By Dave Rice, freelance journalist
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"
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
optimistic the ride and other events associated with the convention would continue
to enhance San Diego's image in the cyclist community.
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