A protected bike lane on Beech Street
A new protected bike lane on Beech Street in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Jennewein

New protected bicycle lanes are appearing on three streets in downtown San Diego in the first phase of what could ultimately be a nine-mile system.

Crews are repainting streets and installing flexible plastic posts to move parking spaces away from the sidewalk and create a protected lane for bicycles and scooters.

“As we encourage people to get out of their cars more, we need to build transportation networks that provide safe paths of travel for everyone,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer when the project was announced in December.

The first phase includes three downtown streets:

  • Beech Street from Pacific Highway to Sixth Avenue
  • Sixth Avenue from Beech Street to Harbor Drive
  • J Street from 1st Avenue to Park Boulevard

The city’s Downtown Mobility Plan calls for the protected lanes on 11 other streets in later phases for a total of 9.3 miles.

“Building the first phase of the Downtown Mobility Plan will create a tangible example of a protected urban bicycle facility, and serve as an example for the region,” said Colin Parent, executive director of mobility advocate Circulate San Diego. “Once people see that it works in downtown, they will want protected lanes for their own neighborhoods.”

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.