Uptown Parking District Board Members Just Can’t Stand Bicycle Riders

It seems like its always Groundhog Day in Uptown. Last year, SANDAG board members voted to create the Uptown Hole as shown below:

Since that vote, many of our supporters have banded together to ensure that when it comes time to implement the Uptown Bikeway, the gap ceases to exist. The SANDAG board is scheduled to determine if the project can be exempted from a CEQA review, since the rationale used to justify the hole was based on the archaic Level of Service justification—or rather, the old car-centric view that the only form of traffic worth analyzing and planning for was vehicle traffic.

But in the meantime some board members at the Uptown Parking District, a city sanctioned (and funded) entity to manage Uptown’s parking supply, want to chip away at the existing proposed routes (highlighted in purple above).

Below is an email from our board member, Paul Jamason that will give an insight on this continued shortsightedness by the Uptown Community Parking District whose mission is to:

improve availability and supply of parking for residents and businesses, by re-investing its portion of parking meter funds with fiscal responsibility. The district will also consider traffic circulation, transit effectiveness, biking, and pedestrian mobility in its neighborhoods and develop creative collaborations to support a vibrant local economy.

One way to “improve the availability and supply of parking for residents and businesses” is to offer choices that prevent the need to drive, increasing supply doesn’t always mean building more parking. But without a connected bikeway network, the only option to get around will be the vehicle which requires far more land for parking.

The email from Jamason below was sent to Mayor Faulconer and Councilmember Gloria:

Hi, I’m writing to inform Mayor Faulconer and Councilman Gloria’s offices of Monday’s Uptown Community Parking District Board meeting regarding the SANDAG Uptown Bikeway.  The Board will be voting again on whether to recommend removal of the Bikeway on 4th and 5th Ave north of Robinson, so I’m asking that representatives of your offices attend.
This motion was previously voted on, and failed, at the April UCPD Board meeting.  Adriana Martinez from Councilman Gloria’s office informed UCPD that SANDAG would be proceeding with this segment of the Bikeway regardless of UCPD’s advisory vote (1 minute mark here: http://bit.ly/1WKzLgc).  However, the Hillcrest Business Association is determined to remove this segment, and its UCPD board members have forced a second vote – when the current UCPD President is unable to attend due to illness.
Monday’s motion from UCPD/HBA board member Cecelia Moreno includes new language stating that this Bikeway segment should not be exempt from CEQA because it removes 12 street parking spaces (there are 700+ off-street spaces on these blocks).  The notion that removing a small amount of parking for a bike lane is a “negative environmental impact” is dubious at best.
As your offices are aware, UCPD has been directed to “facilitate the use of alternative forms of transportation to reduce parking demand” (https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/newsrelease150630.pdf).  The Bikeway is an alternative form of transportation, and it is needed to help achieve the city’s Climate Action Plan bike more share goals.
UCPD has also been sitting on millions of dollars in unspent parking funds.  At the April meeting, Executive Director Elizabeth Hannon was asked what this balance was but has not provided an answer.  Instead, UCPD is wasting public parking funds on staff resources for ad-hoc group meetings and unnecessary votes.
Moreno criticismYour constituents’ safety is also being disregarded by UCPD HBA members.  HBA Executive Director/UCPD board member Ben Nicholls told me, “(Some) cyclists give all riders a bad name by riding up on sidewalks… with complete disregard for any rule or procedure at all“, but the sidewalk bicyclist in the attached photo told me it is too dangerous to ride on University.  Moreno told me SANDAG would implement pedestrian improvements in the University bikeway gap, but a SANDAG representative confirmed no changes are planned.  Due to the above, Uptown Planners voted to recommend SANDAG close this bike network gap.
I am asking that representatives from your offices attend Monday’s meeting to reaffirm the City’s commitment to its Climate Action Plan, parking district bylaws, public safety, and the remaining Bikeway.  Unnecessary votes and criticisms of SANDAG and UCPD members who work together with them (http://sdgln.com/news/2016/03/15/sandag-wants-remove-parking-bankers-hill-uptown-bike-way) are not part of UCPD’s mission.
Thank you,
Paul Jamason