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KPBS Midday Edition

New Protected Bikeway Connects Mid-City To Mission Valley

Bicyclists ride on the SR-15 commuter bikeway between Kensington and Mission Valley, Aug. 30, 2017.
Matthew Bowler
Bicyclists ride on the SR-15 commuter bikeway between Kensington and Mission Valley, Aug. 30, 2017.
A map shows the route of the SR-15 Commuter Bikeway and the future Central Avenue Bikeway Project.
A map shows the route of the SR-15 Commuter Bikeway and the future Central Avenue Bikeway Project.

State and local transportation officials on Wednesday opened a mile-long protected bike lane alongside SR-15, creating a safer and more comfortable bike route between Mission Valley and Mid-City neighborhoods.

Construction of the $15.5 million bikeway took about a year and a half, but plans for the project were first adopted locally in 2010. The project was a joint effort by Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments, the regional transportation planning agency.

Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, was among the first cyclists to ride down and up the bike path after the ribbon cutting ceremony. He said there is much more work to do in planning and constructing an integrated, safe network for cycling.

"I think the days of just putting paint on the street are behind us," he said. "It's not moving the needle for ridership or mode share like we had hoped. We want to build connected, protected networks."

City Councilman Chris Ward, whose district boundary lies across the freeway, said protected bike lanes are what the city needs more of to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

"Having safe connections to walk, bike or transit will help eliminate some of the trips that we're otherwise taking by car, which in turn helps us meet our city's goal for the Climate Action Plan," he said.

The bike path connects Adams Avenue with Camino del Rio South — two streets with no bike lanes at all. County Supervisor and SANDAG chairman Ron Roberts said despite that, the bike lane would be popular.

"It might be for work, it might be for shopping or it might be for recreation," he said. "It's going to get used, there's no question about it."

New Protected Bikeway Connects Mid-City To Mission Valley
Protected Bikeway Connects Mid-City To Mission Valley
Protected Bikeway Connects Mid-City To Mission Valley GUEST:Andrew Rice, project manager of I-15, I-805, and SR-94 corridors, Caltrans

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. The group has been hazardous or impossible. The main connection is steep and lined with cars. You can -- bicycle riders think twice about struggling up that hill. It is good news or city cyclists that a bikeway got the grand opening today. The purpose is to connect midcity -- Mid-City with mission city. Andrew, welcome. Thank you for having me. MI right that commuting has been a problem ? It has. The routes are high vehicle conflicts with cyclist, right turns or merging traffic, Beaumont Avenue is a good example is -- an example. This project that we are talking about provides a more direct and safer alternative Has this been something that Caltrans has been working on for a while? Trying to figure out how to solve the problem ? It is something we have been aware of for many years but funding is an issue. We were able to acquire funding for the project and we designed the construction. What were the goals of the project? What did you not want them to provide for cyclist ? Is really about providing cycles from the Mid-City communities and Northpark, a direct and safe route into Mission Valley. Where does it start? Can you describe the route ? It is a one mile bike path that darks -- starts at Adams Avenue and State Route 15 and parallels the northbound 15 down to del Rio South and connects at the bottom of the hill. There is some grade but less deep than Texas Street but there definitely is some grade from the top of Adams Avenue a blow which is why we required a lot of retaining walls to construct the bike path and you have a total of 11 retraining -- retaining walls. It was an engineering challenge. Aside from the retaining walls that you just mentioned, what are the other teachers of the bike path ? It is separated from the travel way on route 15 with the barrier. There is a barrier with a chain-link fence. It is a 12 foot wide bike path. It is I-for two way traffic. It has some pullout areas along the path. Those that are climbing up the hill, you have areas to rest if needed. The lighting is unique. It has L.E.D. lighting that is recessed inside the barrier so the lighting is directed down on the path and it is less obtrusive to the local community as opposed to doing your typical lighting that might have more an impact on a community. What is the steepest grade that by silicas have along the path ? It is about 6.5% over the length of 5%. There is flat areas but it gets up to 6.5%. Where does it end ? Edit in at [ Indiscernible ] on the south side of I-8. A cyclist would proceed and we would work with the city of San Diego, who is repaving Damino Del Rio and they will re-stripe new bike lanes. That will connect the bike lanes and a cyclist could had West to mission city Parkway and then they can cross I-8 or mission city Parkway and connect with Damino Del Rio north and then you have the heart of Mission Valley. Is this part of a bigger plan a bypass in that general area ? Yes. This is part of the regional bike plan. This is considered a high priority project within the plan. It is consistent with the city of San Diego master plan as well as the city Heights community plan. How are you letting cyclist know this new bike path exists? Are there signs? Is there a special website ? They can go to www.Sandiegomoving.com. You can find new information but I have been receiving emails and the word is getting out in the community about the new path. We have new signs up as well. They direct people from Adams Avenue and Damino Del Rio on the path. You might have them test this out. What feedback have you gotten ? I have not gotten too much feedback but I think everybody has been pleased with how it has turned out. They recognize that you have to be prepared to write up the hill if you are heading towards the city Heights area but it has been very positive so far in the response. Terrific. I have been speaking with Andrew Rice. Thank you.