Council committee approves bike implementation plan

SAN DIEGO —┬áThe San Diego City Council Monday unanimously approved a Strategic Implementation Plan for the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, adopted in 2013.

The master plan identifies pressing bike-related needs and includes bikeways, programs and other projects intended to improve the local bicycling environment and bolster bicycling’s popularity over a 20-year span.

The new plan, developed by the Bicycle Advisory Committee, provides recommendations to implement provisions of the earlier document and also proposes methods to evaluate program success.

Overall, building out the master plan’s proposed bike network is estimated to cost $312.3 million.

The advisory committee’s implementation plan targets 40 high-priority projects, including bike lanes and paths, expected to cost $34.7 million.

“This is thoughtful and it gives us guidance and it keeps us moving,” City Councilman David Alvarez said. “I will acknowledge there are some things that we would like to set in stone, but I think this is much better than what we had.”

Alvarez said greater clarity is needed on timelines and funding mechanisms to implement projects included in the plan.

City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez echoed his concerns.

“We can set a document, but it’s easy to lose its implementation if we’re not pushing ourselves. We’re hoping that in the second round update of this plan we can include that,” she said.

The plan should also include details on securing project money outside the city’s general fund, possibly in the form of grants, Gomez said.

The strategic plan approved Monday includes six objectives and 30 tasks to implement the Bicycle Master Plan.

The first objective calls for increasing the mode share of bicycle transport in transit-priority areas to 6 percent by 2020 and 18 percent by 2035.

The implementation plan’s second objective is to increase rider safety by bolstering enforcement and improving infrastructure in high-fatality areas. That fits into Vision Zero, a goal to eliminate local traffic deaths by 2025.

Objective three is to increase bike program funding and grant dollars, specifically for new bikeways and bike-oriented city staff.

The plan suggests staffing a “mobility champion” in the mayor’s office, continuing bike share programs and coordinating with street resurfacing crews to implement bike-friendly designs on a rolling basis.

Objective four is to increase education. Fourth-graders should receive bicycle education; public awareness campaigns should be used; and a traffic diversion school should be created for cyclists and drivers cited for bike- related infractions, according to the plan.

Objective five emphasizes improving institutional collaboration on bicycle issues within the city and within outside agencies.

The plan calls for regular stakeholder meetings to be held with the Bicycle Advisory Board, the San Diego Association of Governments, Caltrans, the Port of San Diego, Business Improvement Districts, airports, schools as well as military, tourism and tribal agencies.

City policies can also be reviewed and changed to better accommodate bicycling; Community Plan Updates can be written with bikes in mind; and city staff can be trained on Vision Zero goals, according to the plan.

The last objective calls for evaluating program effectiveness by tracking bike mode share and reporting to the Bicycle Advisory Board on project implementation status.