Before we can think about bike lanes in our neighborhood, we need to understand where we are now and how we got there. Over the past five years, the city developed plans to add bike lanes to our existing roadways. The two most important plans are the 2013 Bicycle Master Plan and the Community Plans (for North Park and Golden Hill) passed in 2016. Other plans, like the Climate Action Plan and the Vision Zero policy, affect how lanes are planned. Want more details? You’ve come to the right place.
Almost five years ago, in late 2013, the city put together a “Bicycle Master Plan” to design a network of bike lanes throughout the city. In addition to the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, a county-level entity known as the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, is building some bike lanes. In our neighborhood, the main SANDAG project is the Pershing bike lane, which will connect downtown with North Park via Pershing Drive, with outlets at Redwood and Upas. It should (hopefully) be completed in a couple of years, sometime in 2020. It will add a nice roundabout at Redwood to connect to our community, like this:
Ideally, we can design a feeder network that meets up with the Pershing Bikeway, with connections to our main business areas and all corners of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the Bike Master Plan…does not do this. Here’s the city’s original plan for this area:
The blue lines are real bikes lanes and the yellowish line along 28th Street is a separated bike path. The green lines and dots are what the city calls “bike routes” and are places where the city paints what are known as sharrows on the road, meant to signify that bikes and cars should share the road. You’ve probably seen them, they look like this:
A couple of years after the city adopted the Bike Master Plan, the city also passed the Climate Action Plan, with the goal of reducing the city’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2035. This, in simple terms, is a big deal. The city plans a wide range of actions to make this change, including a goal to increase bicycles commuters from about 1 percent to six percent by 2020 and 18 percent by 2035 in areas near transit. (Most of the Right Side is not considered an area near transit at this point, but it will be in the future under existing transit plans.). Right now, we are under two percent citywide. The Climate Action Plan itself doesn’t include specific plans for how to reach these targets.
Most recently, almost two years ago, the city passed the new North Park Community Plan, which largely mirrors the Bicycle Master Plan for bike lane plans, other than shifting one bike route from Palm Street to Redwood Street (likely because Palm is split by Switzer Canyon and the old plan was impossible). Similarly, the Golden Hill Community Plan was adopted at the same time and largely mirrors the earlier Bike Master Plan. The Golden Hill Plan contains one of the few on-street bike lanes on the Right Side, on Dale Street between Date and Juniper. This parallels a bike lane segment on 30th Street, which the Bike Master Plan had stretching down to Beech, but also conflicts with reality, as the bikes lanes are already striped on 30th Street down to Ash Street. Anyways, here is the Golden Hill plan:
Considered as a whole, the existing (yet largely unrealized) “plan” is generally for a real bike path up and down 28th Street, bike lanes on 30th (or Dale?) between Juniper and Date, and some sharrows painted in other areas. The current reality already doesn’t match this plan and there doesn’t seem to be much consistency between the plans. But this is just the start of the problems. Still interested? The next post discusses what’s wrong with these plans.