Missing the point on parking in Hillcrest

The Union-Tribune reports today that the Uptown Partnership, a "community group" that manages the Uptown Community Parking District for the City of San Diego is considering two options for increasing the amount of available parking in Hillcrest, including investing in a parking garage structure under the Mission Hills-Hillcrest public library branch; or purchasing or leasing part of the AT&T lot on Robinson Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets.

There are significant problems with both locations, but neither the Union-Tribune, nor the Uptown Partnership seems especially concerned with the main issue of sustainability. Each project would add only about 90 parking spaces in the neighborhood, certainly not enough to significantly alleviate the parking situation, but enough to bring in more cars hunting for spaces.

As an entity that subsists on parking revenues, the Uptown Partnership is concerned primarily with increasing parking spaces, not decreasing the need for those spaces by promoting walkable, bikeable, or transit-friendly neighborhoods. If the Uptown Partnership or the City of San Diego cared to notice, they would see that Hillcrest is already a pedestrian- and bicycle-heavy neighborhood, but certainly not a friendly one. Adding more parking spaces, and thus more cars, will only make Hillcrest less friendly to everyone who doesn't travel by automobile. It's a step in the wrong direction if we want San Diego to be a more bikeable, and a more sustainable city.

News Roundup

From around the web, a few items that are worth reading:

The dangers of riding on Jamacha Boulevard

San Diego bicyclist William Karstens having gotten fed up with San Diego County stalling in making any progress in removing the k-rails on Jamacha Blvd took his grievances to the media. The k-rails that were placed on Jamacha Boulevard were placed by developer Pointe International. Pointe International purchased a large tract of land that was originally owned by Fred Hansen's estate with the intention of continuing Hansen's vision of creating a resort community. Much of the land surrounding the Streetwater Reservoir was originally purchased by Pointe in 1982.

Meanwhile as the various county officials, developers and contractors debate on various issues relating to the resort community, bicyclists riding along Jamacha Boulevard have to ride in dangerous 50 mph conditions. In the video below, Karstens shows the NBC reporter exactly how dangerous the conditions are for riding.

While the various concerns raised by the county and developers may well be legitimate issues, we here at Bike San Diego wonder why a temporary slower speed limit is not being implemented as a much more safer and cost effective solution. Would the $300,000 still be an issue if the k-rails were blocking access to automobiles?

Are new pedicab regulations a slippery slope for bicyclists?

The San Diego City Council approved new regulations for pedicabs today, which will limit the number of pedicab permits to 250, down from 400. The new city ordinance will also ban pedicabs from sidewalks as well as public roadways with speed limits of more than 25 mph, and establishes restricted operating zones downtown and in some beach areas. Pedicab operators will also be required to clearly post fare information and provide seat belts for customers. The tougher regulations, which will go into effect October 2, were championed by District 7 Councilwoman Marti Emerald after the death of Sharon Miller of Illinois, who sustained a fatal brain injury after falling from a pedicab in July.

The issue for bicyclists is that by writing all of these regulations into a city ordinance, the council doesn't seem to be distinguishing what should be industry regulations, such as requiring fare information, seat belts, and setting permit limits, from traffic issues, like street and zone prohibitions. This potentially establishes a precedent for the council to restrict all pedal-powered traffic on certain streets or in certain zones as long as they do so under the veil of public safety. Industry regulations are fine, but shouldn't all legal vehicles be able to travel legally on all public roadways?

Ask your council member what they think.

City's "Lose the Roaditude" Campaign: Condescending or Helpful?

The City of San Diego's new "Lose the Roaditude" campaign has now launched, including a full line of posters to help get the safety message across. Here are the bicycle-related posters. So, what do you think, are these condescending or helpful? What other messages might the city have chosen to highlight that would have been more useful? Keep in mind that the campaign seeks to appeal both to experienced road users who perhaps need a reminder not to crash into each other and to inexperienced users who haven't figured that out yet. Click for full images.