North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape Project

Upcoming information workshops regarding the fate of a 2 mile stretch on Highway 101 from A Street to La Costa Avenue will be held on October, 3, 8, and the 10th in Encinitas (see calendar for details).

Early in 2008, the city of Encinitas "initiated a streetscape project to enhance the North Coast Highway 101 corridor." The initial focus was to create livable streets that included traffic calming measures and allow usage for all users of 101 including pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobile drivers. Among the alternatives presented by the city, this is how the public have voted to date:

Alternative #1 was preferred by 77% of the respondents,
1 northbound lane, two southbound lanes
5 roundabouts
1 stoplight
328 parking spaces

Alternative #2 was preferred by 4% of the respondents,
1 northbound lane, two southbound lanes
0 roundabouts
4 stoplight
350 parking spaces

Alternative #3 was preferred by 19% of the respondents,

1 northbound lane, two southbound lanes  (meandering slightly to preserve existing trees)
5 roundabouts
1 stoplight
261 parking spaces

Alternative #4
Alternative #4

Alternative Proposal #4 includes space for a walking trail, a Class II bike lane, either parallel or reverse parking lane and roundabouts. As of today, we have no information on how the public voted on Alternative #4 . The Alternative Proposal #5 that will be presented at the next Streetscape Project session will be based on feedback from the public and will include no traffic calming measures such as roundabouts, reverse angle parking or lane reductions.

Encinitas residents attending the workshops have stated that preserving the character of the city is a prime concern. However, removing traffic calming measures and continuing to emphasize parking spaces and speed on the roadways is hardly the solution to preserving the beach town character of Encinitas. Allowing all users of a public roads to have equal access is important. But so is reducing vehicular speeds, improving safety and enhancing the quality of life.

Please feel free to contact Diane Langager, Principal Planner by phone at 760/633-2714 or by e-mail at dlangag@ci.encinitas.ca.us with any questions and/or comments you have regarding the North Coast Highway 101 Streetscape project.


City of San Diego decides to (finally) pave it forward

District 3 Council member, Todd Gloria, along with Mayor Sanders announced news that will be welcomed by bicyclists all over the city: Roads are finally going to be paved.

In statement this morning, Council member Gloria stated how much the city of San Diego's infrastructure had been ignored. The investment to repair the streets has been increased by 400% to 79.2 million dollars for 2009. This is a huge change because in 2005, only 5 miles of roads were repaved in the city. This year, 65 miles of roads are going to be repaved. To watch the announcement, click the video below.


Interview with Ride the City's Jordan and Vaidila

You may have noticed the link to Ride the City on our side bar. But what is Ride the City?

Ride the city is a "website that helps you find the safest bike routes in cities.

Like MapQuest, Google Maps, and other mapping applications, Ride the City finds the shortest distance between two points, with a difference. First, RTC avoids roads that aren't meant for biking, like highways and busy arterial streets. Second, RTC tries to steer cyclists toward routes that maximize the use of bike lanes, bike paths, greenways, and other bike-friendly streets."

Jordan and Vaidila
Jordan and Vaidila

While bicyclists continue to petition companies like Google to create a "bike there" option to aid in planning routes, Vaidila Kungys and Jordan Anderson decided to create a site that would make that dream a reality. "Ride the City was launched by Vaidila Kungys and Jordan Anderson, friends who met while enrolled in New York University's urban planning program." They created a resource where bicyclists could create bicycle friendly routes to get around a city.

When we learned that Ride The City (RTC) would be officially launching in San Diego later this month, we were ecstatic. We contacted the brains behind the operation to find out more about Ride the City.

BikeSD: What was the original idea behind Ride The City? Since you originally started in NYC, were you filling a void?
RTC: While we were in grad school, we talked a lot about something like Ride the City. At one point Jordan reached out to Hop Stop to inquire if they'd be interested to add bicycle routing to their mix of transportation options, but the idea didn't grab their attention. We decided to give it a shot for NYC, and since then we've begun to expand it elsewhere. We were definitely filling a void because aside from the printed NYC Bike Map, which we still recommend as the gold standard, but before Ride the City it was not easy to get a quick answer for a best bike route.

BikeSD: Now that you have begun to expand into other cities, what have been your challenges in providing route suggestions? Do you have someone local in the city to advise you of locations of bike paths, bike shops, etc?
RTC: In other cities we face the same challenges that we hit in NYC, essentially acquiring data on the existing bicycle facilities. It's actually been surprising to find that cities have such varied methodologies for determining bicycle facilities: some cities use the traditional categories for bike facilities (separated greenway=class 1; on-street bike lane=class 2, etc); others categorize the use rating of streets; while others determine the level of service for bike routes. We have to make sense of the data before we can plug it into Ride the City.

Local partners are definitely key to making Ride the City a useful tool because, after all, if locals aren't using our routes, it doesn't make sense that we should think they're the best safe routes. When we work on a city we strive to collaborate with local partners to suggest bike routes and, at a minimum, to have them test the routes generated by Ride the City before we launch the new city.

BikeSD: What criteria do you look for when deciding to include a city in the Ride the City database?
RTC: Most importantly, we're looking for cities. Ride the City targets urban centers so our focus is not the small rural community. This leads us to look to the largest cities, such as NYC and Chicago. We're also a bit whimsical about it, choosing cities that we think would be fun to have for Ride the City: Austin's not really that big but it's a huge bicycling town and, well, everyone loves Austin.

BikeSD: What has been the most challenging aspect in creating and maintaining Ride the City?
RTC: Probably maintaining full-time jobs while trying to create and expand a project that could easily use a couple of full-time staff members. Aside from the data and programming, which takes a lot of time, we're trying to promote the site, build strategic partnerships with local bicycling groups, respond to users feedback to improve the service, post to our blog, and at the same time we're dealing with funding, legal, and other administrative
issues.

BikeSD: How can the bicycle community in San Diego support Ride the City?
RTC: The best way to make Ride the City useful is to generate routes and, after riding the route in the real world, to come back to the Ride the City website and submit feedback through the "rate the route" link. Feedback comes straight to us and we use it to improve Ride the City so that future routes will take appropriate comments into consideration, whether good or bad. Users make Ride the City better every day.

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Thank you Jordan and Vaidila for taking the time to answer our questions. Ride the City is a valuable resource and we're sure it will benefit many riders in this canyon filled city.

Readers, be sure to use the site and offer relevant feedback as needed.


Helping Low-Income Workers By Strapping Them Into Cars

CNN considers this woman a hero. Filed under "Misdirected Do-Goodery":

Since 2003, Wheels of Success has refurbished 280 donated cars for low-income individuals and families and helped another 280 clients with vehicle-related services. "Receiving ... the car is more than just the car," said Jacobs. "People literally see how it's going to change their life" by knocking down an obstacle that had gotten in their way due to lack of transportation.


MTS Kick Gas Festival will not Include Bicycles

San Diego's Kick Gas Festival is being held on October 24th as part of the many activities held to draw attention to the mission of 350.org which is,

Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

Specifically, the goal is to reduce CO2 emissions to 350 parts per million.

When we originally heard about the festival we were dismayed that bicycles were not featured as the main part of the festival. When we contacted Kathy Keehan, executive director of the SDCBC, she did admit that the SDCBC had been invited to sponsor the program and promote their mission at the Kick Gas Festival. However, Kathy didn't think the festival would be a good fit for many reasons. For one, the SDCBC has limited volunteer and staff resources, and for another Kathy didn't think that it would be worthwhile to spend 8 hours at the Qualcomm parking lot.

We agree. Qualcomm stadium, located in Mission Valley, is hardly the epicenter of sustainable anything.

Qualcomm Stadium. Photo from sdnn.com

The festival does seem like a terrible missed opportunity. The event could have been held in Balboa Park or the Convention Center downtown which would have allowed attendees to transport themselves in ways more in tune with the mission of 350.org. Bicycles could have been the focus at the festival, engaging more San Diegans to take advantage of the beautiful weather and open themselves up to the possibility of transporting themselves without using gasoline.

But, like they say, there is always next year.