North Park's 30th Street To Get Protected Bike Lanes
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Thursday he was directing city staffers to remove on-street parking spaces and implement protected bike lanes on a major street in North Park.
Faulconer released a memo saying the new bike lanes on 30th Street would be a "transformative mobility project" and would connect to other planned bike projects in the area to help create a more complete bike network.
"Reducing our reliance on cars by bringing new mobility choices into our neighborhoods is critical to meeting the city's Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero goals," he said. San Diego's Climate Action Plan requires the city to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, and its Vision Zero program aims to end all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2025.
The plans for bike lanes on 30th Street are tied to the replacement of a pipeline that runs beneath the street. That project is expected to be completed in the first three months of 2020.
City traffic engineers had come up with three design options for the bike lanes. The two options nixed by Faulconer would have preserved some on-street parking but resulted in less safe or comfortable bike lanes.
The North Park Planning Committee, which advises the city on transportation and land use issues, voted Tuesday to support the design ultimately selected by the mayor. City staffers said that design's wider bike lane would better accommodate cyclists of different ages and abilities by allowing passing or side-by-side riding.
Several people told the planning committee Tuesday that the removal of parking on 30th Street would negatively impact businesses and would make parking for residents more difficult. Board members of North Park Main Street, which represents businesses in the neighborhood, voted to support a design that would allow for narrower protected bike lanes with some parking preserved.
Protected bike lanes are generally preferred by cyclists and safe streets advocates because they have some degree of physical separation to protect cyclists from moving cars. Cities such as New York and Seattle have found they can greatly increase the share of people who travel by bike.
Faulconer's decision to remove all of 30th Street's on-street parking spaces was particularly noteworthy: In the past, concerns over parking loss or traffic congestion have led officials to water down, delay or derail bike infrastructure projects.
City Councilman Chris Ward, whose district includes North Park, said his office had given presentations on the project to 12 different neighborhood meetings and had answered hundreds of constituent phone calls and emails.
"If we are going to be serious about achieving our Climate Action Plan goals, we need improvements to main corridors throughout our city," Ward said in an email. "I hope this provides momentum for other critical infrastructure improvements, and look forward to seeing what other projects the mayor pursues."