Thoughts on Bicycle Lanes in the Peninsula

by on November 22, 2022 · 15 comments

in Ocean Beach

From SANDAG Interactive San Diego Regional Bike Map.

Editordude: The following by Paul Grimes is taken from a couple of comments he made to Geoff Page’s post that spoke of bicycling in the Peninsula.

By Paul Grimes

I could see k-rails going onto a street like Nimitz due to speed and few cross streets to contend with. The city needs to qualify such installations by traffic volume, speed, available width, curb cuts, intersections, and bike usage

The last one doesn’t seem to be on the radar – the other day I walked from Voltaire to Rosecrans via Wabaska and Nimitz. In that roughly 30-minute hike I saw 1 bike in the expensively provided protected bike lane on what bikers call a major bike thoroughfare to move across San Diego.

There appears to be no real plan to build a network and no real standard for which type of bike facility the city installs. For example, there is a wide bike lane on Canon on the curved section from the west of Willow to Talbot. The city has sharrows on steeper Talbot that starts a block apart and ends at the same point. Put the bikes on the safer street and trim the bushes regularly.

Almost all new bike lanes seem like different demonstration projects that confuse drivers. The city looks at every repaving job as an opportunity to paint bike lanes. Routes are added in a totally haphazard way whenever a street is repaved. The result is bike lanes that have debris and are unswept due to barriers for street sweepers and unmaintained plants that grow into the path of the lane.

Each bike lane has different levels of safety for bikers. The city is now adding narrow, unbuffered bike lanes on the uphill side of collector streets by squeezing the parking to 7 foot wide, narrowing travel lanes with the result being parked car mirrors sticking into the unbuffered bike lanes and those on bikes are within a couple of feet of busy traffic lanes.

I don’t know where the money for these really expensive projects will come from. Probably from the extra tax money from Prop B and revenues from rent from Prop C.

One more note, the Chatsworth crosswalk is not a bridge, but the concept is to choke the street to the width of 2 lanes which would make the pedestrian crossing shorter. It may also have a road hump like those in Liberty Station (raised table) which is a slight up-to-curb height, flat section, and then slightly down. It would also have some crosswalk signals.

Interestingly, Chatsworth does not have huge parking demand between Rosecrans and the high school, so the white lane is kind of a defacto bike lane, which would have more issues at the crosswalk. At that point, Chatsworth is on a slope and hopefully, the city will do something about water flow during rains.

By the way, Chatsworth Blvd/ Lytton has a 30 MPH speed limit between Rosecrans to Nimitz Blvd. There are no bike lanes until south of Browning and then it is sharrows painted on the travel lanes. The white lines at the edge of the travel lanes do not demarcate bike lanes, but the edge of roadway markings and parking lane.

The pedestrian crosswalk at Plumosa Park is designed to provide a safe crossing for pedestrians, including students walking to and from Loma Portal Elementary and Pt. Loma High. Unless a bike rider is walking the bike across at the pedestrian crossing the only advantage to bikes on Chatsworth would be the hope of reduced speed near the crosswalk.

Paul Grimes has spent a lot of time, energy and thought on transportation issues in our community.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Ob bike shop November 22, 2022 at 6:53 pm

Another one Absurd focus on anti bike stuff is
antiprogressive and absurd and sad of you all semi progressives.


Geoff Page November 23, 2022 at 11:09 am

Well, I don’t know which OB Bike Shop you are, but I have to say that is and “absurd and sad” comment to make about a reasonable, knowledgeable commentary like this piece.


Cliff November 22, 2022 at 11:22 pm

I wish we could live in a world where you could safely bike around the peninsula. But, I’ve seen too many people get hit, both pedestrians and bikers.
Honestly, I would never bike in Point Loma and am never surprised when I see a biker lying on the side of the road. It’s sad but it’s the reality.


Geoff Page November 23, 2022 at 11:06 am

You do realize that there are lots of roads in Point Loma that can be safely cycled? The insistence on riding on busy thoroughfares is what contributes to the accidents.


JB November 23, 2022 at 1:18 pm

The insistence of driving cars on the roads that actually go to where people want to be is what makes the thoroughfares busy. To think that people on bikes wouldn’t also need to use those same roads kind of misses the point of using a bike for transportation.


Geoff Page November 23, 2022 at 7:38 pm

Why do bikes need to use the same roads when there are safer alternatives nearby, like parallel streets with much lower traffic counts? There will be places where it may be necessary to route onto busy roads and those spots should be protected. But the idea that this needs to be done in areas where alternative routes exist makes no sense.


FrankF November 24, 2022 at 6:44 am

As an almost daily cyclist in Point Loma and OB I agree with Geoff. Most of the bicycle lane “improvements” in the Point and dangerous and ill-designed. The new designated lanes on Nimitz are a death trap. Street sweepers can’t get to the curb over the delineators, city crews can’s trim the bushes, so what we have on Nimitz is a dangerous gauntlet for bicycles.

When I ride out to Cabrillo NM on Catalina, I take side-streets. No big deal.

And the bike lane all along 30th? It’s an extremely dangerous route because it confuses both drivers and bicycles alike with its strange striping and parking stalls. Most sane bike riders in North Park use 29th Street.

And finally, have you biked down 5th or up 6th bike lanes downtown. OMG!! It’s a suicide mission. Most bike commuters I see are riding in car traffic lanes and staying a long way from that expensive and crazy bike lane.

Face it, just let us bike riders deal with traffic like we’ve been doing for a hundred years. Let us make the risk assessment on what street we’ll ride. Stop the crazy bike lane experiment because it gives a false sense of security for bike riders and a confusing jumble of lines and cones for drivers!!


Greg November 24, 2022 at 7:37 am

As someone who consistently commuted via bicycle downtown, the lanes on Nimitz are an enormous improvement from before as are the bike lanes downtown on 5th and 6th. If someone truly thinks these streets were safer before these projects I question whether they consistently used these streets before the changes were made or their sanity.


Geoff Page November 28, 2022 at 1:26 pm

Riding a bicycle on a road with traffic coming behind you at 40 plus mph, and often 50 mph, with only plastic bollards for protection creates a false sense of security. Some cyclists who will now feel safer may ride on Nimitz when they never did before. And some of them will be hurt. This was a terrible idea.


Greg November 28, 2022 at 1:41 pm

Ya they probably should reduce it to a single lane and re-route auto traffic onto a parallel street since Nimitz is one of the few “mostly flat” ways to get from Ocean Beach to Downtown. Automobiles aren’t bothered by the steep grades on other streets leading to/from downtown.


Geoff Page November 29, 2022 at 10:33 am

I find that comment curious. I keep reading what a healthy lifestyle biking is so why would a few hills be a problem? It’s only healthy riding on flat ground? And, with electric bikes, hills don’t matter. So, rerouting vulnerable traffic to the side streets makes much more sense.


kh November 29, 2022 at 11:14 am

Like drivers, bicyclists also want a direct thoroughfare, not to be navigating zigzagging through neighborhood streets. Which frankly, are also very dangerous to bicyclists. Navigating driveway entrances, and 2-way and 4-way stops with inattentive drivers. And unless it involves a dedicated bike path, it’s going to end up being something along side a busy street.

I wonder why we can’t move the bike lane above the curb (and still distinct from the pedestrian path). I’ve seen this done in parts of Seattle. The public right-of-way behind the curb is often 20ft or greater in width. In some places there’s already room with just some additional paving. In others it could require moving the curb and could get expensive.

Southbound Nimitz into OB is a good example, there isn’t enough road width to safely accomodate traffic and bikes, yet there’s a huge swath of public land beyond the curb dedicated to dead trees and weeds.


Chris November 25, 2022 at 6:38 am

I ride the lanes along 30th all the time. What is confusing about them?


Geoff Page November 28, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Now there is a reasonable comment by a cyclist who is being reasonable.


nostalgic November 26, 2022 at 9:55 am

The California Coastal Commission hearing on December 14 will decide on an extension of the deadline for a change to the Local Coastal Program to “add new regulations related to the Climate Action Plan and require development to provide public pedestrian and bicycle-oriented spaces.” This is an extension, not the change it self, but it does identify that the city has a proposed plan.


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