weaken and eliminate any bicycle infrastructure in the core of Hillcrest. In a supposedly progressive and tolerant community, why is the safety of residents who bike disregarded for cheap street parking? BikeSD will continue to advocate for a complete bikeway network so commuters and families can ride safely, and help meet the city’s Climate Action Plan mode share goals.  


BikeSD Letter to Planning Commission on Uptown Community Plan

City of San Diego Planning Commission
1222 First Ave, Fifth Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Members of the Planning Commission,

Bike San Diego asks the Planning Commission to reject the Uptown Community Plan Update. While we acknowledge the many years of effort developing the Update, the current version of the plan is inconsistent with the requirements of the City’s Climate Action Plan and therefore should not be approved.

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) calls for a bike mode share of 18% in Uptown by 2035, a significant increase from current levels. However, since the Uptown Community Plan’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) performed no analysis for Vehicle Miles Traveled as required by California SB 743, there are insufficient improvements to bicycle infrastructure necessary to achieve this target. The Uptown Community Plan Update also lacks a single continuous, safe east-west bike route through the entire community. To address this problem, the planned Class IV University Ave cycletrack should be extended west, to at least 1st Ave.  

In addition, by only considering automobile Level of Service in the EIR, the resulting autocentric plan lacks the multi-modal infrastructure mitigation necessary to accommodate the growth forecast in the Community Plan Update, or the associated increase in greenhouse gas emissions when residents have no robust alternative to driving.

Finally, the Uptown Community Plan Update reduces the number of allowable residential units by 1900 units from the 1988 Uptown Community Plan. This also conflicts with the City’s CAP requirements of significantly increasing density in Transit Priority Areas to accommodate the growth anticipated by SANDAG and the CAP. Areas with higher population density have higher bike mode share rates.

Thank you,
Jeff Kucharski
Board President
BikeSD, Inc


No Way On Measure A

This November, voters like you will be faced with a decision on SANDAG’s ballot measure, Measure A. SANDAG’s goal: get San Diego County voters to give a blank check to the tune of $18 billion for the agency to ensure that there will be no guarantees of traffic congestion relief, despite the agency’s public relations campaign promising congestion relief.

nowaymeasurea-793

This past Thursday, the Measure A opponents (of which BikeSD is a member), held a kick-off event to highlight the burden that Measure A would place on San Diego, contrary to SANDAG’s claims.

Below is a KUSI video with a brief description of the ballot measure and the opposition behind it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZtCvU27KsA&feature=share

 

For more information on why the ballot measure needs to be defeated (besides the fact that widening existing highways will not reduce traffic congestion) please visit the No on Measure A website.

Given that SANDAG has no problems holding endless community meetings to build a protected bike lanes (of which not a single foot has yet been constructed), there is no reason voters should hand over a blank check to SANDAG to push a 1950s solution to address traffic concerns of the 21st century.

More information about this ballot measure will be forthcoming, but for now, please do tell all your friends and family to: Vote NO on Measure A.