SAN DIEGO–Cyclist advocates celebrated the implementation of new protected bike lanes in downtown San Diego, which is part of phase one of the Downtown Mobility Plan.
Dozens witnessed San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the city announce new bike lanes that will physically separate bike commuters from traffic.
The city developed the Downtown Mobility Plan looking ahead to the future, as downtown San Diego is expected to triple in population and double in employment by 2035. The plan was also created to help the city achieve the goals of its Climate Action Plan — including a drastic increase in the number of bicycle commuters from one percent to six percent by the year 2020 and 17 percent increase by the year 2035. The new downtown bike lanes outlined in the plan will provide connections to popular destinations, support community health and well-being, and reduce air pollution and the impacts of climate change.
In addition to achieving Climate Action Plan goals, the rise in dockless mobility options in San Diego makes this first step of bike lane implementation more critical than ever, according to executive director of the San Diego Bike Coalition Andy Hanshaw.
“On the bike front, we’re overjoyed change is coming after many years of advocacy,” Hanshaw said. “Prioritizing people who choose to bike and walk is a historic step in the right direction. The lanes also come in a crucial time as we’re seeing more people opt for this choice in their commutes, especially as bikeshare and other shared mobility options become more accessible.”
The new lanes are part of the first phase in setting big-picture goals to increase downtown safety and mobility for all people, including greater access to San Diego’s hub.
“The new bike lanes downtown will bring residents from across San Diego into businesses in the neighborhood like never before,” said Business for Good Executive Director Karim Bouris, whose business association includes hundreds of small business owners who support making San Diego more bike friendly. “This is an opportunity for all people to explore the vibrant small business community — without the congestion of cars — while boosting the city’s local downtown economy.”
The phase one protected lanes are coming to three main downtown roads, frequently used by local bike commuters: J Street, Beech Street and Sixth Avenue.
“My colleagues and I bike through downtown as part of our daily commute, which can be intimidating weaving through car traffic,” said bike commuter Hailey Bossert, who regularly rides with several colleagues from the beach areas to their office in Golden Hill. “With these new protected lanes, we will feel a lot safer biking to work and can encourage others to join us.”
In addition to a series of bike lanes, the Downtown Mobility Plan includes pedestrian improvements proposed for downtown San Diego.