Bike Share Boom

Bike Share Boom

Dockless bike share has returned to UC San Diego, eight months after campus officials removed the unapproved Ofo system.  50 Spin bikes deployed in December will grow to 300 this month as part of the university’s pilot.  And at 50 cents for a half hour ride, pricing is just one tenth that of San Diego’s docked DecoBikes.  Given the vast size of UCSD’s campus, the bikes should get a lot of use. 

One major obstacle to bicycling at UC San Diego is that riding on either of the two main north/south paths on campus will score you a ticket (from 8:30AM to 5PM daily), depending on enforcement.  While the university plans to create a path on Ridge Walk, the westernmost of these two routes, no timetable for implementation has been set:

Meanwhile dockless Lime Bike has had a successful launch in Imperial Beach, with many rides ending at bus stops – demonstrating how bikes can solve the last mile problem of public transit.  

“It’s been really positive for our city,” Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina said. “We thought it would be much more about tourists, but it’s been adopted by residents. They’ve exposed a real need in the community for dockless bike share.

In National City, where traffic calming improvements have been made for pedestrians and bicyclists on Eighth Ave, they’ve also jumped on the Lime Bike bandwagon.  Yet in San Diego, city officials say that their contract with DecoBike prohibits them from allowing additional bike share programs.  I couldn’t find that language in the contract; BikeSD has a good summary of the issue. 

The SR-15 bikeway opened a few months ago and it’s been a huge improvement over Texas St for getting into – and especially up and out of – Mission Valley.  It’s also much easier for me to access the Green Line Trolley, which I can take to Old Town and then bus it to work.  Watch out for freeway-like speeds on Camino Del Rio South however (the city will add bike lanes during an upcoming repaving), where there are some fairly popular businesses as of the new year.

SANDAG provided an update a couple months ago at KenTal Planners on the Central Ave Bikeway, which will connect to the SR-15 bikeway from the south.  And 2018 will see the start of the University Avenue Mobility Project in North Park – 15 years after discussions to improve mobility on the corridor started.  Removing street parking on transit corridors to improve bus service has been a big part of the ridership success story in Seattle – something you won’t read about here.

The City of San Diego’s bike share picture may be muddled, but the San Diego Reader’s view of bike share is quite clear.  Not one, but two (“Chinese Bicycle Torture“, no less) recent Reader articles have criticized dockless bike share agencies for having the audacity to lobby the city.  Oddly, when the Hillcrest Business Association spent $10K on a lobbyist to kill the University Ave Bikeway in 2015, there wasn’t a peep from the Reader.  And when Carleton Property Management – property owner for Snooze AM, Urban Outfitters, etc on 5th Ave – hired lobbyist Cindy Eldred to kill the 5th Avenue Bikeway this year, silence from the Reader:

To paraphrase the Reader’s cranky (and factually incorrect) cover article from 2016, what’s the deal with their “irrational anti-bike bias”?  Throw in its El Cajon Blvd bike lane piece authored by an outspoken Meade Ave Bikeway opponent, and there’s a pattern going on here.  But when you consider their opposition to housing during our housing crisis, hostility to increased higher ed opportunities (UC educates more low-income and first-generation college students than any other US research university) as college costs soar, and their devotion to parking, it all comes together – The Reader is the official rag of the “Me First!” San Diego boomer. 

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