Time flies when you’re spending your weekends converting the yard to drought-tolerant landscaping. Breaking out the bullets to catch up:
- People on bikes
- Thanks to BikeSD for naming me to their board! Member Bruce Shank is leaving San Diego so he asked me to take his slot. I’m really excited to help advocate for safer bike infrastructure in San Diego, especially given the huge projected increases in bike transit mode share in the city’s Climate Action Plan (more on that below).
- More thanks to BikeSD, Sam Ollingers specifically, for all of her efforts on getting the SR-15 bike lane approved at SANDAG (thanks to Todd Gloria for his work there too). It will run from Adams Avenue to Mission Valley on the east side of the freeway with a barrier, and provide half the grade of Texas Street. As a Kensington resident who’s terrified of biking Fairmont, riding out of my way to Texas (and then climbing that steep hill back up while inhaling fumes) isn’t fun. The facility is scheduled to open in January 2017; connections under the freeway to the trolley will have to wait until after that.
- DecoBike membership sign-ups go live Monday, but will there be many stations in the ground? It sounds like they’re getting very close to wide-scale deployment, but holdups remain on equipment and siting conflicts. It was disappointing to hear councilperson Ed Harris is working behind the scenes to keep DecoBike stations away from bike rental shops in his district. Regardless of your opinion on that, this is a process that should be out in the open.
- Interestingly, DecoBike was announced in San Diego around the same time that Seattle’s non-profit bike share Pronto was. Guess which one is up and operating first? And Pronto has daily and annual fares significantly less than DecoBike. I’m still a strong DecoBike supporter, but I do wonder what might have been if our bike share was a public/private partnership rather than a for-profit operation largely aimed at tourists, not residents.
- Some good exposure for DecoBike will be the upcoming CicloSDias that runs up 6th and down University in Hillcrest on November 9th. They’ll have a demo station and maps showing where stations will be in Uptown and elsewhere. I’m hoping to join the tactical urbanism folks at KTU+A as they demonstrate a sample cycle track near the end of the CicloSDias route (not far from the farmers market on Normal). If you can, please consider making a contribution to CicloSDias since these street events require significant funding to put on.
- An informational
meeting was heldpresentation was performed by the city in Bankers Hill last week (at the monthly Bankers Hill Community Group meeting) to explain the extension of the 4th and 5th Ave bike lanes up to University. I was encouraged to see there was little opposition to the lanes – perhaps because none of the traffic and emergency response concerns voiced against the previously-installed lanes have materialized. John from BikeSD has a good writeup on the meeting
- One big no-show at the Bankers Hill meeting was Uptown Planners chair Leo Wilson, who has vowed to stop the bike lanes from being built because they take away an (unnecessary) lane of auto traffic. He’ll attempt to use an environmental quality review to do so – by Wilson’s logic, cars are better for the environment than bikes (yet another reason why Wilson needs to go). Eventually these “buffered” lanes will be replaced with a cycle track behind parked cars as part of the SANDAG Uptown Bike corridor.
- While Uptown Planners continue to put autos at the top of their transit priority pyramid, one need only look to the Downtown Partnership for a more balanced view (I recall seeing a version of this graphic on their site but can’t find it now):
Check out the multitude of bike lane options they’re proposing in their downtown network alternative questionnaire. Give your feedback on which streets should get lanes, and what type, along with potential one-way to two-way street conversions.
- Up at UCSD, construction begins next month on the I-5/Genesee Ave improvements, which includes a “a Class 1 bicycle and pedestrian facility –a dedicated path for the exclusive use of bicyclists and pedestrians. This path will provide links to transportation, employment centers, hospitals and the campus. At UC San Diego, this dedicated path will run east of the Campus Services Complex and will be accessed at the Gilman Drive/Voigt Drive intersection. It will extend to the Sorrento Valley Coaster Station north of campus.”
- Voice of San Diego shows that much of the city of San Diego (including Uptown) falls under the city’s Climate Action Plan goals to boost non-auto mode share to 61% by 2035. This is a very progressive plan, considering it’s been approved by a Republican mayor. Bike mode share is projected at 18% in areas like Uptown, but the Uptown Community Parking District’s president is questioning why we’re adding bike stations when ridership is low – then opposes construction of bike lanes that would increase ridership, due to potential parking loss/movement. He also supports public subsidies for parking. As Ben Ross points out in “Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism”, these subsidies result in public transit (set to increase to 25% mode share under the CAP) not being on a level playing field with autos. It seems many on the Uptown Community Parking District have goals completely contradict those of our city’s Climate Action Plan.
- The SR-15 “Centerline” project starts soon, and will provide freeway center-median access to the rapid bus route in mid-city. One interesting part is that a separate center bus lane will be constructed all the way from the bottom of the hill in the southbound direction. From the Caltrans folks:
The transit only lane will begin near the bottom of the hill at the bridge over Camino Del Rio South. The buses will slow going up the hill but they will be in their own dedicated lane. I assume the buses will do the majority of the merging into the #1 lane (fast lane) north of I-8.
- Speaking of SR-15, I’ve really enjoyed riding the new rapid 235 bus to downtown – it was full when I rode it last Sunday morning from El Cajon Boulevard to the new BikeSD headquarters. Recent new rapid/express additions include rapid 215 down ECB and Park (the new traffic lights unfortunately weren’t automatically changing for us the day I rode it), rapid 237 to UCSD from the new Mira Mesa transit facility, and express 170 from Adams to downtown. And now that UCSD has gotten rid of the free bus zone, I’ve signed up for a MTS/NCTD monthly EcoPass (a 25% discount) – so no more carrying spare change for non-zone routes. Still hoping that stored Compass Card value will arrive for someday for non-monthly pass holders.
- A Caltrans grant application for a study to improve Hillcrest’s roads for pedestrians and bicyclists is circulating in Uptown. Here’s a screenshot of the focus areas – I’d love to see those scary freeway merges on Washington addressed:
- A likely small increase in the California gas tax will be enacted next year as part of the state’s cap and trade pollution program, and that’s got the oil industry and conservatives up in arms. 25% of funds ($230 million in 2013) from the program goes to “environmental justice”, including transit-oriented development in low income communities most negatively impacted by pollution. In San Diego, funds go to areas like Barrio Logan (including mixed-use project Comm22) and southeast San Diego:
So it was surprising to see the oil industry join forces with low-income advocates, including southeast San Diego’s United African American Ministerial Action Council, to decry the potential gas tax increase – because it could slightly increase their members gas bills. This despite a large decrease in the cost of gas this year. These groups want to *increase*, not decrease, their community’s dependence on volatile gas prices (and oil company profits) by opposing funding for affordable housing near public transit in their neighborhoods? Talk about working against your own interests.
Was hoping to get to some new restaurants and land use items but this post is running long… will save them for next time.