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.

 

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Resurfacing List graphic

Listing of Road Resurfacing Projects (SB1)

Listing of Road Resurfacing Projects (SB1)

Resurfacing List graphic

Here’s a list of all resurfacing projects being funded under SB1. Resurfacing is a prime opportunity to insist that bike/mobility lanes be added on that street, as part of the resurface work. If you see a street near you on this list which is getting resurfaced soon, please let us know if it’s appropriate for bike lanes.

Click to see the list of road resurfacing projects


Wanted: safe space on 30th St for all users

30th Street Bikeway Update - We Have a Real Opportunity

Wanted: safe space on 30th St for all users

 

There’s a real opportunity for a transformative redesign of one of San Diego’s premiere urban streets — if we remind the city of its Complete Streets, Vision Zero and Climate Action Plan policies.

Just last week, the city started community outreach to gauge support for adding bike lanes to 30th Street from Juniper Street north to Howard Street following the pipeline replacement project. Councilmember Chris Ward’s office held the first of three meetings to solicit community input. After a preliminary study, city engineers concluded that two design options were feasible. The first option would add “Class II” bike lanes either against the curb south of Upas or between parked cars and the automobile traffic north of Upas. The second option would add protected bike lanes for the entire segment — called a “cycletrack,” the safest kind of on-street bike path.

[ UPDATE: April 4, 2019 - KPBS covers the story: https://www.kpbs.org/news/2019/apr/04/activists-rallying-protected-bike-lanes-north-park/ ]

Preserving parking spaces?

Unfortunately, city staff prepared a preliminary design based only on the first of these two options (drawings for northern section and for southern section). As explained by city staff, the preliminary striping plan was created to strike a compromise between the current bikeway-lacking roadway design and the need to preserve as much street parking as possible. Rather than a protected bikeway, the city’s design removes a small number of parking spaces but still makes bicyclists and scooter users ride between the automobile traffic and parked cars, exposing riders to the dangers of being “doored” (i.e., colliding with a car door) and getting thrown into traffic.

door zone area on 30th St
Red area shows a "door zone" on the bike lane.

This is the similar minimal design that led to a cyclist’s death last week in San Francisco and prompted a quick fix to upgrade to a protected bike lane by removing parking. As San Francisco’s transit agency acknowledged, the death was preventable if the better design had been  originally implemented.

Sharrows?

In the City’s proposed design for 30th Street, the section south of Upas is even less safe: bike lanes are placed only in some areas, and the city proposes using ‘sharrows’ — which require cyclists to share the lane with cars going between 25-35 miles per hour:

Red area shows a 'sharrow'
Red area shows a proposed 30th St 'sharrow.'

There are two main problems with the preliminary striping design. First, it contradicts the city’s own policies in North Park to design “complete streets” for all users. As defined in the community plan, a complete street is “designed for everyone in mind, for people of all ages and abilities using multiple modes of transit in lieu of car-oriented streets that are designed to primarily accommodate the automobile.” At the first community meeting, city staff admitted that the preliminary design was not an “8-80” facility, meaning one designed for users from the ages of 8 to 80.

CAP goals missed

Second, the preliminary design doesn’t go far enough to honor the city’s commitments to reach the binding targets of its Climate Action Plan (CAP): to reduce the number of car trips and increase the share of walking, biking, and non-car trips in the city.

The CAP goals shaped the debate about the North Park Community Plan, one of the first community plan updates passed after the CAP. When the update was being crafted in 2016, an analysis by the city showed that the proposed street design in the adopted plan was not enough, standing alone, for the city to achieve its CAP goals.

The City reassured the city council and community that it could meet the CAP goals because the community plan “does not account for other programs and policies that would be implemented throughout the life of the community plans, such as additional bicycle and pedestrian improvements whenever street resurfacing occurs, as feasible.” To make sure these “additional” policies weren’t empty promises, the city expressly included a commitment in the community plan to planning additional bike lanes in coordination with street resurfacing.

To achieve these goals, the city council later directed staff to “leverage coordination of street resurfacing to take advantage of opportunities for progressive design standards to facilitate safer mobility, including... protected bikeways.”

The time has now come for the city to honor its commitments to fighting climate change and following through on its Climate Action Plan goals and Vision Zero policy by designing a street that serves all users and does not primarily cater to motorists. As specified in the City’s own policies, any restriping plan should follow progressive design standards to add a protected bikeway “designed for everyone in mind, for people of all ages and abilities using multiple modes of transit in lieu of auto-oriented streets that are designed to primarily accommodate the automobile.” A progressive bikeway design will also make it easier for pedestrians to cross the street by shortening the width of the roads devoted to speeding cars.

Safer lanes can reduce parking needs

Designing a safe 30th Street for pedestrians and cyclists doesn’t have to unreasonably impair parking. For the commercial district north of Upas, there are nearly 1,400 public parking spaces either on the street or in the parking garage within one block of 30th Street. The city could maintain over 90 percent of that parking and add protected bike lanes and pedestrian improvements. If cycling increases on 30th Street in the same way it has in other cities that added protected bike lanes, the number of new daily cyclists would likely exceed the number of lost parking spaces.

The City has adopted one set of progressive design standards, set forth in the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide that directly address how to design a bike facility for all age and abilities. Given the speed of cars, the level of traffic, and the presence of a city bus line, the only option that fulfills the City’s policies is a protected cycletrack design. The city already identified such a design as being feasible on 30th Street. The City needs to present this second option for its next community review and not be limited to only the “less safe” first option shown at the first meeting.

It will take a collective effort to make sure the City of San Diego honors its climate and Vision Zero safety commitments. We need to make sure the City doesn’t commit to a less safe street design because of speculative fear that a loss of parking will lead to failing businesses. It turns out the bike lanes help business: Study after study after study after study after study shows that cyclists spend more in shops than drivers. These studies show that removing street parking to add bike lanes often results in substantial increases in sales in nearby shops or, at worst, no significant negative effects.

We need your help

Yes! I support bike lanes on 30th St. I'll sign the petition.

There are three easy steps everyone can take to help us achieve something transformative in North Park:

  1. Sign the petition asking Mayor Faulconer to honor the city’s promises by directing staff to design a high-class protected bikeway on 30th Street.
  2. Let the City see the community that wants safer streets for everyone by posting a photo of you, friends and family using the hashtag #SafeLanesOn30th and be sure to tag @BikeSD.
  3. Last but perhaps most importantly, attend the community outreach meeting at the North Park Planning Committee on April 16th at 6:30pm at 2901 North Park Way (2nd Floor).  Showing broad community support at this meeting will be critical!

Concept Sketch of Normal Street Promenade

Normal Street Promenade Workshop - Thursday, January 24, 6:00 PM

Concept Sketch of Normal Street Promenade

The Normal Street Promenade will be a new public space in Hillcrest along Normal Street between University Avenue and Washington Street and will be the first transit-oriented pedestrian promenade in San Diego.

Concept Sketch of Normal Street PromenadeTo develop the final concept, the City of San Diego and SANDAG will work with the community through a series of workshops. The conference room at Joyce Beers Community Hall will have different stations showing the bare bones concept and then a visual preference station showing options for lighting, landscaping, etc.

The first workshop will be held:

DATE: Thursday, January 24th
TIME: 6:00-9:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Joyce Beers Hall, 3900 Vermont St, San Diego

Please be sure to join fellow residents and learn more about this upcoming project. More background on our earlier report on the Normal Street Promenade here.


RSVP for workshop on Facebook

West Point Loma Blvd. showing cyclists riding on sidewalk, 2019

West Point Loma Blvd bike lanes: still no approval from PCPB

West Point Loma Blvd. showing cyclists riding on sidewalk, 2019

On Thursday night, staff from San Diego's Traffic & Storm Water Division (TSW) presented slides detailing the West Point Loma Blvd bike lane project to the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB). The project encompasses a "road diet" on a 4-lane-wide stretch of West Point Loma Blvd., reconfigured to a 2-car-lane street with a Class 2 bike lane (paint-buffered only) and other traffic calming measures. This was the third presentation since October 2018 made by the city to the Peninsula community board about the West Point Loma Blvd. bike lane project. TSW's slideshow gave PCPB the results of their detailed traffic analysis, parking study data, lane configuration drawings, and Level of Service (LoS) impacts — all of which showed minimal impacts on drivers along the corridor — in an effort to win approval from the community board for the project.

Unfortunately, the PCPB did not approve the project, though it also did not make a motion of denial.

San Diego TSW engineer Madeline Saltzman presenting to the Peninsula Community Planning Board, January 17, 2019Speakers in support of the project from BikeSD and San Diego County Bicycle Coalition urged the board to approve the bike facility. There were also others, including local residents on West Point Loma Blvd, that also spoke in favor of better bicycle facilities along this corridor.

There were also a handful of residents that were opposed or had questions. Two audience members took issue with the term "road diet," and insisted that this should be called a "lane removal." Board members' questions focused on issues of traffic delay, the 'back-in/angled parking' configuration, the decline from a Grade B to a Grade C 'Level of Service', and the 'math not working out' when a car lane was removed. These questions were challenging for TSW staff, who gave technical answers that didn't mollify critics on the board.

Many of the PCPB board members shared desire for better bicycle facilities but still wanted to critically discuss specific design elements. Nicole Burgess of BikeSD said, "I think some them truly want to be traffic engineers."

In the end, there was no vote on the project but the board passed a motion calling for the City to return and discuss it further at the PCPB Transportation Subcommittee.

BikeSD's Nicole Burgess speaking in favor of the West Point Loma bike lanesNicole Burgess wrote San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer immediately following the meeting, "I believe the City has done due diligence and provided adequate information as they have presented three times now at the PCPB. Also, as a reminder, the OB Planning Group unanimously supported a road diet to provide safe bicycle facilities."

BikeSD believes that Level of Service (LoS) should not be the focus of presentations about bike infrastructure, just as it has been removed as a valid topic for CEQA studies. LoS leads to a very narrow discussion about the impact on drivers and travel-time rather than safety and the equitable use of public rights-of-way. Instead, the Vision Zero Systematic Solutions for Safety should be the leading guideline for these types of improvements. We can not let Community Planning Groups make final decisions for the safety measures needed for our streets to meet Vision Zero and CAP goals.

The West Point Loma bike facility was originally proposed by the Bicycle Advisory Board back in the spring of 2018, with unanimous support for the project. For the safety of all road users, BikeSD is hopeful that Mayor Faulconer and Councilmember Jennifer Campbell will advocate for this type of improvement in their community. We applaud TSW's proposed striping plans and believe this Class 2 bike lane is an essential piece of the puzzle to fill in the gap along this corridor.

 


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