It’s a busy week for the SANDAG Bikeways this week, with two community planning group presentations and a public open house. The big one is the public hearing for the Pershing Bikeway, which will be held Wednesday at 6:15 PM (doors open 5:30) at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park:
I can’t seem to find the renderings for the project on the SANDAG page, but it will address the incredibly dangerous section of Pershing near I-5, where bicyclists must navigate drivers accelerating onto two high-speed freeway onramps. This terrifying navigation isn’t always successful: there were 13 bicyclists injured (two severely) from 2004-14 on Pershing. A separated bikeway and reduction of auto lanes from four to two will greatly increase safety:
Opponents of the project say that no bicyclists deserve safe facilities, because some of them run stop signs; meanwhile, fatalities caused by inattentive drivers are at an all-time high, yet we keep building roads. Last Saturday we saw an SUV (likely speeding in the wet conditions) up on the guardrail on Pershing, just inches from flying into the canyon below.
Pershing Bikeway opponents also claim the changes will cause huge traffic delays, but a traffic study performed for the project shows no significant effect. “We don’t believe it” is the predictable response from some residents on NextDoor. The traffic study, which only considers automobile level of service, was required by the City of San Diego for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. This is because the City still hasn’t adopted a state directive from 2014 to evaluate a project’s impact on *all* modes of transit, not just drivers. If the City is serious about its Climate Action Plan, why is it still only measuring auto delays while ignoring how bike lanes reduce vehicle miles travelled and carbon emissions?
– SANDAG will be giving an update on the Meade Avenue Bikeway Tuesday at the Normal Heights Community Planning Group (4649 Hawley, 6 PM). The update is in response to opponents who have been demanding changes that would result in no parking loss. Currently, the project will remove a small number of spaces around intersections set to receive traffic-calming circles and crosswalks.
I often bike this route and the intersection visibility is terrible – drivers have to pull into the street to see what’s coming, because there’s only a small red-curb section on two of the four Meade intersection corners. It also lacks crosswalks. Drivers speed well over the posted limit, and I had one driver come within a foot of me as they passed. Given the above, and the City’s adoption of NACTO recommendations specifying 20-foot no-parking buffers around intersections, there is no way to make Meade safer for all users without some on-street parking loss. Even without the 20-foot buffer, installing just a crosswalk would still result in one parking space loss on one side of the street (the other side is already red-curbed).
Opponents claim they simply have no on-street parking to “give” – as if they own the public street space for their personal car storage – and some have suggested their property lines extend halfway into the public street. Meanwhile, bike lane advocates, who hoped for protected bike lanes on El Cajon Boulevard, but ended up with unprotected lanes on Meade (to preserve street parking on both streets), can only wonder how much more their safety will be compromised while attempting to get a single safe bike route through the neighborhood.
– At the same time as the Meade update, SANDAG will be doing another at Uptown Planners (Tuesday, 6 PM at Joyce Beers center) regarding the 4th/5th Avenue Bikeways. Attendees will also be able to provide input on aesthetic elements of the project.
If you can attend any of these meetings to voice your support, please do. Be aware that speaking out for a single safe bike lane in your community may get you labelled as an “extremist biking lobbyist“, but treat it as a badge of honor. Opponents will be present at all three, so it’s important that SANDAG and City officials hear both sides.