Bolstered by a city traffic study showing available on-street parking, PCPB voted 11-3 April 18 in favor of creating a new cycle track along sections between Nimitz and Sports Arena boulevards. Cycle tracks are protected bike lanes that erect barriers – plastic posts, planters, parked cars – separating motorists from bicyclists.
Seven months ago, cyclists and some Point Loma residents were butting heads at the planning group over public fears that a new bike lane might displace too much parking and congest traffic further on the already busy east-west thoroughfare. But this time around, the bike path passed easily with little stated public opposition and the cycling community solidly behind it.
Everett Hauser of the County Department of Public Works presented on the bike-path proposal. He noted it will take advantage of resurfacing required on West Point Loma Boulevard, once the ongoing Pacific Beach Pipeline South project extending into the Midway area is completed.
Hauser pointed out improving bicycle infrastructure is integral to the City’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for cutting all greenhouse gas emissions in half, and for all electricity used in the city, to be from renewable sources by 2035. The CAP will be implemented, in part, by encouraging people to increasingly use mass transit and alternative transportation modes rather than cars.
“The CAP requires a 6 percent (transportation) mode share in transit-priority areas by 2020, and an 18 percent road share by 2035,” said Hauser, adding West Point Loma Boulevard qualifies being on a major bus route between Old Town and Ocean Beach.
New PCPB board member Lucky Morrison asked what the present figure is for mode share. “About 2 to 3 percent,” replied Hauser. “If we are able to provide improved street bicycling facilities, we can get closer to our CAP mode-share goals.”
Hauser showed a graphic of cross-sections of cycle tracks depicting how buffered areas separate bicyclists from motorists. Addressing concerns about parking displacement, Hauser presented results of a recent city traffic study of West Point Loma Boulevard.“Parking is not fully utilized on the street,” Hauser said, adding PCPB’s recommendation will now go to Mayor Faulconer’s office before being passed along to City staff for implementation.
Several Peninsulans spoke out at the April 18 meeting in support of a protected bike lane.“The bottom line is bike lanes are good for business and the communities they’re in, as well as helping us meet our CAP goals,” said Karim Bouris, executive Director of Business for Good San Diego, a nonprofit promoting small-business. “It will help get more people out of cars and help them get to businesses faster.”
“We need protected bike lanes to get our kids and our families and people of all ages and abilities to be able to get out and ride,” said OB cycling advocate Nicole Burgess. “We need to provide a safe facility for all of us to ride.”
“I encourage all my employees to bike to work,” said Jamie Hampton, who lives near West Point Loma Boulevard and owns Mixtee PR firm. “We need to make sure all people have the right to get around on the road safely.”
Before the vote, PCPB board member Don Sevrens thanked the biking community noting, “On-street parking is only half utilized during daytime and shopping hours. This (cycle track) is only painted lines on pavement that can be changed. I don’t see any public opposition. I support it.”