A fatal accident involving a scooter on Pershing Drive on Saturday. Photo via On Scene.TV..

In a move to separate cyclists and scooter riders from cars on Pershing Drive, Mayor Todd Gloria Thursday directed city staff to install bollards to create bikeways in both directions.

The action was intended as a temporary measure until the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) begins construction on permanent protected bikeways on Pershing Drive.

Two San Diegans recently lost their lives on the drive after being struck by cars.

On Saturday, Johnathan Sepulveda, 34, died when a car struck him as he was taking a nighttime ride on an electric scooter in Balboa Park.

The northbound sedan hit Sepulveda from behind in the 2800 block of Pershing shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, according to police and the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

Sepulveda, whose sister and brother-in-law were riding scooters in front of him at the time of the crash, died at the scene.

On July 20, a man who was allegedly driving under the influence of methamphetamine fatally struck 57-year-old Laura Shinn, an architect and director of facilities planning at San Diego State University.

Police said that at about 7:30 a.m., Shinn was struck from behind while riding on Pershing. She was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arriving, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.

Work on the temporary bikeways to prevent similar collisions has begun. They are scheduled to be complete in early October. Construction on permanent bikeways by SANDAG is expected to begin in early 2022.

Gloria noted his “firm commitment” for creating safe options for those who choose to bike, use scooters or walk, and pointed to $1.1 million in the city budget for creation of the Safe and Sustainable Transportation for All Ages and Abilities Team. The new 12-member unit is dedicated to planning and building bikeways across the city.

“Traveling around our city without a car should not be life-threatening,” Gloria said. “I will continue to work to make active transportation safe for all residents in all neighborhoods.”

Work on the temporary bikeways to prevent similar collisions has begun. They are scheduled to be complete in early October. Construction on permanent bikeways by SANDAG is expected to begin in early 2022.

“Mayor Todd Gloria campaigned on making streets more safe, and now he is making it happen,” said Colin Parent, executive director of Circulate San Diego. “Circulate welcomes this bold action to help make our streets safe for everyone.”

2021 has brought a rash of cycling-related deaths to San Diego, San Diego Bike Coalition leaders said, noting their tally of 14 cyclists killed in local crashes with vehicles.

“In light of the recent tragedies that have struck our community, this installation is a step toward a safer, more cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly San Diego,” said San Diego Bike Coalition executive director Andy Hanshaw.

He also urged SANDAG to continue to prioritize the safety of active transportation users “so that no other family loses their loved ones to what can be prevented through well-planned and safe infrastructure.”

– City News Service

Updated 3:10 p.m. Sept. 23, 2021

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