OB Planners Angered by City’s Delay on Re-Surfacing Bacon Street and Puzzled By Who Decided to Install Roundabouts

by on May 5, 2023 · 9 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

Most people would agree that weeds growing in pavement cracks are a pretty good indication that a street needs work. Weeds. That is what Bacon Street looks like today, has for some time, and will continue to look that way for the foreseeable future..

Bacon St. was the main topic at the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting, Wednesday, May 3, at the OB Rec Center. News the board recently received about the future of Bacon was angering and puzzling at the same time.

Bacon St. has been on list of streets to be fixed for a long time and it was at long last scheduled for an overlay this summer. But, once again, it seems the finish line has been moved.

The following is information from an email that was received by District 2 representative Manuel Reyes. It is not attributed. This was read during the OBPB meeting.

During the design phase of current Asphalt Resurfacing Group 1901, Bacon Street was removed from the scope and deferred to a future project i.e., Asphalt Overlay 2202  due to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) permit requirements for roundabouts installations on Brighton and Voltaire.

We’re currently working to submit documents to the CCC and plan to include this street segment as part of Asphalt Overlay 2202  which will be advertised late FY24. Our resurfacing limits begin at Cape May Avenue and end 80’ short of W Point Loma. The intersection of Bacon and W Point Loma was resurfaced by another CIP project i.e.,  ADA S/W Group 3E W Point Loma .

Bacon Street May 2023

The first link just goes to a site about Asphalt Resurfacing Group 1901. That is a current project that covers Torrey Pines, Linda Vista, Clairemont Mesa, Peninsula, University, Via de la Valle. There is nothing about Bacon St.

The second link goes to a planned overlay project. The site shows a timeline and the last item on the timeline is “Finish Design” sometime in the summer of 2023. There is nothing beyond that, no schedule for contracting and construction. The statement said it “will be advertised late FY24.” The project is “partially funded” and the duration is “to be determined.”

So, this is where Bacon St. landed when it was “deferred to a future project.”

But, that is only part of the story. The other part is the roundabouts on Bacon at Voltaire and Brighton. The OBPB has no idea why the city is putting in roundabouts because no one asked for them.

The roundabouts need Coastal Development permits. No one knew why. A possible reason may be the issue of beach access. Protecting public access to the coastline is a major responsibility of the Coastal Commission. Perhaps changes in transportation configurations need to be reviewed to ensure the changes are not impeding access.

Regardless, this requirement has pushed Bacon’s paving day out even more.

The question about why the city is planning to place roundabouts on Bacon St. puzzled the board. Usually, changes like this are generated by requests from the community, through the planning board. No one on the OBPB knew of any requests.

Board member Kevin Hastings had a theory. The push may have come from the cycling community through the city’s Mobility Board. The cycling community favors roundabouts and they have the ear of this administration.

The OB Community Plan contains the following statement about Bacon.

The 2011 Bicycle Master Plan proposes a Cycle Track on Nimitz Boulevard, and a Bicycle Boulevard along Bacon Street, Brighton Avenue, and Coronado Avenue.

A visit to the city’s Bicycle Master Plan site shows the plan was updated in 2013. There is a link to Figure 6-2 “Proposed Bicycle Network with Classifications (South).” This map shows Bacon as a “proposed” Bicycle Blvd. Proposed.

The site contains the full 2013 revised plan. There is no mention of Bacon St. There is nothing to indicate that Bacon was ever officially designated a bicycle boulevard. But, the cycling community is treating it as if it was official.

So, what is a bicycle boulevard? This was explained in a June 22, 2021 Rag article about the Peninsula Community Planning Board meeting where it came up.

To put it simply, a street designated a bicycle boulevard can be subjected to all sorts of changes designed to “calm” traffic. Traffic circles do that.

The problem is that it is very difficult to find out what influence the Mobility Board had on the roundabouts coming. During COVID, the board met on-line. The city site only posts videos of each meeting with agendas. There are no meeting minutes. The city has taken the position that videos suffice as minutes even though it can take hours to watch one.

A Public Records Request may be needed to get the information.

In the end, the OBPB passed two motions. One was to keep Bacon on the paving schedule for this summer as planned and not let roundabouts postpone the work. The second motion was requesting more information on the roundabouts, specifically, what generated them.

The sad part about all this is that the city has not kept the board informed about planned changes in OB. The board was ignored. Adding to the sadness was the public’s lack of interest. There was only one person in the audience during the board meeting besides this writer and the District 2 representative.

And, there were only eight of ten board members attending for a board this is supposed to have 16 members.

Housing Action Plan

Chair Andrea Schlageter provided an update about the Community Planners Committee recommendations for the city’s Housing Action Package 2.0 or HAP 2.0. The city site is here.

Two items Schlageter discussed were the recommendations that developer fees stay within the community the fees were generated in. The mayor wants to put all the money in one pot to be used as he sees fit.

The second recommendation was that the affordable housing percentage be increased to 30 percent. Of the 30 percent, 15 percent should be reserved for people with low to very low incomes and the other 15 percent should be reserved for people with moderate incomes.

The board decided to table the discussion and a possible vote of support, or not, at the June meeting.

COW – Community Orientation Workshop

Schlageter announced that all board members are required to attend a Community Orientation Workshop, or COW, session by the end of the year. Attending COW has always been a requirement of new planning group members. But, it is unusual to require sitting board members to attend again.

When questioned why this is being required, Schlageter said it was probably to educate the members about the new planning group changes and about how to complete the application process to become a recognized group by the city.

In a possible worst-case scenario, the city does not recognize the OBPB as the official community group and recognizes a competing group. All the time attending the COW will just have been a waste of time and money.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg May 5, 2023 at 11:48 am

That’s good to know that the proposed changes for Bacon are being made with an eye towards prioritizing cycling/pedestrian use. Something needs to change when we have 10 parallel north-south arterials from Abbot to Catalina running through our community prioritizing personal-auto travel. Not sure if these will help that goal but we shall see as the current status quo is no good.


Geoff Page May 5, 2023 at 12:33 pm

Roads were not built to prioritize “personal-auto travel.” Roads were built for commerce and as routes for life safety vehicles. There are sidewalks and controlled intersections for crossing. And, people have been riding bicycles on OB streets along with cars for a 100 years. What needs fixing?


kh May 5, 2023 at 4:26 pm

Sure, but the very DOT manuals cited by the vision zero plan don’t show pedestrian or bicycle benefits of converting 4-way stops on 2 lane streets to mini-roundabouts. Larger roundabouts over 4-lane signalized intersections do have distinct benefits. My point is it is not a one-sized fits all solution. And the learning curve will never end with all the tourists we have here year around. If it is superior so be it… but is there even a problem there now? That would be news to me.

There better be a damn good benefit to offset the delays and added cost of altering curb ramps and going through Coastal review. If Bacon is unsafe to ride on it’s because of it’s poor condition.

Meanwhile at this same meeting, we were told if we wanted a fence at the children’s park, THAT THE PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT, we’d have to raise the money ourselves. It’s all bass-ackwards.


Paul Webb May 5, 2023 at 2:58 pm

Okay, it’s official. I saw a man get off his bicycle at People’s and he was wearing a helmet with a “war on cars” sticker. That what it’s about.

Can’t we all get along?


Lyle May 5, 2023 at 7:40 pm

Gosh! I thought People’s people were anti war. (I admit I am one of them and I have seen nothing but peaceful people there.)


Paul Grimes May 6, 2023 at 9:35 pm

Regarding Bike Boulevards, at a PCPB meeting, it was claimed that Evergreen (between Canon and Nimitz) was also a bike blvd, but there seems to be no paperwork about such action. The street has no markings about bikes in any way.
Evergreen was one of the streets the city wanted to add Advisory Bike Lanes, but the city’s awful treatment of the same proposal on Gold Coast Blvd got the ADLs removed from planning (at least for the time being, but surely could return). I saw the plans that also had ADLs on Pt. Loma Ave between Canon and Ebers. Those plans were also thankfully scrapped as well.
It should be noted the City’s Mobility board has 2 San Diego Bike coalition members currently including the chair of the Bike Colalition. Surely others have served in the past.


Geoff Page May 8, 2023 at 1:58 pm

The “mobility” community has learned to use very vague terms and often tries to redefine what a word means. A Bike Blvd. sound kind of nice, doesn’t it? But, it can mean major changes to a street that make it not so nice for people who live there or who use the street. If you ever hear of your street being considered for the designation, watch out.


Will May 10, 2023 at 6:21 am

I would love more protected biking in our wonderful community. Biking on these sharrow roads is nerve wracking as drivers attempt to squeeze past with the threat of oncoming traffic, cars popping out of alleys, and vehicles parking. I would have better access to our community, lessen traffic by taking my car off the road, improve our air quality, and this could help alleviate injuries and accidents caused by intoxicated drivers.


embo May 13, 2023 at 4:11 pm

What about the intoxicated bike riders, or do they not drink?


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