Tonight: Uptown Planners to Vote on Buffered Bike Lanes on 4th and 5th Avenue, SANDAG to Present Draft Alignments of Uptown Corridor

As Walt Chambers likes to say, San Diego’s future is being tried out in Uptown first.

Two big projects will be voted on by the Uptown Planners tonight: the SANDAG Uptown alignments, and the city’s first road diet which is being proposed for 4th and 5th Avenue (pdf link to agenda).

The Uptown Planners meeting starts at 6 pm tonight.

Uptown Planners meeting
When: Tonight (9/2/2013) at 6 pm
Where: Joyce Beers Community Center (4065 Vermont Street)
Parking: Bike parking is usually hard to find, so get there early to lock up to the nearest pole


Since the city council voted to unanimously approve the bike share program, city staff at the transportation department have started to work to implement bike routes to key destinations in the urban core communities that bike share users would want to reach: such as Balboa Park, the Embarcadero, the new Central library and the downtown ballpark. Rather than becoming a bike friendly city first before starting a bike share program, San Diego has decided to innovate by implementing its bike friendliness in a more counter-intuitive way.

This evening city staff will be presenting plans to put 4th and 5th Avenue between Laurel and Elm Street on a diet. The city plans on removing on vehicle travel lane and replacing it with a buffered bike lane. These two streets are prime for the city’s first road diet given their overbuilt capacity of three lanes.

Concept by BikeSD. Pretty welcome change, don’t you think?

Being a new concept in San Diego, many might be understandably upset. Losing anything is an unpleasant feeling. However the Uptown Community Plan last updated in 1988 had the following goals (among others):

• Give highest priority to improving local traffic circulation and enhancing the pedestrian environment
• Route through traffic onto freeways and onto major arterials such as Washington Street.
• Redesign specific access ramps to and from State Route 163 to reduce congestion and traffic hazards.
• Facilitate the use of alternative modes of transportation.

When it came to bicycle facilities the plan called for developing “comprehensive bikeway system which would not only provide a safe connection between neighborhoods, schools and commercial areas, but which would connect with bikeways in neighboring communities and Centre City.”

25 years after the Uptown Plan was adopted, it is safe to say that outside of some sharrow markings on University Avenue and 6th Avenue, the city has done next to nothing to facilitate safe bicycle travel in the Uptown neighborhood. So putting Uptown’s streets on a diet is a welcome change. Hope to see you tonight.