SAN DIEGO – Recent changes to a Mira Mesa residential street came as a big surprise to neighbors who say they received no notice of the new lane configuration.
A community meeting was hosted by the Mira Mesa Town Council and included representatives from the San Diego Department of Transportation to better explain the addition of an “advisory bike lane” on Gold Coast Drive between Hemphill Drive and Royal Ann Avenue.
The change had been causing a lot of confusion for those driving through the area.
“I was very surprised at the new edge lanes concept that the road was striped for. Nobody knew what it was,” Pam Stevens said.
The meeting gave the department of transportation the chance to address concerns, but also offer an apology.
“We want to offer our sincerest apologies on how this project was implemented and without any engagement or education with the community. Plain and simple, we messed up,” said Jorge Riveros, director of the San Diego Transportation Department.
Those living near Gold Coast Drive had been eager for answers and an explanation since last week when the two lane road suddenly switched to one shared lane with a bike lane on each side.
“Gold Coast is in pretty bad shape to begin with, now this. I would rather have the roads been fixed first before doing some kind of a wild striping here,” Robert McBride said.
Neighbors, the Mira Mesa Town Council, even Councilmember Chris Cate who represents the district felt in the dark not being notified before the change went into effect.
Councilmember Cate’s office released this statement to FOX 5 Monday afternoon:
“We were surprised to see how the new lanes were painted. I’ve requested a briefing from the appropriate City departments to better understand why this decision was made and how we can ensure the safety of drivers and cyclists on this stretch of Gold Coast. I will be keeping close tabs on the issue and sharing updates with the community until all parties are on the same page.”
The city says the advisory bike lane model is being used in other parts of the country and California, but this was the first time in San Diego. Signs went up along Gold Coast Drive as of Monday showing cars can dip into the bike lanes whenever they need to in order to pass oncoming traffic safely.
“We know that humans make mistakes. There will be crashes, but what we hope is that they are of a slower speed that they are not severe or fatal for any of the participants,” said Everett Hauser with the San Diego Transportation Department.
The city acknowledged the potential for crashes, which didn’t resolve some neighbors’ fears.
“I just see a lot of near misses, a lot of close head-on collisions, especially at night,” Jason Sicurello said.
Mayor Todd Gloria also released a statement to FOX 5 apologizing for the city’s lack of communication and saying in part:
“I have directed the transportation department to halt the deployment of this new type of bike treatment until we can appropriately convey what criteria are being used to site these advisory lanes and how residents can be engaged and educated on how to use them safely.”