‘State of Cycling in San Diego County’ – A Snapshot of the Region and Plans for the Future

by on April 11, 2013 · 5 comments

in Culture, Environment, Health, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By John Anderson / San Diego Free Press

valet bike parkingLast Saturday, April 6, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) hosted a ‘State of Cycling in San Diego County’ event in the Balboa Room of the historic Lafayette Hotel on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park.

This event was held to mark the one-year anniversary of the 5-Year Strategic Plan the group adopted in 2012 and discuss progress and goals for the coming years. Every seat in the room was taken, plus some standing in the doorways. I counted approximately 60 people. A bicycle valet service was provided outside the hotel for attendees – a service the SDCBC also offered at the Padres home opener on Tuesday, April 8.

Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director of SDCBC welcomed everyone and gave a brief overview of the past year. He thanked those in attendance for coming and for supporting bicycling in San Diego. He then turned over the floor to Beryl Forman, Marketing Director of the El Cajon Business Improvement District (BID).

Beryl talked about businesses on El Cajon Boulevard and efforts to improve the image of the street. She also discussed events like ‘Bike the Boulevard’ – the next installment of this event on will be Saturday, April 27th starting at noon. Details can be found on the BikeSD calendar. Beryl also mentioned the ongoing SANDAG project to improve bicycle infrastructure between North Park and Mid-City. (Coincidentally she co-wrote an article on this topic that appeared in Monday’s San Diego Free Press.) She emphasized the importance of placing bicycle improvements on prominent commercial streets like El Cajon Boulevard.

The next speaker was Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition (CBC). His organization is a ‘coalition of coalitions’ that represents groups like the SDCBC from all across California to promote policy changes and other efforts at the state level. The CBC represents over 30,000 dues paying members in California and boasts more than 100,000 people on their e-mail contact list.

SDCBCThe CBC has a goal of tripling bicycling in California by 2020 and doubling within 5 years. Dave noted that ‘complete, contiguous bicycle networks’ are a key point to make riding easier and more comfortable to enable these increases in state-wide ridership to happen. He also noted the CBC is working with policy-makers to change state environmental laws that make implementing new bicycle infrastructure difficult. Progress is being made on this front, he noted.

Kevin Wood, President of the SDCBC, then spoke in more detail about the past year for the SDCBC. He noted that last year’s Bike to Work Day had record-setting participation and the annual Bike the Bay event sold out in 2012. (For 2013 there are already over 500 participants registered.) He also noted the ongoing work to count cyclists in San Diego in an accurate way, a joint effort of SDSU and SANDAG.

An interesting figure during his presentation was that from 2001 to 2009 the average amount of vehicles miles driven by 16 – 34 year olds in the U.S. decreased by 23%. He noted that especially among younger people there seems to be a growing trend away from reliance on automobiles for transport needs.

Some of the goals that SDCBC has for the next 5 years (by 2017) include to increase membership to 5,000 (about triple the current number), to increase participation in educational events by 50%, and to double the amount of bicycle trips in San Diego County. Mentioned as well was that Coronado plans to install 8 bike corrals in the city in the near future. (San Diego currently has 4 of these parking structures installed.)

After Kevin spoke attendees were invited to visit tables throughout the room which represented the various committees within SDCBC. Following this session participants were invited on a group ride around North Park, Normal Heights, and City Heights which concluded at Tiger!Tiger! Tavern on El Cajon Boulevard for food, beer, and conversation.

ciclosdias-logoUpcoming events in the San Diego bicycling world include:

  • Bike to Work Day – May 17
  • CicloSDias – August 11 (** Please note date change **)
  • Bike the Bay – August 25
  • Tour de Fat Bicycle Festival – September 28 (Golden Hill Park)

For more information on SDCBC or to get involved in their activities visit www.sdcbc.org.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Citizen Cane April 11, 2013 at 11:40 am

I think it would be good to have secure valet parking for jury duty or or at transit hubs. Is funding availabe for pilot programs for such things? Or is most of the money reserved for infrastructure? And on the subject of bicycle infrastructure…are drinking fountains EVER included in the funding? Ideally I’d like to see a water station that is more like a bottle filler than a hummingbird feeder. One more question…was combatting bicycle theft discussed at the meeting? It seems to me that theft is a big roadblock to growing the number of bike riders.


John Anderson April 11, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Citizen Cane – a lot of good thoughts here, I’ll answer what I know. Secure parking has been a topic at other meetings I’ve been to, but mostly in regard to bike racks and corrals. SANDAG does have a bike locker system that can be reserved, but most of the prime spots are usually taken and I believe the program is more geared toward commuters / regular riders than occasional users. I am going to be looking more into funding mechanisms – the funds for the North Park – Mid-City project are from TransNet funds from SANDAG, I believe. Drinking fountains – completely, 100% agree. With the airport expansion being dubbed ‘The Green Build’ I can not wait to see if they have water fountains of the sort you describe. My money is on No. Shame.

Theft was not discussed at the meeting, I agree it’s a huge deterrent to buying and riding a bike. I’ve had 2 stolen in the past 5 years, the 2nd was locked up inside an office building garage, next to the attendant and security camera on the rack. I got a tape of the person stealing my bike but you can guess what the outcome of my efforts to get it back were. . .


Citizen Cane April 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

Here’s an example of what I’d like to see along our bike paths. It’s also possible to offset the cost of providing public drinking water that’s filtered, if the filter company is allowded to advertise their name on the interpretive signage.


I’d also like to suggest creating another bike event day. I call it a Day Without a Bike Rider…a day when bike riders flood the streets, but only frequent businesses that have bicycle racks.


John Anderson April 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Interesting this is from Australia – maybe the dry climate makes society more focused on water issues? Would seem to be a similar climate to here, so maybe not. . .

Like the event idea – are you familiar with SDBikeCommuter.com? Program to support businesses that support bicycles. Cyclists get usually 10% off when they ride in, some really good places on the list of companies too. It lost some momentum when Velo Cult bicycle shop left town for Portland – the owner was a force behind the program – but seems to be picking back up now.


Citizen Cane April 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

Regular drinking fountains do waste a lot of water, but I think those bottle filler stations down in Oz were mostly in response to the plastic bottle problem.
I often get a bike riders discount by locking my bike to a parking meter, rather than paying to park a car in front of it. I would prefer more and better racks though.
From a recent bike ride daydream…maybe we could make some inexpensive bike racks out of recycled car tires. Steel-belted radials set in concrete, and then allow the grass to grow back around them. Fun for kids, too.
Bicycle theft is a complex topic, and maybe I should just write an article for Frank. Then we can get comments specific to that issue. But now…for my curiosity I’d like to know if there were olther factors in your bike theft, like type of lock or locking practices??


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