The Alliance for Biking and Walking recently released a 2010 Benchmarking Report in order to measure the progress of efforts on bicycling and walking in the U.S. The overall conclusion of the report is that bicyclists and pedestrians receive a pitiful share (1.2%) of transportation dollars and yet, are at a much larger risk on our roadways where a disproportionate percentage of transportation dollars go toward auto-based infrastructure.

As the eight largest city in the country, the percentage of San Diegans who took full advantage of year round perfect weather to commute by bicycle was a pitiful 0.9%. The Complete Streets Act in California which was signed in 2008 and ensures that the design of all streets will enable safe access for all users was adopted by the city of San Diego. Yet to date, the city has done nothing to increase staffing to show the full support of that adoption. The sole bicycle coordinator at the City, Brad Jacobsen, was scheduled to retire in 2009 and the city has still not finalized plans on continuing that position.

Despite the gloomy report, San Diego has published very ambitious goals to increase bicycling [pdf link]  to a 10% mode share by 2020. Unlike Portland whose successful efforts to promote bicycling include trying out innovative bicycling facilities; leading bicycle promotion activities like Bike to Work Day and Ciclovía; San Diego’s plans to promote bicycling have been more modest. The plans include the creation and connection of bikeways, maintaining existing bicycle infrastructure, increasing the percentage of bicycle transit trips, and increasing public awareness of bicycling.

Photo from the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking

Facing a $179 million budget deficit and a crumbling infrastructure, the city of San Diego needs to step it up a notch if it really intends to meet the goals outlined in the Bicycle Master Plan. Maintaining existing bicycle infrastructure that is poorly connected is the very minimum that cyclists expect from the city. In order to really meet and exceed the goals outlined in the Bicycle Master Plan put forth by the city, San Diego needs to be a vanguard in promoting bicycling as a utilitarian form of transportation. I will be outlining some ideas in a forthcoming post.

In the meantime, you are encouraged to respond with your ideas or criticisms. What can San Diego do to ensure that 10% of all trips are made on a bicycle?