Protected Bike Path With Parking on West Pt Loma Supported by Ocean Beach Planners

by on June 11, 2018 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

(This is Part 2 of my report of the OBPB meeting last week; here’s Part 1.)

At their monthly meeting held Wednesday, June 6, the Ocean Beach Planning Board approved in concept a protected bike path along West Point Loma Avenue, between Nimitz and Sports Arena. The protected bike path, called a “cycle track”, would allow parking, much like the bike path does along sections of Wabaska Avenue near Voltaire Street in Point Loma.

The Board also approved sending a letter in support of efforts to get the city study traffic calming measures for the intersection of Voltaire and Froude in northeast OB.

Cycle Track Along West Pt Loma

The Transportation sub-committee of the OBPB brought forward their response to a recommendation by the City’s Planning Department to install bike paths along West Pt. Loma Avenue. Apparently, the city had recommended removing parking along that busy street from Nimitiz Blvd to Sports Arena Blvd, but the sub-committee presented a way to have both.

Nicole Burgess, a member of the subcommittee, made the presentation; Nicole is the District 2 representative on the city’s bicycle advocacy panel. First, she went through the various classes of bike paths:

  1. Class One – protected bike lane with berm or other physical divider;
  2. Class Two – bike lane with painted lines;
  3. Class Three – chevrons painted on road surface;
  4. Class Four – Cycle Track

Photos of Cycle Track along both sides of Wabaska Drive.

Burgess explained that anytime the city is doing resurfacing on a roadway, there is an opportunity to check into whether bike paths or lanes are appropriate. And in December, West Pt Loma will be resurfaced and the city is proposing removing parking along the street in order to install bike lanes. In response, the Transportation subcommittee folks have come up with their own proposal: to install Cycle Track along West Pt Loma, which will put in a protected bike lane and keep the parking. Plus it would make the busy roadway less dangerous.

This model, this Cycle Track, can be seen along Wabaska Drive near Voltaire Street. (See photos.) This type of configuration seems a win-win for both parking and bicyclists. The new configuration would reduce the 4 lanes of West Pt Loma down to 2, but keeping turn lanes.

After some discussion, the Board passed a motion recommending the city evaluate and consider making West Pt Loma Avenue have a “road diet” of 4 down to 2 lanes, without removing parking and with protected bike lanes. It passed unanimously.

Traffic Calming at Voltaire and Froude?

Burgess again took the reins and asked the board to write a letter in support of the Peninsula Planning Board’s letter requesting the city study installing traffic calming measures at the intersection of Voltaire and Froude. As Froude is the boundary line between the two planning districts, having both groups pushing for the measures would add up. Burgess, who lives near the intersection, called it, “one of the worse corners in our area.”

A number of Board members and audience members commented on how dangerous the intersection is. So, without much fanfare, the Board voted to write the letter.

Traffic calming measures include flashing warning lights, bumps in the road, even stop signs.

Yet no evidence – outside anecdotal – was offered to show how dangerous the corner is. And no residents were polled on how they view it. A local Pt Loma activist, who has followed the issue and who also lives close by, told the OB Rag that when the Peninsula planners voted on the same issue, they also had no studies, charts, polls or numbers. The locals need to be polled.

The board’s Transportation subcommittee meets the 4th Monday at 6pm at Newbreak Church on Ebers, and community members are welcome.

Short Term Vacation Rental Discussion

Planning Board chair Blake Herrschaft opened up a discussion on short term vacation rentals (a city rep who was to present the city’s solution declined to attend).

As we had reported, Herrschaft exclaimed earlier in the meeting, “Short term vacation rentals are the biggest issue facing OB.” He said, “We lose a resident of Ocean Beach every 36 hours to STVRs.” They are shrinking OB’s population, he said, and claimed, “10,000 people have had to leave San Diego due to short term rentals.”

STVRs have been a huge issue in OB and other beach communities – and many locals are opposed to them. In fact, it was announced the Ocean Beach Town Council is holding a discussion on the short term rentals at their next meeting on June 27. By then, several people commented, the Mayor will have released his supposed compromise proposal and the City Council is taking the issue up – again – on July 16 (tba). The OBTC has formed a subcommittee on STVRs and they will meet with members of the Planning Board and discuss a response.

In Other News ….

Zapf’s Office – Conrad Wear reported on various issues of interest. He reiterated the Mayor’s office is expected to release the compromise proposal on short term rentals 2-3 weeks before the City Council takes the issue up on July 16.

City Budget – Zapf has a list of priorities and the City Council holds its final hearing on it Monday June 11; those that directly concern OB include $240,000 to continue the studies for a new OB Lifeguard station; $3 Million for OB Pier structural repairs; to restore $800,000 to the tree trimming program.

Stairs – the issue of repairing OB’s various stairs to the tides and cliffs is always an issue. Ladera Street stairs are in a “no-easy solution” quagmire; people are using it, many doubt anything will fall; city geologists are uncertain and waiting for it to collapse.

For the Bermuda stairs, Wear said there has been a “design delay.” But the stairs to the OB tidepools will be repaired as will the level walkway at the foot of Orchard.

Project Review Committee – The board considered whether to only hold project review committee meetings once every 2 months. With their current member numbers low, board members are feeling squeezed for time, and Blake had a difficult time in finding volunteers for the project subcommittee. (This despite the “success” of the Transportation subcommittee; the Project Review Committee takes the first bite on any project coming before the board and is mandated by the board’s bylaws.)

Board to be Dark July 4 – With the holiday falling on the Board’s meeting day, the board voted to be dark on July 4.

Still Free Trees – Virginia Wilson, our rep on the city’s Community Forest Advisory Board, told the OB Town Council this week that despite the mayor’s budgetary cutbacks to the tree program, there are still free trees available. “Now is the time to get a free tree,” she said. The program she helps navigate on the community level has already planted over one hundred trees. Virginia and Colleen from the Green Center are holding another door-to-door effort to find more people who want trees. That will be Sat., June 16, at the Green Center, 10 am, 4843 Voltaire. For info, contact the OB Green Center, 225-1083.

Old Mission Electronics Building – Craig Klein of the Planning Board is leading a crusade to find out whether the former Mission Electronics building has any historic value; it sits on the north side of the Nati’s parking lot. Contact Craig if you know anything.

ABC Licenses – Resident Barbara Holton raised the point she feels the issue of ABC licenses is falling away as an issue, and urged the community to stay vigilante. The OB hostel had one recently as does Dirty Birds at the OB Plaza, still under construction. Herrschaft commented, “We’re over allowed liquor licenses by a factor of 3.”

Complaint vs Vice-chair – Geoff Page, an activist in OB and Pt Loma, made a criticism of the OBPB’s vice-chair Andrea Schlageter for speaking out against a candidate for the Peninsula Community Planning Board at their meeting in March, and for alleging the candidate – Robert Goldyn, was in favor of STVRs – which he is not. Goldyn is now the chair of the Peninsula planners. The chair thanked Page but there was no response or explanation.

4-Way Stop Signs at Pt Loma and Sunset Cliffs? Board member Richard Aguirre advocated the city place 4-way stop signs at the dangerous intersection of Pt Loma Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

Missing Street Lights – A resident complained that the city had removed street lights on Cable at the site of the new construction at Santa Monica and Cable, and when the handicap ramp was repaired, a utility box was left within the ramp. Herrschaft vowed to look into it.

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Geoff Page June 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm

I just wanted to elaborate on my complaint about the OBPB Chair Andrea Schlageter. She came to a PCPB meeting as an official from the OBPB, she was the OBPB’s liaison to the PCPB and had been all year and she was an OBPB officer as well. My complaint was that a representative of the OBPB had no business interfering in a PCPB election, especially since her comments were not only negative but were wrong. There was an orchestrated effort to torpedo Robert Goldyn’s chances to win the available seat. She claimed – incorrectly – that Goldyn was for the STVRs. Since this was a very divisive community issue, someone in favor of having the STVRs would not be looked on favorably by the community. But, Goldyn was not in favor of the STVRs. He defended himself at the election meeting but Ms. Schlageter argued with him. I approached the OBPB chair right after this happened and told him I planned to come to the OBPB meeting and voice my complaint. But, I said if he talked to Ms. Schlageter and they talked to Goldyn privately, I would be fine with that. Unfortunately, Ms. Schlageter never talked to Goldyn. I gave them a second opportunity the week before the OBPB meeting and nothing happened. Apparently. Ms. Schlageter did not feel she needed to apologize or to even talk to Goldyn. So, I went before the board and said my piece to virtually no reaction. I wonder how the OBPB would have reacted if official from the PCPB came to the OB meeting and openly and falsely criticized candidates running for an OB seat? They probably would not like that at all. I think the response from the OBPB was a shame.

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Avatar Rick Williams June 11, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Frank-Thank you for explaining the proposed bike lane on this section of West Point Loma Boulevard. This will be a fantastic addition to the overall corridor.

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Avatar Frank L June 12, 2018 at 6:37 am

To be clear, these aren’t all “bike paths” they are “bikeways”
This is established in the Highway Design Manual.

As for “Yet no evidence – outside anecdotal – was offered to show how dangerous the corner is. And no residents were polled on how they view it. A local Pt Loma activist, who has followed the issue and who also lives close by, told the OB Rag that when the Peninsula planners voted on the same issue, they also had no studies, charts, polls or numbers. ”

Does no one person know they can get crash data for a particular area from the San Diego Police Department or CHP’s SWITRS?

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Avatar Richard Chester June 12, 2018 at 9:00 am

I just wanted to add that OB planners’ concerns about STVR’s in OB ring hollow with me when they are perfectly aware that a brand new multiplex STVR was coming to a street in OB, yet no action or interest was taken by the OB Planning board. The new complex of rentals is 3 new four hundred square foot structures and one new house only three houses away form her domicile. There are three other STVR’s on this same block.

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Avatar Stephan June 12, 2018 at 11:42 am

Crash data from the state is available at https://tims.berkeley.edu/

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Avatar Geoff Page June 15, 2018 at 10:19 am

I am the local activist that asked for information about the Froude and Voltaire intersection issue. The PCPB sent a letter to the city saying the intersection was dangerous and wanted it looked at. I have lived a few blocks away for 31 years and this was news to me. I was at the PCPB meeting when this was passed and since I write reports of the meetings for The Rag, I contacted the PCPB and asked what substantiation they had to back up their letter for my article. By the reaction I got, you’d have thought I was a baby killer. I assumed that they would not send off a letter like that without any back up but that was the case, they had nothing and had done nothing. They simply took some anecdotal accounts as verification of this great danger and that was enough. They went so far as to tell me it wasn’t their job to do the research and they were quite angry that I was even asking. They said it was a dangerous place to cross Voltaire because of the blind curve from the east. No shit. But, one block away is a streetlight and a crosswalk so putting anything at Froude and Voltaire makes no sense. I am disappointed that the OBPB just went along with this without asking for facts and figures or anything that supported this claim of a dangerous intersection. The PCPB did this to make themselves look good, that they were “protecting” the public and the OBPB went right along.

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Avatar Nicole Burgess June 19, 2018 at 1:48 pm

Thank you Frank for the article. It is wonderful that the community supports traffic calming measures to address the safety of all our residents. The proposal for West Point Loma Blvd has the opportunity to transform the neighborhood for the better and to create a more walkable and bike friendly area for local residents to enjoy. It will reduce traffic speeds while possibly increasing parking that is in high demand.
As for Voltaire and Froude, there has been various public meetings to discuss safety at this location as residents nearby have vocalized the dangers . As we know, most traffic collisions are not reported so it is important to listen to our neighbors, but just to note there was a recent vehicle-bicycle collision this past month at this particular location that was in the recent report by SDPD . I have also looked at Switters in the past and have noted many collisions at this location. Again, we appreciate all users of the road to have respect for others and to ensure safety is our top priority. No one wants to be in a traffic collision and if we can create better street design we will avoid many of these unnecessary collisions. This is a Vision Zero strategy that our City embraces and it is up to all of us to take responsibility to reduce traffic fatalities and drive with care. Thank you to all for your support.

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