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Advocates: San Diego Budget Should Emphasize Bicycling, Pedestrian, Mass Transit Infrastructure

Bikes lined up at a downtown checkout station for the San Diego bike sharing company Decobike in January 2015.
Nicholas McVicker
Bikes lined up at a downtown checkout station for the San Diego bike sharing company Decobike in January 2015.

A group of alternative transportation advocates called Monday on San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to emphasize bicycling, pedestrian and mass transit infrastructure in his upcoming budget proposal.

They said the city should take steps now in order to begin working toward the goals of the city's Climate Action Plan. The plan has not been fully enacted, but the mayor and City Council have agreed on a basic framework.

RELATED: A Closer Look At San Diego's Climate Action Plan

Andy Hanshaw of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition said the city has done a lot to encourage bicycling, by allowing the installation of stations where bikes can be rented, and adding bike lanes to some streets.

"There is so much more that we need to do to reach our climate action plan goals, and to get more people biking and walking," Hanshaw said. "Safer streets with bicycle infrastructure is what is needed, and needed now, to get more people riding, save lives, and reach our climate action plan goals."

The climate plan envisions 6 percent of commuters riding their bikes to work by 2020. He said only 1 percent do so now, though it's an option being taken up more frequently by younger people.

Hanshaw said ridership is up on Fourth and Fifth avenues north of downtown, which now offer wider, safer bike lanes. With the mayor planning to resurface 1,000 miles of San Diego roadways in the next five years, the streets should also be "repurposed" with bikers and pedestrians in mind, he said.

Kathleen Farrier of Circulate San Diego, said three pedestrians or bicyclists are struck by cars daily in the region, and the collisions mainly happen on the same streets and in the same neighborhoods.

"Our streets should be safe, no matter where we go or how we get there," Farrier said.

She said the city should prioritize roadways with higher accident rates and repurpose them at the same time, to spend money efficiently.

"As an avid cyclist, Mayor Faulconer understands the need for safe and accessible streets for all modes of transportation," said mayoral spokesman Craig Gustafson. "He has made streets the city's top infrastructure priority, implemented a bike-sharing program and introduced a Climate Action Plan with ambitious environmental and transportation goals."

He said those priorities will be addressed in the mayor's budget proposal, which is scheduled to be released next Monday.