Ocean Beach Town Council Ponders Whether Bacon Street Could Become a ‘Bicycle Boulevard’?

by on June 29, 2017 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

Visible Board members L to R: Jill Kent, Gio Ingolia, Keith Fink, Gretchen Newsom, Nate Bazydlo, Jon Carr, Corey Bruins, Mark Winkie, Marcus Turner, Andrew Waltz. Not visible: Jenn Avoledo, Trudy Levenson, Nicole Ueno.

The draw at the Ocean Beach Town Council meeting last night – Wednesday, June 28th – was a panel-led discussion about OB bicycle infrastructure and advocacy which centered on making improvements to Bacon Street to make it a “bicycle boulevard”.

Making Bacon a Bike Boulevard

Stephan Vance of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, Andrew Waltz of the OB Planning Board (Andrew is also a board member of the OBTC) and Nate Bazydlo – vice president of the OBTC – all addressed the some-forty folks in the audience about OB bikes.

Waltz stated that the Planning Board is looking at the same issues about bikes on Bacon as the town council is. Bazydlo explained that the City will be re-surfacing Bacon Street from Brighton to West Point Loma at the end of the summer – and this would be great opportunity to make the street a “bike boulevard”.

Vance, an OBcean and board member of the Bicycle Coalition, answered the next question, ‘what is a bike boulevard?’ by describing it as a low-stress street, where kids and grand-parents can cross easily. The low-stress is ensured by low traffic volume and lower traffic speeds, he said.

The key is keeping the volume down to about 3,000 cars a day, whereas, right now, Vance said, Bacon Street has 6,800 cars a day between Newport Avenue and Voltaire Street.

He offered several ideas in improving Bacon Street: mini-round-abouts – particularly at Brighton, installing extended curbs and by diverting traffic – all of which will help keep the neighborhood safer and intact.

Standing: Andrew Waltz, Stephan Vance, Nate Bazydlo.

Bazydlo pointed out, “the big stuff is probably not going to happen this time,” referring to the more large-scale improvements, but “why not do both?” – the resurfacing and moves toward a bike boulevard. He advocated painting murals in the middle of intersections to help slow traffic down, akin to what was done in Pacific Beach.

Bacon is probably too narrow for a round-about, Vance added, but the community can find other ways to make it a boulevard for bikes and people. Since all sidewalks will have curb ramps during the resurfacing of Bacon, Vance stated, “this is the biggest opportunity to ask the city to extend the curbs out, shorten the distance between corners,” and make it better for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Other comments by audience members:

  • deal with the cake first before the frosting: there’s a pothole on Bacon “1000 feet long”;
  • it’s scary riding bikes on Bacon now;
  • what about bumpers on Bacon? Vance said “I’m no fan of bumpers. They create speed-ups and slow-downs.”
  • the community needs to figure out how to interact with the city in order to make these improvements – such as the extended curbs;
  • in response to suggestions that Bacon be made into a one-way street only in order to have a bike lane, it was pointed out that one-way streets actually allow traffic to speedup and create physical barriers within neighborhoods;
  • how and where can residents get involved on this issue?
  • drivers need to slow down around town in general.

There was no resolution on anything in the end – for how could there be at this junction? There needs to be more discussion, more follow-through, and the city needs to be responsive to allow the community to have a say in such matters. Jon Carr, corresponding secretary of the OBTC, promised that resources and more info will be on the town council website.

OB Police Update

David Surwilo of the SDPD reported that there will be extra patrols over the 4th of July weekend, as per usual – and these will be Western Division officers, knowledgeable about OB. Officers will be out in uniform saying ‘hello’ to everyone. But, Surwilo cautioned, don’t drink and drive as there will be plenty of cops out there looking for drunk drivers.

There is no update, Surwilo added, about the deadly stabbing in OB last week, as the Homicide Unit is investigating. After a question, Surwilo stated that police must be “very confident” that the video of the guy in a gray hoodie they have released is the suspect.

OB Lifeguard Stats for May

Sgt Lonnie Stephenson, likewise, told the meeting people will see increased staffing for the lifeguards over this upcoming very busy weekend. Surf won’t be large he said, but the rip currents off Ocean Beach are still dangerous.

For May, Stephenson reported the following:

  • Uptick in visits – 84,000 visitors to OB beaches;
  • 1400 preventative actions taken by lifeguards;
  • 43 water rescuers;
  • 3 cliff rescues, and
  • 65 medical assistance (sting rays?)

Other News from or about the OB Town Council

Various reps and board officers gave reports, some of which I’ve arranged in bullet-point form:

  • There will be an opening on the board as current VP Nate Bazydlo is resigning because he has accepted a one-year commitment in Hawaii and he and his family are leaving for the big island very soon. (Editor’s note: this could be a leadership problem for the board as Nate was often sited as someone who could be the next president.)
  • the OBTC has $42,292 in the bank.
  • President Gretchen Newsom reminded everyone that San Diego now has a new District Attorney – Summer Stephan.
  • Chili-Cook-off award winners (see separate article.)
  • the OBTC is working with the OB Planning Board on fashioning something called “the coastal exception”.
  • the OBTC logo design contest has ended, and members will be able to participate in an online poll on the images submitted.
  • there may be a bylaws change, enabling board elections at the beginning of the year, instead of in September, the current time.
  • Chevelle Tate of State Senator Toni Atkins’ office, gave Nate Bazydlo a “certificate of recognition”.
  • Board member Corey Bruins is getting married around November.
  • Board member Andrew Waltz and partner are having a baby boy in early November.

It was Nate’s night; he ran most of the meeting, darted around handing out awards, was given an Hawaiian lei to wear by Newsom, and he’ll be sorely missed.

Till next time.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Zig June 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Curb bulbs are a great idea and cheap, and not just for Bacon St. Metered parking on Bacon near Newport too. Cars hunting for free street parking are a huge hazard to bikes. Murals sound nice too.

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avatar OB Dude June 29, 2017 at 5:09 pm

More biking might sound terrific….I think it will only encourage more tourists since VRO will advertise OB as a bike friendly beach community and that only diminishes rentals for locals.

Be careful what you wish for.

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avatar Tom G July 5, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Good point OB Dude.

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