By KENDRA SITTON | Uptown News
SANDAG hosted a press conference Thursday to celebrate the start of construction on the Georgia – Meade and Landis Bikeways. This comes six years after the SANDAG Board of Directors approved a $200 million Bike Early Action Program to expand the bike network throughout San Diego. These bikeways are just two of 40 projects comprising 77 miles of new bikeways as the city tries to improve multi-modal transportation options and meet climate action plan goals.
A sunrise bike ride from North Park to Cherokee Point Park preceded the event, which drew influential local leaders as the city tries to meet its climate action plan goals. In order to cut down on emissions, the plan requires many current car users to other modes of transportation at least a few times a week, including walking, biking, and public transit. The climate action plan calls for 6% of the road share to be made up of bikes by 2020. That percentage is supposed to double by 2035, as San Diego aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by that date. In addition to the climate action plan, the city has also enacted a Vision Zero program that’s sole goal is to end all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2025. Despite Vision Zero being adopted by many cities, pedestrian deaths are still up nationwide.
“Today marks a significant step on the path to creating a network of regional bikeways to give San Diegans safe options to travel to work, school, or just to get out and enjoy our beautiful region,” said SANDAG Vice Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “Breaking ground on these two urban bikeways brings us one step closer to achieving that goal.”
Blakespear joined San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez, Council member Chris Ward, and other community members to kick off the celebration.
Together, the Georgia – Meade and Landis Bikeway projects will add more than 6.5 miles of new bikeways and pedestrian infrastructure, which will provide a connection for residents to walk and bike between communities within San Diego’s urban core including City Heights, Kensington-Talmadge, Normal Heights, North Park, and University Heights.
The projects include two unique features — neighborhood traffic circles and bend-outs. While the features are meant to slow traffic in neighborhoods to improve safety, the features have been somewhat controversial. At the recent Normal Heights Community Planning Group meeting, a resident named Diane explained her neighbors on Meade Avenue created a petition asking SANDAG to ditch the traffic circles because their construction is taking away landscaping from corner lots. However, they have all already received construction notices. SANDAG says the landscaped parkways (between sidewalk and road) will be re-landscaped once the new curb ramps at intersections are completed.
The $16 million Georgia – Meade and Landis Bikeways construction costs are funded by TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation, administered by SANDAG.
The Georgia – Meade and Landis Bikeways are expected to be completed in spring 2022. They are the first in the series of bikeways coming to North Park and Mid-City, which in total will be 13 miles of bike boulevards and protected bikeways.
— Kendra Sitton can be reached at email@example.com.