Advisory Lanes

Advisory Lanes in San Diego

“It is a whole new way for drivers and cyclists to share the road.” City of Ottawa

I first experienced Advisory Lanes in Holland in 2014 on a bike barge trip with my family. This was a new type of bike facility to me and I liked them.  Below is a photo from the trip that shows a great visual of an advisory lane In Holland.  I especially appreciate the different colors of asphalt that are used to differentiate space for different types of users.  As one can see, space is dedicated to a safe pathway for people on bikes and other rolling devices. Check out this one minute video to quickly learn how Advisory Bike Lanes work for cyclists and drivers. We do believe it is an intuitive street design treatment that drivers and cyclists will learn to use quickly.

As a long time advocate, I was thrilled to hear that our City is recommending and implementing the use of Advisory Lanes in San Diego. In May, City staff, Everett Hauser, provided a brief introduction to the Mobility Board for the use of Advisory Lanes on Hancock Avenue.  I personally believe it will be an improvement for all and is a great compromise for businesses, parking, and active commuters along this corridor with limited street space.  

In June, Everett updated the Mobility Board with criteria being used for evaluating future streets for Advisory Lanes.  Below is the table presented.  It shows Advisory Lanes will be evaluated for narrow streets with limited space, low volume traffic and low volume speeds.  It was clarified that streets with parked cars will be considered, as straight-in parking is being proposed for Hancock.  As noted, this type of treatment will be used on streets designated in the Bicycle Master Plan that will be resurfaced with slurry seal or overlay treatment.  Check out streets.sandiego.gov to view upcoming street resurfacing projects. 

If you have ideas or suggestions that you think advisory lanes would be a good fit in your neighborhood, please feel free to share with BikeSD to gain support and help advocate for innovative paint treatments that prioritize safe pathways for people on bikes. If you’re a fan like I am, please send Mayor Todd Gloria an email. Send gratitude and encourage more.

If you like to ride, we recommend to do so often. 😊


BikeSD Parklet

The Time is Now

We cannot fear change, we must adapt.

In the swell of pivoting to ensure small businesses survive the ever-changing landscape of pandemic-related restrictions; the City of San Diego temporarily eased restrictions on establishing parklets.

Let’s make temporary permanent. Let the parklets stay.

As San Diegans, we are accustomed to and often prefer opportunities to dine outdoors. With our average 75-degree and sunny weather, San Diego is in the perfect climate position to encourage and support parklets.

This also provides a perfect climate position to encourage and support cycling. The dedicated bike lane on 30th Street is an integral part of the North Park of the future.

Close your eyes and imagine a vibrant, people centric, 30th Street with fewer cars, more people meandering between establishments and more people riding up to their favorite restaurant - imagine 30th Street busy, but with far few car horns.

Since the shutdown a year ago, there are now over 450 businesses leveraging parklet space as business space to serve their customers. It is a wonderful sight to behold and is one many would like to see in San Diego permanently. We love it and believe it is a healthy, vibrant, wonderful future for our business districts.

Unfortunately, there is a conflict on 30th Street between a long anticipated paving project and the parklets we wish to remain in operation. We believe there is a solution for these businesses’ parklets to stay permanently after businesses are opened to indoor dining. Timing is everything. If we do not act swiftly, we will lose the majority of the parklets that we have learned to love and enjoy.

Among the parklet designs available from the City San Diego, BikeSD is advocating for an option that is a win for everyone. We spoke with several North Park business owners regarding this particular parklet design and received a majority of enthusiastic and optimistic responses. There was also an overwhelmingly positive response to the upcoming bike lane, too.

This alternative design moves the parklet to the sidewalk while providing a safe ADA walkway in the street right of way. This eliminates people walking through business patrons and allows for a continuous business. No wait staff weaving through tables and pedestrians. It creates a cohesive environment where customers can hear the music, see the televisions and feel like part of the venue while enjoying the outdoors. Lastly, but critically, it provides the space for a continuous bikeway that avoids conflict zones. This is a solution that can support businesses to continue outdoor dining past the pandemic and into a more vibrant people centric city.

We want to continue supporting our North Park businesses. Join us and ask city staff and Mayor Gloria to work on a solution for all, quickly and efficiently as we support the upcoming resurfacing project and want businesses to adapt and be prepared for the spring and summer season. 

Let’s act quickly and efficiently so we can support the upcoming resurfacing project, allow businesses to retain their parklets and be prepared for the spring and summer season. 

Let’s be bold. Let’s take this opportunity to construct 30th Street for all of North Park, to be a leader for the rest of San Diego. 

Who is ready for bike parties on a parklet filled 30th Street? We are ready.


Jasmine Greene

Finding the joys of riding a bike at age 54

Jasmine Greene is an amazing kindergarten teacher at Ocean Beach Elementary that all my kids were lucky enough to have as their teacher 15 years ago.  After years of not seeing her as much, our lives have come back together as she has found the joys of riding a bike in San Diego.  Here is her story of why she started riding and how she has become a new fan of the bike and all the benefits it offers.

  1. When and why did you start biking in 2020?

For the past year on most weekends two of my good friends, Anna and Leanne, and I had taken on the 52 Hike Challenge. When the trails closed due to COVID, Anna suggested biking instead. I didn’t own a bike and had not been on one for 30 years, so I was a bit nervous about it. We met in University Heights and took our first ride to Seaport Village in April 2020. From that day on I was hooked. I discovered the joy of bike riding at age 54!

  1. Where do you currently ride and where is your favorite place to ride in San Diego?

I ride from Kensington to Ocean Beach to get to work, twice a week. I sometimes do this with Leanne, but am also comfortable riding on my own now. The one hour ride to and from work is the perfect way to begin and end each day. It clears my head and exercises my body. After riding I feel like I’ve had some time for myself, and am more focused and relaxed. It is something I want to do more often.

My favorite rides are along the coast with friends. Any destination ride is fun to me. I am now ready to tackle any hill! Slow and steady wins the race.

  1. Did you think it was possible to commute by bike from your house to your work?

Never in a million years would I have thought it was possible for me to ride a bike from Kensington to Ocean Beach. First of all, it just seemed too far and complicated with all the neighborhoods to go through. I had no knowledge of any of the biking routes and the hills seemed ominous.

  1. What are some of your favorite things about riding a bike?

Taking off on the bike feels so freeing. I love the idea of using my own body to move through time and space. I’m out there alone in the world and yet right smack in the middle of it all. I see so much more than I do driving my car. I have run into many friends along the way. While on my bike I get the enjoyment of seeing lots of dogs, ducks, birds, and even flying fish! I notice what is happening in  neighborhoods more intimately; I see store fronts, people exercising and life happening all around me. There is a great feeling of simply being alive and in the midst of it all.  Biking has become a type of mediation for me.

  1. What have you learned about your neighborhood, and our city, while riding a bike?

I had no idea there were so many bike routes. I still feel like a novice in this area. I am unsure of how to get from one place to another by bike in San Diego. This is an area I still struggle with.

Biking has made me very aware of the gravity of San Diego’s homeless population and how far-reaching the issue is. Cyclists are much more confronted with this up close than motorists.

  1. What are some of your challenges of riding a bike in San Diego?

I have had one minor accident and it woke me up a lot. I’m much more cautious now. One of the biggest challenges are the potholes and road conditions. I ride up Presidio Park to get home from work and the side of the road is full of potholes. The road itself is very narrow, without a dedicated bike lane, so that is always a challenge.

Cars are another major concern. I am fully aware of the fact that in a crash they will win. I am very cognizant of cars while riding, but I can’t always be sure that drivers notice me.

Riding on Adams Avenue and University Avenue regularly, the hazards include people in parked cars opening their doors, cars pulling out abruptly or making illegal u-turns. The buses are sometimes unsettling too.

  1. As your experiences evolve you as a new rider, how do you envision your riding to be different in 2021?

While I love my hand-me-down bike, I have decided to upgrade and am having a custom bike built with Velofix. This is a local company and one I know I can trust. Having a bike that fits me well is something I am looking forward to. I now consider bike riding a part of my weekly routine. Interestingly, I find myself craving it. I will look for more opportunities to ride s

ocially in 2021.

  1. Do you have any big requests for our new Mayor to make your riding more comfortable and to encourage others to give it a try?

Help drivers become more aware of bicyclists’ rights. Improve biking infrastructure by creating more designated bike paths so that commuting is safer and viable. Please fix the potholes and other road hazards such as open grates, especially in bike lanes. Increase police presence on more isolated bike paths, such as the Flood Control Channel and the San Diego River Trail.

  1. What would you say to someone that is interested but concerned to ride a bike?

The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings. Start by riding with a friend or a group. Learn how to use your gears! Join BIKE SD to track your miles and hear from other cyclists. Give biking a try. I have always been a very active person: running, swimming, hiking, and practicing yoga. Biking was never part of my activity list. It didn’t speak to me until I gave it a try. Then it shouted out loud and clear!

Riding partners Anna and Leanne enjoying San Diego by bike with Jasmine.  

Interview by BikeSD Board Member Nicole Burgess


Leah Schaperow

San Diego Can Become a Bike Rider’s Paradise

Leah Schaperow
Leah Schaperow and her e-bike at Cabrillo National Monument

San Diego is the perfect place for a walk, bike ride, scooter ride or hike in the canyons. It rarely rains and the temperature is usually just right.

When moving to San Diego I traded my car for an electric bike and found that this beautiful city has some wonderful bike infrastructure and new protected lanes are being discussed and installed right now. I take my bike to the grocery store, out to restaurants and to commute to my small business in Liberty Station.

A little over a year ago I would have been baffled that I could build and run a pottery studio without a car, now I can’t imagine anything else. The money that I would have put into owning a vehicle, gas and insurance I now put into my business. My electric bike makes a five- or six-mile commute hauling clay and equipment easy and fun.

Leah Schaperow

Hillcrest

This letter originally appeared as a letter to the San Diego Union Tribune and was written by BikeSD board member Leah Schaperow.


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.