SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Construction crews broke ground on a series of community enhancements to add approximately 4.5 miles of separated, buffered bikeways and neighborhood safety improvements between B Street in Downtown San Diego and Washington Street in Hillcrest, the San Diego Association of Governments announced Friday.
The $12.2 million project is intended to make it more comfortable, safe and attractive to walk, bike or ride in Downtown San Diego, Bankers Hill and Hillcrest. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.
The project includes improvements for bike riders such as bike signals and medians to separate most of the bikeway from traffic, improvements for walkers such as new and improved crosswalks and improvements for people with disabilities such as updated curb ramps and accessible parking.
The project also includes community-requested improvements like new lighting and landscaping and a variety of intersection treatments.
“This project will make it safer and easier for people to walk and bike along commonly traveled streets to visit local businesses and reach destinations such as Downtown San Diego, Balboa Park and Hillcrest,” said SANDAG Vice Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “San Diegans are walking and biking more during the pandemic and this project will provide safe and convenient options for people to continue to choose active transportation, even when the health crisis is far behind us.”
Throughout San Diego County, there has been an increase in people walking and biking over the past five months as residents adapt to lifestyle changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. SANDAG has seen a 20% increase in bike ridership on Fourth and Fifth avenues in Bankers Hill this year compared to the same period in 2019.
The new bikeways being constructed along Fourth and Fifth avenues are part of the Uptown Bikeways, a broader effort to enhance neighborhood connectivity between Uptown, Old Town, Mission Valley, Downtown San Diego, North Park and Balboa Park.
“This groundbreaking marks an important milestone for this community,” said San Diego City Councilman Chris Ward. “These much-needed improvements to the heart of the city will enhance our community and provide accessibility and safety for people walking and biking.”
Uptown Bikeways was proposed in 2012. Since then, SANDAG has held 10 workshops and made more than 100 presentations to ensure ongoing collaboration and engagement with stakeholders and the community throughout the project development process.
Crews have begun work on Fourth and Fifth avenues between B Street and Beech Street. As construction progresses, work will proceed northbound along the project corridors. Anticipated construction impacts include parking restrictions, lane closures and intermittent traffic delays. People biking can expect temporary bike lane closures. Access for people walking around the work areas will be maintained at all times.
Preliminary work includes roadway demolition and the construction of concrete curb medians to separate most of the bikeway from vehicle lanes. Nearby residents and businesses can expect intermittent lane closures, parking restrictions, construction noise and dust.
Most work will occur Monday through Friday, holidays excluded, between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Occasional work on Saturdays may be required.
The city of San Diego will own, maintain and operate the new bikeways. The project is funded by TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG.