New bike lanes confusing drivers downtown

SAN DIEGO -- Drivers in downtown San Diego are getting used to new protected bike lanes that are part of the city's Downtown Protected Bikeway Network.

According to BikeSD, Phase One of the project will add new bike lanes to Beech Street from Pacific Highway to Sixth Avenue, Sixth Avenue from Beech Street to Harbor Drive and J Street from First Avenue to Park Boulevard. The city broke ground on Phase One of the project on J Street in December 2018, with the most recent lanes added last week.

Colin Parent, executive director and general counsel for Circulate San Diego, said the main goal of the project is safety. The project will also add green crosswalks and bollards.

"Some of the most dangerous corridors and intersections are right here downtown," Parent said. "It creates a physical barrier between the cars who are driving and the more vulnerable users who are in the bike lane."

Some drivers who work and live downtown said the new configuration was confusing because it moved parking spaces from the curb into the street.

“I think it causes more confusion," said Daniel Burubeltz, who works at a business on Sixth Avenue. "Sometimes if cars are parked here they’re waiting behind those cars, thinking those cars are at a stoplight.”

Phases 2 and 3 of the nine-mile network are expected to take about three years to complete, according to city officials. The Downtown Protected Bikeway Network is part of the Downtown Mobility Plan that was adopted by the City Council in 2016.

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