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: https://bikesd.org/add-mailing-list/


Three red JUMP bikes on University and 4th Ave in San Diego, CA.

Paseos en bicicleta gratis de JUMP hasta el 9 de diciembre.

Three red JUMP bikes on University and 4th Ave in San Diego, CA.On November 19, 2018, Uber announced the launch of dockless electric bikeshare service JUMP in San Diego. JUMP bikes are electric and provide a boost with every pedal (up to 20 mph), making it easier for riders to get around their city without breaking a sweat.

If you've been wanting to see what it feels like to ride an ebike, this is a great opportunity to check them out at no cost. Uber is giving everyone five free trips up to 30 minutes long each day through December 9. Unlock them using the Uber app by tapping the “mode switch” at the top of the Uber homescreen, select a bike, and the app will give you a pin number so you can unlock your bike. The JUMP Bikes app works pretty much the same way.

Uber's "free ride" promotion of JUMP ebikesWhile pricing varies by city, in San Diego at launch, ebikes will cost $1 to unlock and then just 10 cents per minute to ride.  JUMP will start with 300 bikes available across a 28 square mile radius, from Pacific Beach all the way downtown to Crim avenue; and from the northmost point at Chalcedony St. to the southmost point at National Ave.

In 2017, JUMP bikes launched the first ever dockless electric bike share system in the United States. JUMP’s pedal assist bikes are available in Austin, Chicago, Denver, New York City, Providence, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. They also have scooters available in Austin, Santa Monica and LA.

In California, JUMP is already bringing multimodal transportation to users across the state. In October, JUMP started expanding its fleet of bikes San Francisco, from 250 to 500 bikes after data showed that over 38,000 unique riders took more than 326,000 total trips during the pilot. Around Sacramento, JUMP recently expanded its service area by more than 50 percent to meet demand of more residents. And last week, it announced that it started deploying 3,000 ebikes and scooters across LA.

BikeSD is happy to see expanded options for bikeshare in San Diego. However, the continued shortage of safe, high-quality bike lanes across San Diego remains a substantial hindrance for riders of all kinds of low- and human-powered vehicles. We hope companies like Uber and JUMP will become partners with BikeSD to expand our advocacy and educational efforts. Without significant biking/mid-speed infrastructure improvements in San Diego, the adoption rate and potential of these new transport modes will always be limited.


Throwback Thursday: San Diego Has Moved Forward Since 2012

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2012 Die-in after David Ortiz was killed. Photo: Randy Van Vleck

Back in 2012, the city of San Diego was resistant to almost any progressive bike infrastructure. While the goal of BikeSD is to make San Diego a world-class city for bicycling by advocating for safer streets for everyone—via the implementation of protected bike lanes on main arterials alongside plenty of traffic calming—getting to this bicycling nirvana is clearly not a straight shot. For one, who could have predicted how annoying the mysterious parking lobby* would become? Or even the fact that a statewide environmental law would create a hurdle for putting down some paint.

In 2012, effective bike advocacy was still in its nascent stages. But a group of us wanted to be bold.

One of the demands leading up to the die-in, held in April of 2012, was for the city of San Diego to become a member city of NACTO, the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

"We are calling on the city to immediately adopt guidelines developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). These progressive bicycle infrastructure designs strongly contribute to both perceived and actual safety for the cyclists using them."

Miracle of miracles, the city of San Diego actually became a member city of NACTO. And since then, the city has done plenty more, implementing road diets through out the city, and even striping across intersections. Yes, green paint on asphalt is very exciting to some of us: it's a little space for bicycle riders to travel safely without worrying about a honking driver too impatient to figure out how to safely pass or co-exist peacefully in a public space. There is still lots to be done, more hard hearts to melt, more parking fanatics to hug it out with (or drink a beer with). But it's certainly nice to see some progress in this city. It's just shameful that it had to come at the cost of actual lives lost—lives that could have easily been saved.

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Striped intersection across Voltaire in Ocean Beach. Photo: Nicole Burgess.

 

*Yes, I am absolutely being facetious in highlighting a non-existent lobby group, the parking lobby. But I never fail to marvel at the fact that nothing motivates otherwise sane San Diegans to turn into frothing rabid angry individuals than the idea that our largest public asset, our streets, ought to benefit all road users instead of a single group: drivers.


Bankers Hills/Park West Community Association Voluntarily Dismisses their Lawsuit over Fourth and Fifth Avenue Bike Lanes

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Happy people riding on Fifth Avenue buffered bike lanes. Photo: Beth Peralta-Reed

Good news: Leo Wilson who (through Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association) sued the city of San Diego in December 2014 over the buffered bike lanes on Fourth and Fifth Avenues, has voluntarily dismissed their own lawsuit.

The exciting proof is below.20160314143946778-1.

Did Wilson have a change of heart and decide to focus his ire on more worthier offences than stripes of paint on the road? Is he more focused on his contra-flow bike lane proposal? Has he realized that advocating for parking is not a good use of his time? I haven't had the time to ask or figure it out, but I am happy to celebrate good news when I see it. So yay.

h/t to Liam Dillon for the tip on the dismissal.


Tomorrow: Three Decades After the Promise Was Made: I-15 Bike Path Construction to Begin

El Niño may have delayed the start of the construction of the I-15 bike path, but tomorrow the (very, very, very) long awaited, and almost forgotten promise to connect the Mid-City communities to Mission Valley will finally begin. Hope to see you there.
SR15 Commuter Bikeway Groundbreaking Invitation