The City has outlined its plans in an Aug. 20 letter from Esmerelda Y. White, associate engineer in the City’s Transportation and Storm Water Department, sent out to residents in the affected area as part of a parking removal survey for the proposed new bike lane.
The letter points out that the City, in coordination with the ongoing Pacific Beach Pipeline South project, has an opportunity to add bicycle facilities along West Point Loma Boulevard between Rue D Orleans (east) and Sports Arena Boulevard, in accordance with the City of San Diego Bicycle Master Plan, to connect with the existing bicycle network along West Point Loma and Sports Arena boulevards.
White’s letter reads that the project will involve providing six feet of bike lanes with two-foot buffers “that will benefit bicyclists traveling on West Point Loma Boulevard. By establishing bike lanes, this project will enhance existing transportation facilities for both bicyclists and motorists. The bike lanes will allow cyclists to move at their own pace, help define road space for bikes, motorists and transit and promote a more orderly flow of traffic.”
White’s letter added that bike lanes tend to have a “traffic-calming effect resulting in slower speeds.”
Her letter does, however, state there is a trade-off with putting in new bike lanes. “To establish bike lanes within the existing roadway, some on-street parking on West Point Loma Boulevard will be removed.”
Two Peninsula Community Planning Board members, and one cycling enthusiast, weighed-in on the proposed West Point Loma bike-lane addition.
“I have no objection to the addition of bike lanes, per se,” said PCPB board member David Dick. “I am totally opposed to any effort to impose a ‘road diet’ on this [or any] stretch of West Point Loma Boulevard to accommodate them.”
Dick said the impact of the loss of on-street parking “should be carefully considered and the opinions of those most likely to be impacted given due consideration.”
At a recent PCPB meeting on the subject, Dick suggested the City “Place notices on the windshields of vehicles parked along the affected stretch of West Point Loma Boulevard, on a couple of occasions, to make sure due notice is given to those most likely to feel the impact of lost parking.”
Fellow PCPB planner Sarah Moga Alemany, said: “I want to learn more about the plan and see more information about how removing the parking spaces would affect residents. I think it’s important to make our community more walkable and bike friendly so we can get more cars off the road.”
Added Moga Alemany: “I want to support plans that make it easier for residents to walk or bike safely to restaurants, stores, etc. I’m hoping this plan will take us in the right direction. The current traffic situation is horrible, and we need to look at other options.”
Of the new bike-lane proposal, District 2 representative for City of San Diego’s Bicycle Advisory Board Nicole Burgess, said: “The question should not be whether a bicycle facility is approved, but rather what kind of bicycle facility, and how it happens… Either remove parking spaces for a dedicated Class II bike lane, or implement a road diet to provide a separated Class IV bikeway and maintain parking.”
Burgess added that the City “should implement a safe bicycle facility as noted in the Bicycle Master Plan. Implementing a safe and comfortable bicycle facility is also a Vision Zero Strategy for Safety, and the City should incorporate best practices to ensure this corridor is improved with the current resurfacing project.”
Burgess noted this type of corridor with multiple lanes of high vehicular speeds over 35 mph is identified “as one of the most dangerous types of roadways and should definitely be required to provide a separated facility for people who want to bike. This is an extremely important corridor for the residents and businesses in the area and the people who access this area by bike and foot.”