City moves forward North Park bikeway, removing nearly 450 parking spots
Proposed design allows for protected bikeways, some parking along a 2.4-mile stretch of 30th Street
City of San Diego staff will move forward with the final design of a bikeway project that will remove 449 parking spots along a popular corridor in North Park.
Staff presented a design recommendation for the “30th Street Protected Bikeways Mobility Project” on Wednesday to the city’s Mobility Board with changes to the original design backed by the mayor in May.
For the record:
8:47 a.m. Dec. 6, 2019A previous version of this story said Serge Issakov voted against. He did not. Noli Zosa voted against.
The recommended design calls for a protected bikeway along a 2.4-mile stretch of 30th Street from Adams Avenue to Juniper Street. The original project extended only along Howard Avenue and Juniper Street.
After nearly 40 minutes of public comment, the board, which advises the mayor on policies and issues related to mobility, voted 8-2 in support of staff’s recommendation.
City staff will move forward with the design presented as “Option A+,” which had not previously been shared with the public as an option.
The recommended design was presented as a “compromise” of various plans considered at the beginning stages of the project. Staff say the new option takes into account the safety of cyclists as well as the concerns of residents and business owners.
The design calls for removing all parking spaces from Juniper to Upas streets, but keeps some parking between Upas Street and Adams Avenue. The protected bikeway physically separates a cyclist from traffic with posts, parked cars or a combination of both.
Throughout the 2.4-mile corridor, there are a total of 552 parking spaces. One hundred and sixty-four spaces will be removed from Juniper and Upas Street. An additional 285 spaces will be removed from Upas Street to Adams Avenue, leaving 103 parking spots along that stretch.
The design incorporates parking, commercial loading zones, timed parking and accessible parking spots from Upas Street to Adams Avenue, with the removal of the center lane.
Bike advocates and residents see the bikeway project as a necessary step for the city to increase mobility, cyclist safety and meet the city’s Climate Action Plan and Vision Zero goals, which calls for reducing reliance on cars.
Opponents of the project are concerned removing the parking will negatively impact residents and business owners, as well as reduce the number of accessible parking spots.
A group that has been outspoken against the project, Save 30th Street Parking, filed a lawsuit against the city over the project in August. A court date for the case has not been set.
Pat Sexton, president of the group, said removing parking spots and the center lane is not good for the community.
“It won’t work,” Sexton said of the new design, adding she was surprised staff introduced a plan the public had not seen.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer in May directed staff to move forward with designing protected bikeways along 30th Street from Howard Avenue to Juniper Street with “Option A,” which would replace all parking spots with bike lanes. He also asked staff to evaluate extending the design to Adams Avenue.
Councilman Chis Ward, who represents the neighborhood, in July proposed the implementation of an option that would have protected bike lanes with parking.
“While I think that the new plan is a compromise in the right direction, I urge the Mayor’s office and staff to accommodate for ADA accessibility and continue to do outreach in the community,” Ward said in a statement Thursday.
There are currently 16 accessible parking spots along the 2.4-mile route. The proposed design would eliminate all accessible parking spots from Juniper Street to Upas Street, but provide 12 accessible parking spaces from Upas Street to Adams Avenue. At least 21 additional accessible parking spots were added through parking conversions on nearby streets.
They also included protected intersections in the design.
“We know that streets change, communities change,” said Everett Hauser, mobility program manager with the city, showing an image of 30th street in the 1970s as a four-lane street with parking on both sides. “It’s all about who you are designing for and we think that we can design for more people and we can still have all the nice things of a community with a balanced approach.”
Bike advocates and a majority of the board members were in support of the new design, saying it was a “reasonable compromise” from other options.
“We have so much to gain by supporting projects like this,” said Matthew Vasilakis, advocate with nonprofit Climate Action Campaign. “And everything to loose if we refuse to radically reorient our use of the public right of way to make it easier to (ride) a bike.”
North Park residents and business owners contended that the proposed option would negatively affect them.
Noli Zosa, member of the mobility board, voted against the design. He said he felt the city was not taking into consideration how removing parking will make it difficult for “small business to survive.”
City staff said the city has added 70 parking spots through angled parking conversions. The parking structure located on 30th Street and North Park Way is “underutilized” and has more than 300 parking spaces available, they said.
The bikeway project is expected to begin following the completion of a pipeline replacement project in 2020.
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