Proposed bike lanes spark debate in Hillcrest

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SAN DIEGO -- The proposed plan to add bicycle lanes in Hillcrest is sparking debate among community members.

North Park resident Pete Zaman bikes every day to get around but said riding isn’t always safe, especially on streets with no bike lanes.

“It causes us to swerve into the car lanes,” said Zaman.

To pave a safer route, the San Diego Association of Governments, also known as SANDAG, is proposing to add more bike lanes in areas including Little Italy, Hillcrest and North Park. One of the proposed streets is University Avenue.

“Already the parking is so tough in Hillcrest,” said Hillcrest restaurant manager Eshan Akbar, who fears that by adding the bike lanes, his customers will lose out on parking spaces.

“I am not sure how important the bike lanes are for safety,” said Akbar.

Aside from safety, City Councilman Todd Gloria said it's also about going green by promoting bicycling instead of driving.

“Additionally, we know the community is going to continue to grow and yet our streets are not wide enough to accommodate additional cars and one of the ways to tackle the traffic is to give folks more options about getting around the neighborhood," he said.

According to SANDAG the plan is still in the early phases and is expected to cost several millions of dollars, which will come out of the county’s regional bike budget.

“It’s a difficult project to balance all of those things so it's important to be out here, in the meeting last night to hear what everyone has to say,” said SANDAG representative Charles Muggs Stoll.

SANDAG developers encourage community members to attend the next Uptown Planning meeting to give their input.

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  • Shannon

    I am a bicyclist, in favor of increased bike friendly transportation options. However, it appears that Sandag didn’t take into account that Mission Hills is covered in canyons, dead ends, and one way streets. This plan will be closing one of only two ways to leave the Mission Hills neighborhoods above the airport. The other way is an already extremely busy street without stop lights that will soon be packed with rental cars and folks trying to park at the new airport structures. Sandag also should have sent notices to those of us who will be affected. Notices were put up but taken down by folks in favor of the bike lanes. In addition, the Mission Hills/Hillcrest area has two major hospital complexes. Thousands of people travel there for work every day, and it is vital that roads to it remain open. Finally, Curlew which runs up one of the major canyons, is a beautiful wide road, perfect for bike lanes and co-existence. It deposits folks right in the heart of Hillcrest. I have yet to feel threatened while biking my way up to Hillcrest on Curlew.

  • Clyde D

    I hope the people who are against this take a ride or walk further down 5th Avenue. I own a business in Bankers Hill, the bike lanes have not reduced the parking available and It has made it safer for pedestrians; we only have 2 lanes of speeding traffic and not 3 lanes of speeding traffic to cross.

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