Cycle tracks are coming to downtown!

Downtown areas in American cities have dramatically redesigned their cities with bicycle infrastructure in recent years. Unfortunately, San Diego was not among the early adopters. Currently, the downtown core of San Diego has no bicycle lanes. In addition to the lack of dedicated infrastructure, many of the roads serve high volume, high speed traffic from the 3 connecting freeways. Clearly, bicyclists have not been a priority for the transportation planning in downtown. However, we are hopeful this significant oversight will be corrected with the implantation of the Downtown Mobility Plan.

On June 21st , the San Diego City Council passed the Downtown Mobility Plan. We have previously expressed our enthusiasm for the plan. We are very grateful that the plan passed without any major revisions requested by opponents. The plan creates an entire network of protected cycle tracks and greenways throughout downtown.

San Diego Downtown Mobility Plan

When opponents from Little Italy pleaded for sharrows instead of cycletracks, Todd Gloria discussed the differences of riding by himself where sharrows may be sufficient but his preference for enhanced facilities when riding with his niece and nephew.  Gloria and Civic San Diego planner, Brad Ricther, emphasized the plans intended outcome of encouraging new riders with protected facilities.

Council member Gloria addressed the plan’s opponents directly when addressing opposition to a lane reduction and protected bikeway on the same street as Washington Elementary, “The net result of that is reduced speed. For an elementary school in particular, the ability to slow down traffic and reduce it a bit and as well as the protected path is a net win for safety, which should be our top concern when we talk about children going to school.”

While City Council approved the plan, the plan requires further political support to ensure implementation. And San Diego bicyclists are very familiar with planning fatigue. Will the downtown mobility plan gather dust with so many other well intentioned studies and plans? We are optimistic that city staff will implement Civic San Diego’s plans. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has committed to building the cycle track network within 3 years as a part of his climate action plan. Bike San Diego will continue to advocate for a better downtown and a full implementation of the downtown mobility plan.

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