Mobility Board Votes to Support Gilman Drive Segment of Coastal Rail Trail

The City of San Diego Mobility Board voted to approve the Gilman Drive Segment of the Coastal Rail Trail. The Coastal Rail Trail will connect Oceanside to Downtown San Diego, and the Gilman Drive section will more immediately connect UC San Diego to the almost completed Rose Creek Bike Path (which is being built by SANDAG as part of the Early Action program). The project will be implemented as a protected cycletrack (class IV) on both sides of the road from the I-5 interchange to La Jolla Village Drive. A dedicated bike traffic light and signal phase will also be added southbound at the entrance to I-5.  Additionally, the gaps in the sidewalk on the west side of Gilman Drive will be filled in and a sidewalk will be added underneath the interchange with La Jolla Village Drive (where many students who live nearby have already created desire paths and are forced to play frogger with cars).

Cross-section Rendering of one segment of the Gilman Drive Portion of the Coastal Rail Trail

BikeSD is glad to see a protected cycletrack implemented. Not only is the current unprotected bike lane very narrow immediately north of the I-5 freeway interchange, it is made narrower by overgrown shrubbery from the canyon to the east. Combined with the curvature of the road as well as a 50mph speed limit, Gilman Drive as-is is a collision in the making. According to data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there have been 15 reported bike rider collisions along the portion of Gilman Drive that will be renovated, from 2009 to 2019. Of course, many collisions also go unreported.

 

Map of Bicycle Collisions from 2009-2019 along Gilman Drive

That being said, BikeSD has some reservations about the project. The project's estimated cost, $22 milion, is astronomical, and is due to the insistence of maintaining 12 foot travel lanes & a 50mph speed limit and adjacent street parking, as well as building retaining walls and working with sensitive lands. A much more affordable tactical project could have been completed with a road diet, particularly considering the lack of congestion on Gilman Drive, little parking demand south of Via Alicante, and the opening of the Mid-Coast Trolley Extension of the MTS Blue Line, which will reduce road demand even further.

 

Despite our reservations, this will be an important connection that will encourage even more San Diegans who are "interested but concerned" about biking to ditch their cars and help San Diego reach its Climate Action Plan goals of getting 18% of commuters to go by bike.  While the project is still only partially funded, construction is anticipated to begin in Fall 2021. You can see the Mobility Board's discussion of this agenda item and the presentation by city staff via this link: Youtube

 

EDIT: A previous version of this article reported 11 bike rider involved collisions along the relevant section of Gilman Drive.That has been corrected to 15. The generated report can be found here.


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,


This photo represents the latest success story for a recent trail connection within Chollas Creek Regional Park.

Prioritizing Chollas Creek Bikeway

This photo represents the latest success story for a recent trail connection within Chollas Creek Regional Park.
This photo represents the latest success story for a recent trail connection within Chollas Creek Regional Park.

The vision and goal to establish a safe and comfortable bikeway with community parks from La Mesa and Lemon Grove through City Heights, Oak Park, Encanto, Mid City, Barrio Logan to the San Diego Waterfront should be a top priority for mobility, sustainability, waterways, and health. In my opinion, this would be the most equitable active transportation bike project in San Diego County that protects our valuable Chollas Creek watershed, bringing economic, environmental, and health benefits to the community and city, while providing our residents with safe and comfortable access from the urban neighborhoods to the waterfront and downtown San Diego.

The proposed bikeway is just part of the larger plan for the Chollas Creek Regional Park that has visions of establishing sustainable eco-villages, along with healthy parks and waterways, while connecting schools and residents to the natural environments for health and happiness, in a place that has been neglected and overrun with freeways and pollution for far too long.

I've personally tried to explore riding along or near the creek to find myself stuck among freeways and no way to cross. The creek was nonexistent in some areas and filled with debris and pollution in other areas. Under the old neglected concrete water way, there is the light of potential and the creek is seeking our attention. It has the potential to become something amazing, capturing and reclaiming our water in an ecosystem that the locals can become engaged in, be proud of, and be active in protecting. This pathway would greatly benefit the local communities, the region, and our most valuable resource, our water.

It is critical we begin to protect and support the existing watersheds in San Diego. By creating pathways along waterways, connecting South-of-the-8 communities of concern to beautiful natural spaces in their own backyard and letting the residents engage and appreciate the water and the natural environments and the history the area when it was taken care of by the Kumeyaay before the industrial colonization.

A big shout out for the leadership at Groundwork and Board Member Vicki Estrada, for creating a coalition to collaborate and support the prioritization and funding for this incredibly valuable resource. Over the years the coalition members continue to engage in clean-ups, urban hikes, and visioning sessions to help communities adjacent to creek reclaim the watershed, and are ready to work with the city to pursue grants and funding to rehabilitate and activate the Chollas Creek Watershed and create a Chollas Creek Regional Park for the residents of San Diego. More information about specifics of this important connection can be found at https://docs.sandiego.gov/councilcomm_agendas_attach/2015/enviro_150408_3.pdf

This map shows the Chollas Creek Watershed and a proposed pathway connecting schools, parks, neighborhoods, and businesses. The other photo shows the benefits of creating healthy sustainable community projects while protecting our waterways and providing a safe place to walk, bike, travel, commute, and enjoy nature while in our city.

Chollas Creek trail status

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