Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio Releases His Vision for a Walkable, Bikeable Future

Mayoral Candidate, Carl DeMaio. Photo from

Yesterday, Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio released his vision for a bikeable and walkable future. In his press release DeMaio stated

To make San Diego a truly pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city, we need a Mayor who has the commitment and detailed plan needed to improve our infrastructure and install walking and bicycling improvements

BikeSD believes that the metrics for what makes a city truly bike friendly is very finite and includes:

1. Investing toward protected bike infrastructure (such as buffered bike lanes and cycle tracks).

2. Temporarily opening up the streets to everyone but the automobile in order to allow residents to experience public space in a new way

3. A legal system that is supportive and not apathetic toward bicycle riders

4. Strong vision and support from elected officials and a willingness to stay the course.

On #4, Carl DeMaio is now positioning himself to be that visionary leader who will transform San Diego into the world’s best bike friendly city. Yesterday, he released his vision for a bikeable and walkable future.

I didn’t look very closely into the walking component of DeMaio’s plan, but below are the details of the bike component of DeMaio’s plan which is tied into his vision for improving San Diego’s street infrastructure. Some of the details in DeMaio’s plan are borrowed from former mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher’s excellent vision.DeMaio’s states that given San Diego’s existing perfect climate and terrain, “San Diego could do much more to encourage and support cycling as a recreational opportunity and viable mode of transportation”. He goes on to state,

As the City’s Bicycle master Plan very clearly and simply points out: “more people are willing to cycle more frequently if better bicycle facilities are provided.” To make San Diego the world’s most bike-friendly city, we must actively work to make bicycling a viable and preferred travel choice through planning and land-use decisions, particularly during the community plan update process. Perhaps most importantly, we must ensure that as we invest in $900 million in backlogged deferred maintenance, we use that as an opportunity to invest in bicycle-friendly infrastructure.

Part of DeMaio’s vision to turn San Diego into the world’s best bike friendly city includes “[c]reating a city where cycling is a viable and preferred travel choice”. DeMaio cites the progress to date including the City releasing the bike plan in 2002 (updated in 2011) which was then unanimously approved by City Council in 2008. The specifics on how DeMaio intends to turn San Diego into the world’s most bike friendly city includes:

i. Planning and land-use decisions – “by enabling San Diegans to live closer to the places they work, shop, dine, and enjoy entertainment and recreation opportunities, additional San Diegans can more frequently utilize bicycling to commute.”
ii. Community plan updates – As many of the communities in San Diego haven’t had an updated general plan in decades, DeMaio states that he “will make the update of our community plans a priority, which will identify transportation needs within each community and the required infrastructure to support it. With the adoption of the updated Bicycle Master Plan in 2011, communities are now equipped to integrate more bicycle-friendly planning in these community plan updates.” The outdated existing plans are often based on a very auto-centric planning model, updating it to reflect current needs is a first step toward improving our communities to be more bike friendly.

iii. Investing in bicycle-friendly infrastructure – Here DeMaio ties his vision for making San Diego more bike friendly to his Streets Plan. He expands on this point by stating,

When it makes financial and logistical sense, Carl DeMaio wants to see bike lanes, bike paths, cycle tracks, bicycle boulevards, and other improvements.
Additionally, Carl DeMaio supports the installation of new bike racks in sensible locations throughout the city, and in some cases bike lockers and bike corrals when funding is available from SANDAG and other sources.
On streets where cycle tracks and even bike lanes aren’t feasible and shared use of cars and bicycles is necessary (referred to as bike routes), “sharrows” are an increasingly common sight in San Diego. They’re inexpensive (just painted arrows and bike emblems on the roadway). DeMaio supports the expanded use of “sharrows” throughout the city to ensure motorists are aware of the shared use of these lanes

iv. Eliminate outdated requirements for bicycle registration – Here DeMaio is referring to the bicycle registration requirement that is both unenforced and unenforceable given all the other existing city woes.

DeMaio additionally mentions the upcoming bike share program and expresses excitement at its launch:

Carl DeMaio is excited to see Mayor Sanders launching such a cutting-edge and much-needed program in San Diego, which will make cycling even more appealing and easy for residents

Perhaps DeMaio’s most explicit statement, is his vision to immediately work on ensuring that San Diego gets on the list of America’s most bike friendly cities. Given that the eighth largest city is not on that list, this is a good goal that will take us toward becoming the world’s most bike friendly cities.

DeMaio, in releasing his vision for a more bike friendly future, has proven that bicycling is not a partisan issue despite what elected officials at the state and national level want bike advocates to believe. DeMaio is the local Tea-Party darling and the local Republican Party favorite to win the mayoral race. I commend DeMaio for explicitly committing to turn San Diego into the world’s best bike friendly city.

What are your thoughts on the plan? Has DeMaio releasing this plan swayed your decision on whom to vote for mayor in November?