City to Study Ways to Improve Bicycle Safety on Montezuma Road

Charles Gilbreth (June 20, 1948 - April 18, 2012). Photo:

In a city that was built around the automobile, it has taken a recent death and a subsequent memorial ride honoring the dead rider in order to get our elected representatives and the city staff to note that our existing transportation network does not accommodate all San Diegans in a manner that is safe, efficient and comfortable.

In addition to Councilmember Todd Gloria, the latest champion for a more livable San Diego is Councilmember Marti Emerald. In a May 25, 2012 Memorandum to Mayor Jerry Sanders, Councilmember Emerald requested that the City study Montezuma Road to improve bicycle safety in the wake of Charles Gilbreth’s death on April 18:

I request that you initiate a study of the roadway design of Montezuma Road between Fairmount Avenue and 55th Street, with regard to bicycle safety. Montezuma Road is a very important link in the City’s bicycle network, providing one of the few routes for bicyclists traveling east to west to/from a large area of the City and County of San Diego.

As you may know, a cyclist was killed on this stretch of road on April 18, 2012. While to my knowledge, the preliminary reports on the accident indicate that roadway design was not to blame, I find there is significant evidence and testimony that this area is dangerous for cyclists. I believe this corridor is in need of study to determine if additional measures are warranted to improve bicycle safety.

The use of bicycles for commuter and recreational travel offers public benefits for those who ride and for those who do not. The City needs to do everything it can to protect bicycle riders and thereby encourage more people to ride.

On June 5, Garth K. Sturdevan, Director of the Transportation and Storm Water Department that oversees bicycle projects and issues responded, in part, as follows:

This is in response to your May 25th, 2012 memo regarding bicycle safety on Montezuma Road. As requested, staff will perform an assessment of Montezuma Road between the limits of Fairmount Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard to determine if further measures can be implemented to improve bicycle safety. We will respond within 90 days with the results of our investigation.

Much thanks to Tim Taylor, Council Representative for Councilmember Emerald, for both following up on my initial request and ensuring that this one death would not be forgotten.

I will post subsequent updates as I learn of them.