Update: Progress on the 30th Street Bike Lane Project

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About three weeks ago, I wrote up the details of our first project to add bike lanes on 30th Street between Juniper and Redwood Streets. Since then, I’ve been overwhelmed with the community support. While it is still very much a work in progress, I wanted to share where things stand at this point.

  1. The petition in support of the bike lanes is up to 232 signatures.  Let’s keep it going.
  2. On November 7th, I gave a presentation to the City’s Bicycle Advisory Board and they voted unanimously to support the project. I used a PowerPoint presentation that I don’t have uploaded, but it follows the project blog post. If you want to listen, the meeting audio is available here, the discussion of this project starts at around 42 minutes. Thanks for Jeff Kucharski and Josh Clark for helping to set that up.
  3. I’ve met with Tyler Renner and Kathleen Ferrier, representatives from Councilmember Chris Ward’s office, to discuss the project. They are still evaluating the project and gauging community support.
  4. I’ve reached out to the North Park Planning Committee (Public Facilities Subcommittee) and North Park Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) to present at their next meetings in January. The MAD was formed to collect assessments from properties in North Park to be spent on beautification and maintenance projects in the neighborhood to specially benefit the residents. More on their potential involvement below.

With the help with some locals, I’ve also been able to do a little more research and discovered some history surrounding this project. This first started when a Burlingame resident, Jean Samuels, graciously came to the Bike Advisory Board meeting to support the project and mentioned a decades-old plan to beautify the bridge over Switzer Canyon.

These efforts originally resulted in a design concept to add some form of landscaped median to the bridge along with a new pedestrian structure off the side. It’s a nice concept, but it would cost a lot. The MAD has been saving a little bit each year to pay for the project and are up to $75,000 to pay to beautify the bridge. But because the project is so expensive, at the current pace of saving it will take about 245 years to have enough saved up. That’s… a long time. If we go back 245 years, we get to the founding of San Diego by the Spanish and a few years short of the Declaration of Independence. Some want to hold out for the grand vision, while others seem a bit more pragmatic and are ready to see something tangible in our lifetimes. As you can imagine, I fall into the camp of getting something done soon.

The North Park Planning Committee has considered this plan over the years. In October 2013, the committee voted to support a “traffic calming project” to support all modes of transportation over the bridge even if it required removal of parking:

Later, in July 2015, the Planning Committee considered designs for this project, including one that added a two-way bike lane over the bridge, just like we are proposing. Although I haven’t been able to find the minutes, I’ve been told the committee supported the designs.

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This is all great news. Although the earlier support only involved the section over the bridge, that’s a big chunk of the project. If we can get just a little bit more support to connect down to Juniper and up to at least Redwood, we can get this done. If we can also get the MAD to agree to spend some money on a nice median over the bridge, and perhaps future maintenance if they want to include landscaping, we can have a world-class bike facility in our neighborhood.  A lot of cities are using movable planters as physical separation for bike lanes.  We might be able to get some planters with the money the MAD has saved to enhance the bridge.

So what’s the next step? We still need Chris Ward’s support. And we need to get support from the local community boards mentioned above. I’ve spoken with some people who work for the city and they don’t see this as an engineering or money problem, but rather as a problem of political will. If we can convince everyone involved to support some logical change that will benefit many in the community, we can make this happen.

If you have any specific ideas of how to gather support, or otherwise to make this happen, get in touch! This project is far from over, but I also want to start thinking about what we can work on next. Have an idea? Let me know!

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