CEQA Exemption for Uptown Bikeway

SANDAG LogoOn Friday June 22nd, SANDAG approved the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) exemption for the Uptown Bikeway. As expected representatives on Hillcrest Business Association and California Restaurant Association attempted to revise the design on 4th and 5th avenue between Robinson Ave and Washington St. Below are Bike San Diego Board President’s  comments at the meeting. SANDAG board member comments will be highlighted in a future post.

Hello. I am Jeff Kucharski, Board President of Bike San Diego. We represent San Diego residents who simply want to bike safely in our neighborhoods. Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this important item.

The staff report is clear. The project is qualifies for CEQA exemption. Thank you to staff for a great explanation on CEQA exemption rationale.     

Despite the fact that parking impacts are immaterial to this CEQA exemption , we are going to hear a lot about parking today. As the staff reports details, there are underutilized parking garages in the contested area of 4th & 5th Ave.

In fact, a single off-street garage in the contested area has average of 151 open spaces on weekdays and 283 opens spaces on weekend. These numbers from a single garage dwarf the 23 spaces parking enthusiasts are lobbying to save. The enormous community benefit of a complete bikeway outweighs this negligible loss of parking. For our membership, the benefit of riding safely in their own neighborhood is invaluable.

Finally, I ask the board to refrain from recommending additional delays. The public outreach for this project has been extensive. I doubt any other project has SANDAG reviewed this thoroughly. While SANDAG staff are friendly, I have seen them too often over the past 4 years. I often think of how my life has progressed since this project began.

But rather than highlight my life progression as a reference point, I will use my Councilmember, Todd Gloria’s career. While this project was announced, Todd Gloria has been my city council member, council president, interim mayor and likely state assembly member before this project’s construction begins.  

So please no more delays!! There is no solution to the parking enthusiast’s inflexible and extreme demands. In 2015, they objected to university ave, 2016 they objected to 4th and 5th avenues. And 2017, their objections are TBD.   

Thank you for your time. Please approve the CEQA exemption without changes to design or timelines.