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Quality of Life

SANDAG OKs Funds For $14.5M Bike Path Along I-15

Map of SANDAG's plan for a bike path along Interstate 15.
Map of SANDAG's plan for a bike path along Interstate 15.

A $1.8 million budget adjustment that will help pay for a safer pathway for bicyclists who wish to ride between the Mid-City and Mission Valley was approved Friday by the Board of Directors of the San Diego Association of Governments.

The regional planning agency is developing the $14.5 million State Route 15 Commuter Bike Facility Project to build a one-mile path that would run along the side of the freeway between Adams Avenue and Camino del Rio South.

If funding comes through and everything remains on schedule, the path could open to cyclists by January 2017, according to SANDAG documents.

Currently, the only bike routes between Mission Valley and neighborhoods like Talmadge, Kensington and Normal Heights are Fairmount Avenue and Texas Street.

However, bikers on both roadways have to contend with high-speed vehicle traffic, while riders on Texas Street also have to work their way up a steep grade, according to SANDAG. The agency says the proposed route has an average grade of 4.8 percent, less than half that of Texas Street.

The route along Interstate 15, however, is nearly two miles away from Texas Street, should a rider detour along Adams Avenue, but it does provide access to several transit stations.

A SANDAG report said a concrete retaining wall will need to be built along more than half of the proposed route, and a concrete barrier will be needed along the full length to separate bicyclists from cars and trucks.

Final approval of the project could come in January, according to a SANDAG timeline.

BikeSD executive director, Samantha Ollinger, said riders used to have a safe route but it was wiped out during the freeway’s construction almost three decades ago, and Caltrans and the city of San Diego agreed to replace it.

“I think the most important part of this entire story to me is the fact that a promise made 30 years ago is finally actually happening," she said.

Corrected: July 1, 2022 at 9:44 AM PDT
KPBS reporter Tarryn Mento contributed to this story.