San Diego Bicycle Plan Getting Real: Panel Eyes $312M Bike Network

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Cycling commuters. Photo courtesy of SANDAG

The San Diego City Council’s Environment Committee Thursday unanimously approved a strategic implementation plan for the city’s current Bicycle Master Plan, adopted in 2013.

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The master plan identifies pressing bike-related needs and includes bikeways, programs and other projects intended to improve and maintain the local bicycling environment over a 20-year span.

The new plan, developed by the Bicycle Advisory Committee, provides recommendations to execute provisions of the earlier document. It also proposes methods to evaluate program success.

“San Diego has what it takes to become a city where bicycles are used for everyday transportation, recreation and general mobility,” said Councilman David Alvarez.

Overall, building out the master plan’s proposed bike network is estimated to cost $312 million.

Staff outlined six objectives and 30 tasks to carry out the plan.

The first objective calls for increasing the mode share of bicycle transport in transit-priority areas to 6 percent by 2020 and 18 percent by 2035.

A foremost priority will be initiating the master plan’s “high priority bike projects,” of which there are 40 estimated to cost $35 million.

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In particular, the implementation plan proposes completing high priority projects, including bike lanes and bike paths, in historically underserved communities.

The plan also suggests staffing a “mobility champion” in the mayor’s office, continuing bike share programs and coordinating with street resurfacing crews to implement bike-friendly designs on a rolling basis.

The implementation plan’s second objective is to increase rider safety by bolstering enforcement and improving infrastructure in high-fatality areas. That fits into Vision Zero, a goal to eliminate local traffic deaths by 2025.

Objective three is to increase bike program funding and grant dollars, specifically for new bikeways and bike-oriented city staff.

Objective four is to increase education. Fourth-graders should receive bicycle education, the plan said; public awareness campaigns should be used; and a traffic diversion school should be created for cyclists and drivers cited for bike-related infractions.

Objective five emphasizes improving institutional collaboration on bicycle issues within the city and within outside agencies.

The plan said regular stakeholder meetings should be held with the Bicycle Advisory Board, the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, the Port of San Diego, Business Improvement Districts, airports, schools as well as military, tourism and tribal agencies.

City policies can also be reviewed and changed to better accommodate bicycling, Community Plan Updates can be written with bikes in mind and city staff can be trained on Vision Zero goals, the plan said.

Finally, the last objective calls for evaluating program effectiveness by tracking bike mode share and reporting to the Bicycle Advisory Board on project implementation status.

— City News Service

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