Photos of Ruffin Road Bike Lanes

Nearly a year ago, we began covering the (then) yet to be striped bike lanes on Ruffin Road – a vital north/south artery for riders who both commute to and live in Kearny Mesa.

I finally had the chance to ride along Ruffin Road to get a sense of what the 3.25 miles of newly striped bike lanes looked and felt like. Riding on Ruffin Road on the bike lane was a more pleasurable experience than riding without the bike lane. The current posted speed limit on Ruffin Road is 45 miles per hour. I’d be curious to know what the 85th percentile speed limit is now with the striping of the bike lanes and whether the presence of the new bike lanes has resulted in slightly slower driving speeds.

The photo below shows the view of Ruffin Road at Aero Drive, including the uphill climb awaiting anyone wishing to head north along Ruffin Road. With a wider sidewalk, a buffer added to the entire length of the Ruffin Road bike lanes – Kearny Mesa could aspire to be a much more friendly to all San Diegans.

The start of the striped bike lane on Ruffin Road by Aero Drive.

The photo below was taken right at the start of the bike lane. With about a quarter of the bike lane in the gutter, riding here was not very enjoyable.

Ruffin Road Bike Lane by Aero Drive.

The bike lane improves as one heads further north. There is a bit of clearance between parked cars as seen below thus reducing the possibility of getting doored by an inattentive driver.

Ruffin Road Bike Lane

I noticed that at intersections, signs were placed to encourage drivers to yield to bicycle riders and the bike lane striping changed from a solid line to dashed lines. Some cities have been experimenting with coloring the bike lanes at potential conflict points(such as intersections). Visually I imagine bright green is more arresting than dashes. But the “Yield to Bikes” sign was very encouraging step forward.

Ruffin Road Bike Lane with "Yield to Bikes" sign.

Below was the start of some real change being implemented on Ruffin Road – a bike lane with a buffer to the left of the bike lane which will give the rider a little bit more breathing room when being passed at vehicles traveling at or above 45 miles per hour.

Ruffin Road buffered bike lane

The buffer disappears and the solid line turns into dashes to indicate that an intersection is approaching.

Ruffin Road Bike Lane

Heading north the buffered component becomes a bit of a head-scratcher. Seems like our bike lane stripers took some artistic liberties in striping this section of the buffered bike lane as seen below.

Ruffin Road bike lane

I’d venture a guess that the goal was to narrow the vehicle lane more than crafty handiwork on the part of our city employees.

Ruffin Road Buffered Bike Lane

The buffer reaches its widest point right before Clairemont Mesa Boulevard as seen below. The bike lane and its buffer now looks as wide as the regular travel lane.

Ruffin Road Bike Lane
Ruffin Road Bike Lane

Heading south on Ruffin Road was a different story. There was no buffer to be had, which wasn’t a huge issue as road heads south both in direction and in incline. But the big problem was individuals mistaking the bike lane for a parking lane, especially around National University. The University community was parking alongside the curb, despite the presence of ample free parking in lots on the University campus. Since I’ve noticed drivers paying attention to visual cues (like paint) more than signs, perhaps painting the cub red would drive home the message that the bike lane is not parking lane.

Cars parked in the bike lane on Ruffin Road

In areas where there were double lines there was no mistaking that the bike lane was not a parking lane.

Ruffin Road Bike Lane

Closer to Aero Drive, the same problems on the northbound section of the bike lane appeared with part of the bike lane in the gutter. But with the red curb paint and the “No Parking in Bike Lane” signs, the ride down wasn’t as unpleasant.

Ruffin Road Bike Lane

The biggest reason for the delay in taking a look at these bike lanes was my general dislike of riding down Fairmount Avenue or Texas Street in order to get to Kearny Mesa. Both Fairmount Avenue and Texas Street are unpleasant to ride on and Mission Valley is downright terrifying to ride through. While I can avoid riding down Fairmount and through Mission Valley, many San Diegans don’t have that choice or cannot make that choice. I hope the city considers improving these areas sooner rather than later so that more San Diegans can benefit the beauty of San Diego outside an automobile without having to fear for their lives.