Tuesday, November 18, 2014

San Diego Bike Tour

By Dave Rice, freelance journalist

The four-day-long National Bicycle Tourism Conference kicked off in San Diego on Wednesday, November 5, with conference organizers hoping to highlight the region as an increasingly bike-friendly locale for residents and visitors alike. This is the first in the conference's 25 years of operation that San Diego was selected to host.

Prior to the start of the conference, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition staged a five-mile tour encompassing portions of downtown and Coronado, meant to highlight the nearly-complete Bayshore Bikeway, a 24-mile loop around the bay that's been under development since 1976, as well as various other improvements that resulted in Coronado being named in 2013 to a nationwide list of certified "bike friendly" city.

The tour kicked off in front of the county administration building, where Supervisor Greg Cox greeted a handful of cycling activists, local media, and national cycling press, offering encouragement for completion of the Bikeway and adoption of more cyclist-friendly policies countywide.

"What you're hearing throughout the entire region in San Diego is that we're really becoming more and more of a bicycling community," said Cox.

A short ride delivered participants at the San Diego-Coronado Ferry dock where, once on board, Bicycle Coalition executive director Andy Hanshaw and Stephan Vance, a transportation and land use planner with the San Diego Association of Governments, delivered an update on the state of cycling in San Diego.

"We're focused on getting people out and taking short trips, using their bike for commuting, making communities accessible for everyday riding," explained Hanshaw. "We think going by bike makes a lot of sense."

CicloSDias, an event in which a section of public street is closed to vehicle traffic and overtaken by cyclists and pedestrians, is growing in popularity. The third incarnation is set for Sunday, November 9, following the conclusion of the bike tourism conference. This time, the route passes through the Hillcrest and Bankers Hill neighborhoods, running along Sixth Avenue from Laurel north to UniversityAvenue, and then east along University to Park Boulevard.

Bike-sharing service Decobike, which was selected in 2013 provide 1800 bikes at 180 locations around San Diego, is set to launch sometime within the conference. The city's program roll-out will be the first of its kind in the region.

After nearly four decades, Vance said that funding has been identified for the final legs of the Bikeway, and that a full dedicated route should be available within the next five years.

"In recent years we've really picked up a lot of momentum," said Vance, crediting SANDAG's regional transit plan, which is contested by some advocates of car alternatives for not going far enough.

The overall SANDAG plan calls for 250 miles of additional bicycle facilities (including both dedicated bike paths and bike lanes along roadways) over the next 40 years. Overall, two percent of the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2004 is earmarked for pedestrian and cyclist improvements.

Coronado city councilman Mike Woiwode was also in attendance, and said that local residents were already largely adopting cycling as a means of transportation. Several hundred locals take advantage of free early morning trips on the ferry to get to and from work, and as many as 70 percent of the city's children ride to school on a daily basis.

"If you go by the middle school, you'll see three or four hundred bikes in the racks right now," said Woiwode. "We're still trying to catch up with the demand."

Docking in Coronado, city transportation planner Mariah VanZerr joined the ride, pointing out several features including a traffic-calming roundabout, bike parking corrals installed in the downtown shopping district, and similar improvements that contributed to the city's cycling-friendly designation.

Coronado is home to a nine-mile dedicated bike path along the Silver Strand connecting the city to Imperial Beach, which is currently the longest contiguous section of Bikeway. A sensor near the beginning of that path, VanZerr said, registers between 700 and 1300 daily bike trips on weekdays, with as many as 3000 bikes per day passing by along the edge of the city golf course on weekends.

Hanshaw was optimistic the ride and other events associated with the convention would continue to enhance San Diego's image in the cyclist community.

"We've got a great opportunity to show off, not just the weather but the improvements that are going on all across the region, including our gem in the Bayshore Bikeway."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Meeting tonight in support of Bike Lanes and Walkability- College Area

Short Notice!
College Area Community Council and College Area Community Planning Board Meeting
7:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 12, 2014
College/Rolando Branch Library, 6600 Montezuma Road, San Diego, CA 92115

Tonight at the board meeting, the group is to take a position on SDSU's proposal to install complete streets with landscaping, a bike lane and wider sidewalks on College Ave instead of preserving the current 3 lanes each way for traffic on College Ave. between Montezuma and Alvarado.
SDSU is proposing to install complete streets with landscaping, a bike lane and wider sidewalks on College Ave, Ave instead of preserving the current 3 lanes each way for traffic on College Ave. between Montezuma and Alvarado. That is a good thing.
We need supporters to come voice their support for installing bicycle lanes, rather than having all the lanes being designated for cars traffic.

It is item number 2, so arrive promptly, meeting starts at 7pm.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daylight Saving & Being Seen at Night

(Disclaimer- we understand that not everyone is comfortable biking at night for various reasons, but we want to shed some light on safety when you do)

Daylight Saving is coming up this weekend and as you may have noticed, daylight is getting shorter.  What does this mean to you, as a biker? First and foremost- you must be visible. As a cyclists, you want motorists, other bikers, and pedestrians to see you. We wouldn't want you to abandon your bike for the San Diego winter because you feel ill prepared or even worse, you ride without proper equipment.

Think about this- when you are in a car at night, what are some of the signs that there is a bicyclist ahead on the road?
·      Blinking red light?
·      Pedal reflectors?
·      Ankle straps- reflective bands attached at ankle?
·      Reflectors- on the wheels or placed on the front or rear of the bike?
·      Reflective vest?
·      Headlight?

Thinking about these devices, it only makes sense that you would want to practice the same, so you can be visible. Sure, the more reflectivity you have on you and your bike will make you “that bike dork,” but you will be visible and that is the most important part about night riding with motorists around you.

In California (VC Section 21201), it is mandatory for bicyclists at night to have a minimum of-
·      A white front light from at least 300ft away
·      A red rear reflector
·      Pedal reflectors- or reflectivity built into cycling shoes or reflective ankle straps
·      Wheel reflectors- or reflective sidewalls on tires

At the bare minimum, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition recommends-
Front and rear lights, a reflective high visibility vest, reflective ankle straps, and wheel reflectors.  Some additional ways to increase visibility at night would be to install reflective tape to various points on your bike and helmet, additional lights (in the event that your primary lights fail), and eye wear to help navigate when facing oncoming motorist headlights.

The blinking red taillight is a great start to increase visibility. They are inexpensive, small, and really attract alertness from motorists. They should not be used as the sole component in night time riding visibility as they are just part of a larger package. A small taillight can be lost in a sea of lights found in an urban environment. One note, blinking lights are also very effective for visibility when riding during the day as well.  

Reflective ankle straps are a great visibility device as the up and down motions reflected back to the motorist are synonymous with a biker. The added benefit of the ankle straps is that they offer 360-degrees of reflectivity, compared to the limited scope of the pedal reflectors. They also keep your pants out of your chain and derailleur!

A high visibility, reflective vest is a large part of being seen at night. It provides the largest sections of reflectivity visible from all sides. It is also highly visible for day time riding. If you need any convincing about wearing a reflective vest, just drive past a road construction site at night and notice how visible reflective vests are. For the fashion conscious cyclists, there are options for vests, not just the standard mesh or the construction worker ones.

Where can you find this equipment? The best place to look is at your local bicycle shop. Talk to them about your needs and see what recommendations they offer, they should be informative about what is best for you and be able to outfit you. Otherwise, there is an internet full of sources for lights and reflective gear, and opinions. Remember, shop local when you can.

All of these recommendations are intended to make you more visible at night, but do not address illuminating your path at night to see obstacles and hazards. Nor do they address the differences in riding at night and practices that you must take to be safe. That will be in the next installments of Smart Ways to Bicycle.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Adventure Cycling Event in San Diego on November 9 -- RSVP Today

Part of the National Bicycle Tourism Conference/CicloSDias week-
we are co-sponsoring a special gather and presentation with Adventure Cycling!

The presentation is about the latest in biking and bike travel! Adventure Cycling director Jim Sayer will be in San Diego to: meet with members and other cycling friends; talk about great projects like Bicycle Route 66, the new Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, bike overnights, and the U.S. Bicycle Route System; and provide the latest news on bike touring. He’ll also share exciting plans for Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary in 2016. There will be snacks and drinks and a chance to hob-nob with Jim and fellow adventure cyclists. Please join us and bring a friend!

When: Sunday, November 9 from 4:30-6:30 pm
What: Cyclists socializing, snacks and drinks, sharing what’s happening on bike travel in the U.S. and globally
Where: Florence Burnham Hall (part of San Diego Girl Scouts campus) in Balboa Park (1231 Upas Street, San Diego, CA) Phone: (619) 298-8391 Web: www.sdgirlscouts.org/properties

Please RSVP at info@adventurecycling.org or (406) 532-2751 by November 7 so we can have enough snacks and drinks.

Friday, October 24, 2014

SANDAG to discuss bike path Mission Valley & Mid-City

SANDAG is scheduled to talk about a project that would lead to a new, safer pathway for bicyclists who wish to ride between the Mid-City and Mission Valley. Today's discussion would allow for a $1.8M budget adjustment. Final approval could happen as soon as January 2015.
Currently the only routes connecting neighborhoods like Kensington, Talmadge, and Normal Heights are Texas St. and Fairmount Ave. Anyone that has biked or driven knows that cyclists have to contend with high speed motorists and a steep uphill climb.
The proposal, State Route 15 Commuter Bike Facility Project, will add a concrete barrier along Route 15 to safely buffer bikers and motorists.The proposed facility will connect to bike routes along Camino del Rio South, Adams Avenue, and the bike route that runs parallel to SR 15 from Landis Street to Adams Avenue
The project, if funding is approved and all goes according to schedule, will be completed and open to cyclists January 2017.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CicloSDias - How to Boost your Business!!!

Here are some great ideas to make the most out of your business for CicloSDias 11/09/14
Create a temporary Parklet in front of your business
Put a temporary display or “bike friendly” sale rack on the public right of way outside your door
Create special “grab and go” items for just that day
Move part of your business outdoors for the day
Pass out coupons or information about your business to encourage passersby to return
Use your imagination!
Questions about how your business can get involved in CicloSDias - info@sdbikecoalition.org

What is a Parklet?
A parklet is a small space serving as an extension of the sidewalk to provide amenities and green space for people to use the street. It is typically the size of several parking spaces. It’s a great way to increase your presence and attract new customers.

CicloSDias is a FREE open street event hosted by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition designed to connect neighborhoods and encourage mobility. Sections of the street in Hillcrest and Bankers Hills will be closed to car traffic. Everyone is welcome to walk, ride, stroll, explore and enjoy the day of car free streets in support of a healthy and vibrant San Diego.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

National City installs bicycle boxes. . .what are bike boxes?

The bike box is an intersection safety design to prevent bicycle/car collisions. It is a painted green space on the road with a white bicycle symbol inside. In some locations it includes a green bicycle lane approaching the box. The box creates space between motor vehicles and the crosswalk that allows bicyclists to position themselves ahead of motor vehicle traffic at an intersection.

National City received permission from the California Traffic Control Devices Committee (CTCDC) to install “Green” Bike Boxes at select signalized intersections along “D” Avenue, 4th Street and 18th Street (see photo above). The purpose of the green bike boxes, which are located at the front of a signalized intersection, just before the crosswalk, are to provide a highly visible, designated waiting
area for cyclists to allow them to get out in front of vehicles when the traffic signal turns
from red to green.

Another safety enhancement implemented was reverse angle parking, which provides drivers a clear line of site to check for other vehicles and cyclists prior to exiting from the parking space

In addition to the Community Corridor enhancements, National City partnered with A Reason to Survive (ARTS), a National City-based, non-profit that runs creative programs for youth facing adversity, local artist Roman De Salvo, and Sweetwater High School to design and fabricate artistic and functional bike racks through a $50,000 Active Transportation Grant.  Motivated students from Sweetwater High’s Welding Academy were selected each semester to participate in product development, hosted at ARTS workshop and design studio.

Completion of the projects will be celebrated Thursday, October 16th at 2:00 p.m. at Kimball Park.  There will be a bike rodeo with prizes for kids, free bike tune-ups, bike safety tips for families and more. Special thanks to the National City Rotary and Host Lions Clubs for donating bikes that will be raffled off for free during the event.

Don’t forget to bring your bike and a helmet!  Teen and adult cyclists interested in experiencing the new bike facilities in National City are encouraged to meet at El Toyon Park with their bikes and helmets by 1:15 p.m. to participate in a symbolic bike ride along 4th Street and “D” Avenue to Kimball Park. Cyclists will be making a pit-stop at GAMA Produce Market (corner of 4th Street and Palm Avenue) for healthy snacks.