San Diego begins construction on protected bike lanes
- San Diego has begun construction of the first phase of an eventual 9-mile network of protected infrastructure for bicycles and scooters.
- As part of the Downtown Mobility Plan, San Diego will build two-way cycle tracks protected by barriers, parked cars or grade variations on major roads downtown and connecting popular destinations. Construction will begin on Beech Street, Sixth Avenue and J Street.
- "As we encourage people to get out of their cars more, we need to build transportation networks that provide safe paths of travel for everyone," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a statement. Faulconer added that the redesigned lanes would "give San Diegans more opportunities to embrace the surge in mobility options over the past year."
The Downtown Mobility Plan was approved by San Diego’s city council in 2016 to open major roadways for more mobility options beyond driving. Faulconer had initially said that the full plan could be finished by June 2019, but cost considerations and other delays pushed the schedule back. City News Service reports that the government told the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee that estimated costs had been revised from $10 million to $25 million.
The plan reflects the boom in mobility options like dockless e-bikes and scooters, which have proliferated in San Diego. The city has had a relatively relaxed regulatory approach to the new options, allowing new companies to flourish there. After being initially hamstrung by an exclusive bike-share contract with DecoBike, a legal decision brought dockless options like Lime, which also quickly brought its electric assist and scooter services to San Diego, the first market to get all three options.
San Diego’s embrace of active transportation contributed to its selection as a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge this fall. In a statement, the city said it would use the prize to help develop a "comprehensive mobility application to make transit and active transportation an easier choice for San Diegans," as well as amending its land code to encourage more non-driving options. While redesigning streets can be a costly and burdensome process, it’s the kind of move that will help San Diego meet its goals.
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