With vibrant neighborhoods, gentle terrain, the Big Bay and year round sunshine, Downtown San Diego figures to be on every list of America’s great cycling communities. We have everything… except the bicyclists. Why? It’s not very safe. The street grid favors cars. That’s about to change.
The Downtown San Diego Mobility Plan is a project initiated last year by Civic San Diego. Chen Ryan Associates leads the consulting team producing the plan. The goals include developing a cohesive network of streets that’s safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, encouraging everyday commuter and recreational bike trips, improving connections to attractions and surrounding communities, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
While autos will continue to have priority on certain streets, other streets may get bike lanes, cycle tracks or bike boulevards. Underutilized one-way streets (like E St, 6th & 7th Ave) might be converted to two-way or designated for diagonal parking.
Since Horton Plaza opened in 1985, the transformation of Downtown has been stunning. In its 1450 acres, there are now about 37,000 residents. Projections show 90,000 by 2035. About 75,000 people currently work Downtown. That number could double. If you simply scale up our automobile based transportation system, imagine the gridlock. (And people complain about parking now?)
Chapter seven of the 2006 Downtown Community Plan recognizes the need to shift to alternative forms of transportation. More daily trips must be by public transport, ride share, car share, walking, and cycling.
Civic San Diego and Chen Ryan are currently drafting a preferred plan showing proposed types and locations of enhanced bicycle facilities. These will be revealed at a third workshop this spring. For more information and to sign up for email updates, visit the Mobility Plan website.
All photos by author