OB Commuters on Bike Path Will Have to Take Lengthy Detour
By Tom Roebuck
Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20th and has been heavily promoted by SANDAG.
But OB cyclists attempting to commute to work on Friday via the Ocean Beach bike path will encounter a chain-link fence just east of the W. Mission Bay Drive bridge.
With no public notice or input, SDG&E has completely closed the OB bike path between W. Mission Bay Drive and Pacific Highway until at least May 27.
The runway-flat stretch of blacktop on the south side of the San Diego River provides easy access from OB to Old Town, downtown San Diego and Mission Valley, and the closure will force cyclists, joggers, walkers and other users of the path onto busy surface streets for a lengthy detour.
On May 16, SDG&E sent an email to the San Diego Bike Coalition notifying the bike advocacy group of the closure and included a detour map that directs cyclists to cross the river on the W. Mission Bay Drive bridge, which lacks a bike lane.
The detour then turns east onto Sea World Drive, past Friars Road to Pacific Highway. Cyclists using the suggested detour would then turn right on Pacific Highway and into Old Town or continue into downtown San Diego.
Cyclists traveling from OB to Mission Valley should instead cross the river on the Sunset Cliffs Boulevard bridge and travel east on the Sea World Drive frontage road just south of the actual Sea World Drive, which connects to Friars Road.
Conrad Wear, Councilmember Lorie Zapf’s representative for Ocean Beach, replied quickly to an email asking about the status of the path. He forwarded an email that was sent to Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office from SDG&E with details about the project, but he said Zapf’s office was not notified about the closure.
Several messages were left with John Ly, Mayor Faulconer’s director of outreach, but those have not been returned.
The bike path is maintained by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and patrolled by park rangers. A call to the park ranger’s office was answered by an employee that at first thought the closure was due to a recent fuel-tanker spill on Morena Boulevard, but when informed the closure was due to an SDG&E construction project the employee needed to consult a supervisor for details. The supervisor has not returned the call.
Again, it’s very ironic that Bike to Work Day is May 20th, while OB cyclists commuting to work that day on the well-traveled bike path will have to take a lengthy detour when they meet up with that chain-link fence.
Oh, one alternate route is to travel south on the east-side sidewalk on Sports Arena Boulevard and ride through the Midway District to connect with Pacific Highway at Rosecrans Street.
Here is the proposed detour map: