North Park – Mid-City Bicycle Meeting – Tues., June 25 6pm
SANDAG seeks community input for selection of route and infrastructure to make East-West bicycle connections
By John P. Anderson
Tuesday evening SANDAG (San Diego Associations of Governments) will host the 3rd Community Advisory Group Meeting to discuss the North Park – Mid-City (NPMC) Bicycle Corridors Project. Members of the public are invited to attend and voice their opinion on which routes would be best and which type of infrastructure is preferred (sharrows, bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, etc.). The meeting will be held from 6:00 PM to 8:30pm at 5450 Lea Street, San Diego, CA 92105 (Teen Challenge Center).
The NPMC project is on roughly the same schedule as the Uptown Regional Bicycle Corridor Project. The 3rd meeting for that project was held in Balboa Park on June 12th.
With both projects the primary conversation at the meetings to date has revolved around which routes bicycle infrastructure should be placed on. Some parties would like the routes to be sited on quieter, primarily residential streets like Meade Avenue and Landis Street while others would like bicycles to be better supported on major thoroughfares like El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue.
More simply put, the question is “Should we put bicycles where it is easiest to implement or where people want to be”?
Groups like BikeSD have come out in favor of focusing on major streets like University Avenue. I wrote in March on the same topic and I strongly support University Avenue as the best route for bicycling in this project area. At the meetings for the NPMC project the majority of voices raised have been in favor of major streets (at least from my first-hand perspective).
Despite strong support for routes like University Avenue every meeting has started off with a discussion of the non-major streets, retrenching the discussion and focus of the meeting onto routes that don’t appear to have the support of the community nor of business or civic groups.
This was certainly the case at the last Uptown meeting where University Avenue was essentially ignored by the official documents despite it connecting the Uptown project to the NPMC project. Both of these projects fall under the umbrella title of “Regional Bike Projects”. To establish a truly regional network projects need to be considered as a whole, not piecemeal. However, the piecemeal approach does make it easier to push through projects along the path of least resistance.
University Avenue presents the best opportunity in the entire city to show what cycling in San Diego can be, with just a little bit of public support to make it a reality. Walk down University Avenue and see how many people are walking, cycling, hanging out, etc. It’s a vibrant street scene and our best shot to show that San Diego is serious about quality of life and truly multi-modal transportation options. This is not just a discussion about cycling. It’s a decision on what type of city San Diego wants to be.
Let’s cut the crap and stop bemoaning the “car-centric” suburban sprawl that San Diego is constantly described as. This is a world-class city that should have world-class streets.
From La Mesa to the San Diego Bay, this is a truly regional route that would connect the biggest (and most diverse?) population in the city in one fell swoop.
Bill Fulton was just announced as the head of San Diego’s planning department. What is his goal for San Diego? To “make San Diego the most prosperous, sustainable and equitable city in the world”.
This is the sort of language we need to be using, and the mindset we should be approaching projects like the NPMC one with. Let’s stop accepting the status quo and taking what SANDAG and other authorities put on the table as the best options. Let’s stand up and voice our support for city-changing initiatives like real bicycle infrastructure on University Avenue. From La Mesa to the San Diego Bay this is a truly regional route that would connect the biggest (and most diverse?) population in the city in one fell swoop. It’s not just for the spandex-clad road bicycle set – it’s for kids riding to school, hipsters getting coffee, office workers commuting to work, retirees enjoying their golden years, and everyone in between.
Take a couple of hours tomorrow night and come speak up for University Avenue. This is an historic opportunity to take a huge step forward for San Diego. Also note that the meeting location is close to none of the proposed bicycle routes other than University Avenue. Perhaps a relevant side note given the topic at hand?