Normal Street Promenade before and after photo. Left side shows University at Normal St as currently configured in 2018. On the left, a rendering in 2016 of the promenade.

Normal Street Promenade Workshop Seeks Biker Input on January 24

Normal Street Promenade before and after
The image at right is a 2016 artist's rendering by KTU+A of a potential configuration of a new Normal Street. It isn't the current design under consideration but merely a sketch.

 

Hillcrest could have a new urban park-like ‘promenade' by the year 2020, if Councilmember Chris Ward’s plan for the Normal Street Promenade meet with success. The Normal Street Promendade (2016 sketches shown above) will piggyback onto SANDAG's Eastern Hillcrest Bikeway Project (Phase 2) through this corridor in order to take advantage of the street redesign SANDAG will do for the bike lanes. BikeSD has offered qualified support for this new Normal Street pedestrian and biking promenade — but we want all BikeSD members to come to the community meetings where the fate of the Promenade and its SANDAG bikeways will be determined.

The Promenade project is on a relatively quick timeline, faster than most City projects of this nature. There will be two community input “workshops” held on Tuesdays, January 24 and February 19, 2019, at Joyce Beers Hall (3700 Vermont St). These workshops will be followed by a vote at the March 5 Uptown Planners board meeting. In addition, the Normal St. Promenade project is being accelerated by Chris Ward’s office by asking San Diego Dept. of Street Design engineers to be attend both the workshops. The hope is that this will reduce the ‘friction’ that SANDAG infrastructure projects usually encounter at San Diego’s DSD when the city’s engineers don’t understand changes to street design.

One concern for Uptown bike advocates is the additional delay to the Eastern Hillcrest Bikeway Phase 2 (EHB) created by allowing time for a new Promenade design. As BikeSD board member Jeff Kucharski (@JeffKucharski_) noted, SANDAG is already pushing back the expected completion date for EHB by 3-6 months to accommodate this new Normal Street Promenade design. Jeff also notes that nominal support from Hillcrest organizations like Hillcrest Business Association can turn into dismantling of bike lanes. “In 2015, HBA publicly advocated for 'Transform Hillcrest' while privately gutting the University Ave bike lanes. It's easy to see a similar scenario happening here when the Promenade hits headwinds,” he said.

It’s critical that BikeSD's biking, scooter, and mobility advocates attend the workshops and Uptown board meeting to make sure the proposed 2-way cycle track and other enhancements remain the centerpiece of the new design. And to press both SANDAG and CM Ward’s office to ensure that the Eastern Hillcrest Bikeways are not excessively delayed in the process of designing this Promenade. The January 24 and February 19 community workshops also offer an opportunity for BikeSD members to also speak up for mid-speed infrastructure within the Hillcrest community, so we’ll be sending out notices to BikeSD members with details about the workshop next month.


Add yourself to the BikeSD mailing list. To get updates on Uptown bikeway projects like the Normal Street Promenade above, check the box for "Uptown" on our sign-up form here: http://bikesd.org/add-mailing-list/


News, Links, Events, and Other Views - Nov 28, 2017

Check out recent news and upcoming events from San Diego and beyond.  Have an article to share for our next News & Views post? Please email us - talk@bikesd.org. Enjoy!

San Diego

California

  • Abuse of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) delayed bike lane projects for years in San Francisco and was employed by Uptown Planners Chair Leo Wilson against City of San Diego bike lanes. But California regulators have overhauled CEQA and "hope the new rules will spur more bike lanes and housing near transit":Under the current interpretation of the law, developers have to measure their project’s effects on car congestion — something that often stymies the installation of bike lanes because the removal of car lanes could tie up vehicles.The new effort would force projects to estimate the number of miles cars will travel on nearby roads. Since bike lanes won’t increase vehicle trips, and could reduce them, regulators hope the new rules could ease their development. The new proposal also would apply to residential construction in an effort to make it easier for developers to build pedestrian or bicycle friendly projects if they can show their projects will limit car travel.
  • Los Angeles drivers are killing pedestrians and bicyclists, while overturning road diet projects designed to save pedestrian lives.

Elsewhere

  • Safe Mobility is a Human Right"All people deserve to safely walk, bike, take transit, and drive through their communities regardless of their age, race, ability, or background".  Here are eight steps communities can take to become more walk and bike friendly
  • Ten rules for cities about automated vehicles (AVs) - Urbanist Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City, pens an excellent article about the potential impacts of AVs on cities.  He concludes with a great shout out to the most efficient transport on the planet - bicycles. A fantastic read.

Upcoming Events

  • BikeSD Member Meetup in North Park - Your quarterly chance to connect with other BikeSD members, chat with board members, or learn more about the organization if you're not already familiar.  Event will be at North Park Beer Company (3038 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104) on Tuesday, December 5, with doors opening at 6 PM, a short program at 7, and concluding at 9.  This will be an opportunity to thank former Executive Director Sam Ollinger for her great work with the organization and meet Interim ED John Anderson.  Please RSVP here and spread the word!
  • BikeSD Member Meetup in Pacific Beach - In 2018 we want to do a better job of connecting with the bike community across our fair city.  We'll start with our quarterly Member Meetup being held in Pacific Beach.  Mark your calendars for March Tuesday, March 6, from 7 - 9 PM and stay tuned for details.
  • The Border to Bayshore Bikeway project will connect Tijuana to San Diego Bay.  Next community meeting will be Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 6-8 PM at Imperial Beach Library (810 Imperial Beach Boulevard, Imperial Beach, CA 91932). RSVP via Facebook here or get more project information on the SANDAG project website.


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.