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City Expands Protected Bike Lane Network Just In Time For Comic-Con

Comic-Con visitor Sapphire Nova rides an electric scooter down a protected bi...

Photo by Andrew Bowen

Above: Comic-Con visitor Sapphire Nova rides an electric scooter down a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue wearing a Supergirl costume, July 18, 2019.

City officials bolstered downtown San Diego's network of protected bike lanes this week just in time for the Comic-Con crowds to descend on the city.

Workers recently completed the installation of bike lanes on Sixth Avenue and Beech Street, adding to the existing protected bike lane installed on J Street last winter. The network now totals about two miles.

The bike lanes are part of the city's Downtown Mobility Plan, which was approved unanimously by the City Council in 2016. The plan calls for roughly nine miles of protected bike lanes throughout the neighborhood, as well as wider sidewalks, more trees and certain roads where cars are prioritized. Originally, Mayor Kevin Faulconer pledged to complete the plan's full bike network by this summer, but portions have been delayed until 2021.

The new bike lanes — which are also called "cycle tracks" — are separated from traffic with plastic poles and a line of parked cars. Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, said the city needs more of them as it attempts to meet its goals of getting people out of cars, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ending all traffic deaths.

Reported by Andrew Bowen

He also said the lanes are reducing conflicts between downtown's pedestrians and the legions who ride motorized scooters.

"People have been asking to get (scooters) off the sidewalks, and this is what it takes to get them off the sidewalks," Hanshaw said.

Sapphire Nova, a tourist from Phoenix who is visiting for Comic-Con, said she had not been on a bicycle since childhood, but that she found the scooters to be a fast, convenient and fun way to get around downtown.

"They're a great way to zip around from place to place, especially (with) Comic-Con, there's so much kind of spread out all over," said Nova, who was dressed in a Supergirl costume.

Nova added she was grateful the protected bike lanes exist.

"You don't have to ride through traffic, and you feel like you've got your own space," she said. "It really does feel nice to have safety."

The map below shows the existing protected bike lanes in green. The purple indicates bike lanes that are planned but not yet implemented.

Downtown Protected Bike Lanes

Listen to this story by Andrew Bowen

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