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San Diego Council OKs Adding 9 Miles Of Bike Lanes Downtown

June 22, 2016 1:17 p.m.

San Diego Council OKs Adding 9 Miles Of Bike Lanes Downtown

GUEST:

Claire Trageser, multimedia enterprise reporter, KPBS

Related Story: San Diego Council OKs Adding 9 Miles Of Bike Lanes Downtown

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Supporters say the city of San Diego just a huge step forward, toward achieving its climate action goals and transforming downtown. The city Council has approved a plan to read 9 miles of new bike lanes and widened 5 miles of sidewalks in the heart of the city. Recently reporter Clare Trageser took a bike ride with Andy Hanshaw to try to see what the new plan might look like.
Try to keep up expect he took me on a bike tour of the downtown streets that would get bike lanes.
We are now on sixth. Many of the bike lanes would be protected.
It has a physical separation between the bike lane and car traffic.
On sixth Avenue and car traffic.
On 6th Avenue, Hinshaw says he sees too much room for cars.
You can see the three lanes on the street, with two lanes of parking, that's too much. There's plenty of roadway for a bike lane.
Joining me now in studio is Clare Trageser. This is called the Downtown mobility plan, we heard in the clip it affects the section of sixth Avenue, what other areas are in form mobility makeover?
It's a network of streets downtown, it would add protected bike lanes on Pacific Highway and State Street and fourth, fifth, and Fifth Avenue's. Park J and C streets and Broadway in Beech Street.
What's it going to look like?
It's kind of a grid that goes through downtown and up into little Italy, some streets going east to west and some go north to south.
To all of the bike lanes?
There's 9 miles of new bike lanes and 5 miles of widened sidewalks.
When will the bike lanes go out?
I think that's what the city is figuring out, the plan has been passed. The goal is rolling out in the next couple of years.
One of the appeals of the plan is that all the lion -- lanes will be added at once. Why is that important?
They talk about that it's this network of bike lanes, the important thing is, if you've ever written on a bike lane, you need to go on a bike lane in one direction and then turn on a bike lane in another direction. It doesn't do very much good, if you're on a bike lane that sons the -- that stops.
You, took a longer by great downtown -- did you feel safe?
We rode most of the network of where the new lanes would go. Maybe my experience wasn't accurate, as you heard, I had a guide and experienced urban cyclist. Even that, I felt like there were some close calls or things that you always have to be looking and make sure someone is it going to open their car door, a bus pulls up, cars might drive too close to.
You feel like the one that shouldn't be there.
Yes. The one -- you're definitely the most vulnerable, if you get it you will be the one that gets hurt. You are the one that has to be watching out for yourself. You can't necessarily trust that cars will see you are know that you are there.
What's going to happen to parking spaces downtown?
It's interesting, in the first few years of the plan, the number of parking spaces goes up, the reason is that they are converting a lot of parallel parking spaces into diagonal, which fits in more cars. Doing that overall, adds 600 parking spaces, as the plan is implemented. Then they are reducing parking in some places, some for the bike lanes and more for the actual expanded sidewalks. Overall, as the plan is completely rolled out in 30 years, there will be about 475 fewer parking spaces then there are right now, even though the number will initially go up, then it will go back down. If that makes sense.
It does. As they are doing it we will see more parking spaces, as this goes through to its conclusion, there will be fewer. What kind of a world does this plan play in San Diego's hopes of reaching its climate action goals?
That's one of the big points that proponents have made. Downtown is just one portion of San Diego, obviously. The overall goals are for the whole city of San Diego, but Civic San Diego, the agency that design this plan, says it will increase biking and walking in downtown from 20 -- 28%, to 43% by 2035. That exceeds the climate action plan goals in the downtown area.
As opposed to this plan?
Business groups like the regional Chamber of Commerce are in support, there are specific people, especially in Little Italy, residents and business owners who live on ash street or State Street -- sorry beach street or State Street who own businesses there that are opposed because it reduces parking on those streets by about 40 spaces. It's kind of a microcosm, overall it increases parking in Little Italy, but it reduces it on those streets, people are posed and their concerns about the church and the school. It might impact drop-offs or limousines pulling up to the church for weddings. The plan has made concessions to those by moving the bike lane, one Lane over, so there will be room for people to pull up at the church, for example.
I've been speaking with Clare Trageser.