Fun Times in OB: Following Up With the City on Whether Bacon Street Is a ‘Bicycle Boulevard’, Why Re-Paving Was Delayed

by on July 18, 2023 · 14 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

In The Rag’s June 12 story about the OB Planning Board’s June meeting was an account of a presentation by the city explaining the Bacon Street roundabout.

There were two outstanding questions. One was about where one of the city’s slides came from. The other question was about what delayed the Bacon St. paving project.

Here is what happens when answers are sought.

Bacon Street – NOT a Bicycle Boulevard

The picture below is one of the slides from the city’s presentation.

The image shows the intersection of Brighton Ave. and Bacon St. with round green dots running down each. In the legend, the wording “Bicycle Boulevard” is highlighted in yellow. However, next to the wording are three square – not round – dots. Additionally, the map shows representations of the buildings on those streets.

Having been through instances where incorrect information is given out, purposely, by the cycling advocates, this writer reviewed the Bicycle Master Plan for what was on the slide. It was nowhere to be found.

When the presenter, Philip Rust, was asked where the slide image came from, he immediately turned things over to the city’s Communications Department. And the obfuscation began.

The following exchange occurred with Anthony Santacroce, Supervising Public Information Officer, and this writer, between June 27 and July 12. This was just to find out where the image on the slide came from.

Writer: “Can you tell me what page of the Bicycle Master Plan this is?”

Santacroce: “I don’t know if it’s a page in the bicycle master plan. For the purposes of the slide in question is just serves as a visual reference.”

Writer: “The slide in question showed it was from the Bicycle Master Plan. I want to know if it is or not. I can’t find it in the master plan so I want to know if the slide was correct.”

Santacroce: “I’m available at 619-602-2805 if you would like to keep going back and forth.”

Writer: “I don’t need to talk about it — I just need to know if the picture in that slide is in the bicycle master plan or not.”

Santacroce: “Please see bicycle master plan attached.”

Writer: “I have the Master Plan. I’ve already said I can’t find this in the plan. All I need to know is the page number of what you sent me, why is that a problem of any kind?”

Writer: “Are you going to answer my question and provide the page number of that document you sent? If it is not in the Bicycle Master Plan, then where did it come from?”

Writer: “I am waiting for a response, Mr. Santacroce. Please provide the page number from the Master plan the slide came from, or please provide the source of that graphic, if it is from some other document.”

Santacroce: “I sent you the Master Plan but if I must provide the page number for you as well, it is page 104. Also page 49 of the OB Community Plan. Any further questions or clarifications I’m available by phone.”

Writer: “Page 104 in the Master Plan is a blank page. Page 49 of the OB Community Plan is a page of text. This wasn’t even close. I don’t need a phone call. I need an answer that seems to be impossible to provide for some reason.”

Santacroce: “Again, I’m at 619-602-2805.”

Writer: “I prefer answers in writing. Very simple and easy to do.”

Santacroce: “Ok. I will be here if you need further assistance. 619-602-2805.”

Writer: “I went into the Master Plan and used page 107 of the pdf and I think that was the number you gave me, not the document page number. Still not a match. I did the same thing with the OB Community Plan, still no match.

Writer: I’m going to assume now that you have no idea where the graphic came from or that you do know and are refusing to tell me the source. That’s how I’ll write it up.”

Crickets after that. Why is this significant? Rust called Bacon a “bicycle boulevard” and the slide also identified it that way. But, it is not true. The Master Plan shows a lot of routes as “Proposed” bicycle boulevards but the streets have never been designated that way. This is a minor fact the cycling advocates disregard and rely instead on just saying it to make it true.

This same language was placed in a draft letter by the Peninsula Community Planning Board, by a cycling advocate, about Evergreen Street. The language was removed, to their chagrin, when it was made clear the street was never designated a bicycle boulevard.

The reason it matters is that streets designated bicycle boulevards can, and probably will, see major changes, like the Bacon Street roundabout. People living along these streets and others who use them will be affected by various modifications designed to favor cycling over cars.

It seems a public review would be in order if a much-used street was up for this designation. This may be the reason why it has not happened yet. Another may be money. If a street is designated this way, money will need to be spent on some of the following:

  • Significant pavement striping and signage.
  • Concrete chokers at the end of the street to keep vehicles out
  • Loop detectors so bikes can activate a traffic signal
  • Mini traffic circles
  • Speed humps
  • Raised medians at intersection to prevent cars from turning into the boulevard with a cut through so bicycles can make the turn

In the end, the city demonstrated again that anything the city says needs to be verified because the information cannot be trusted. It appears the slide image was taken from some other document and the city refuses to divulge it.

Delayed Bacon Street paving

As related in the June 12 story about the OB Planning Board’s June meeting, the city stated that the new roundabout being planned for the intersection of Bacon and Brighton did not delay the Bacon Street paving work scheduled for this August. Rust did not explain what actually did delay the project despite telling the OBPB, several times, that the roundabout was not the cause of the delay.

The long-awaited paving has now been put off for another year. Seeing the roundabout design, it was difficult to believe the delay in paving Bacon was due to something else.

Here is the concurrent account from June 27 to July 17 of trying to get an answer to this question from Santacroce:

Santacroce: “Regarding the Bacon Street roundabout, I’m finding out what “delayed” the resurfacing in question.”

Santacroce: “Also, see project page for the Asphalt Overlay Resurfacing Project 2202 (SS) that includes Bacon St. It is set to start construction in December.”

Writer: “I’m assuming this is in regard to my question about the Bacon Street delay?

Bacon was set to be paved this summer and it was delayed. Mr. Rust told the OB Planning Board, twice, that the delay was not because of the new roundabout being planned. At the meeting, he did not elaborate what the delay was.

That is my question. What did delay the work then?”

Writer: “Do you plan to answer my question about what delayed the Bacon Street work?”

Writer: “I ask again, do you plan to answer the question of what delayed the Bacon Street resurfacing work?”

Crickets again.

That’s our city at work. That shows what little respect the city has for the OBPB, not to mention the rest of the community. They included deliberately misleading information in the presentation. Despite several opportunities to just say they made a mistake, which would be reasonable, they dodged the question. That kind of a reaction is the reaction of a guilty party.

Then, they told the board the paving delay was due to “something” but failed to be specific in the presentation or in subsequent questions about that. Once again, the actions of a guilty party.

In years of dealing with the city, things have clearly changed. The city has set up three things to keep the community at arm’s length, the Communication Department, Public Record Requests, and Get It Done.

No one in the city will speak with a citizen anymore, it all has to go through the Communication Department.

No document of any kind is released without a PRR, which is not at all what the Public Records Act intended.

And gone are the days when a person could call a department to get some action on a pothole or something, everything goes through Get It Done.

There are the things that need to change.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie July 18, 2023 at 11:34 am

Great investigation and reporting.

Maybe one of the television stations would take this on and make the city respond on camera? Maybe “CBS8 working for you”

City employees that deceive have no self pride.


Scooterdog July 18, 2023 at 12:12 pm

Great job, Geoff.
Maybe citizens of OB should have an OB style, lighthearted march down Bacon Street to draw attention to the issue. OB has plenty of creative people to make it fun while also making our point. Invite the media and see if we can make any progress that way. The squeaky wheel…


Chris July 18, 2023 at 4:13 pm

OK so it’s established that Bacon is NOT a designated “bicycle Boulevard” and never was. Nor any of the other near by streets. What exactly IS a bicycle boulevard? Is it any and/or all of the bullets shown? By the very verbiage I would think it would be the whole street closed to cars in favor of bicycles but I’m guessing that’s not the case? Closing all of Bacon to cars I know is not realistic and but what would be the problem in putting safe bike infrastructure?


Chris July 18, 2023 at 5:14 pm

I looked up the definition and found this link:
So while it is completely false that Bacon is at this time a bicycle boulevard,
better wording would be to say that it is a “proposed” BB. So with that said, I would there be so much objection to this?


Geoff Page July 18, 2023 at 10:02 pm

In May 5 Rag story, the fact that it was “proposed” was clearly pointed out. See quote below.

“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.”


Chris July 19, 2023 at 6:27 am

We agree that it’s dishonest wording to call it a bicycle boulevard when in reality it’s only proposed as such. That’s what I was acknowledging. After that I was asking for more details on what exactly a bicycle boulevard is. I wasn’t meaning to put you under the microscope (in case I came off that way). After I posted that I did a Google search just to get a better idea of what that term means.


Geoff Page July 19, 2023 at 11:51 am

No problem, Chris. While we disagree on some things, you have always been civil and direct and I like that. I’m guessing by now you have a better idea of what a bicycle boulevard is. If you want to see what the city says about it, go to the Bicycle Master Plan, Page 21 and Table 3-2: Non-Classified Proposed Bikeways. I put part of the illustration in my earlier story but it’s all on this page along with text.


Chris July 20, 2023 at 6:55 am

All good Geoff. I think we have a different opinions of a bicycle boulevard being a good or bad thing, tho I haven’t had too many issues riding along Bacon. Voltaire heading west from Chatsworth (that’s how I ride into OB) is where things can get pretty hairy.


Tessa July 19, 2023 at 8:45 am

Thanks for your tenacity, Geoff. It seems city officials’ strategy is just to wear citizens down and hope they’ll go away.


Geoff Page July 19, 2023 at 11:53 am

Thank you, Tessa. It does take an effort but when you build up reputation as a gnat that won’t go away, sometimes you get faster results as they try to swat you away.


Geoff Page July 19, 2023 at 2:41 pm

I had a call with Mr. Santacroce yesterday evening. I won’t bore with the details, suffice to say, it was not a pleasant discussion. But, one answer was finally provided.

On the question of where the slide came from, Santacroce had previously provided these responses:

• “I don’t know if it’s a page in the bicycle master plan. For the purposes of the slide in question is just serves as a visual reference.”
• It was on page 104 of the Master Plan and page 49 of the OB Community Plan

“I don’t know” and incorrect page numbers.

Finally, after more than three weeks, Santacroce said they – the city – created that graphic specifically for the slide show because it was “visually better” than what was in the Master Plan or the Community Plan.

There are three problems. First, both the Master Plan and the Community Plan maps can be expanded to any size and a snapshot taken of the actual documents.

Second, the slide contained a large photograph of the Bicycle Master Plan cover in the upper left corner. To viewers, the assumption was the graphic and legend were from the Master Plan.

Third problem. The Master Plan has maps with designations for proposed bicycle boulevards. Proposed, not designated. But viewers of the slide would assume it was showing Bacon as a bicycle boulevard, not just one of many “proposed” bicycle boulevards.

Why did it take all this time for the city to finally admit that they created the slide? Not just not want to not admit it but to give incorrect answers from the start? Santacroce was angry saying I did not trust anything the city said. I don’t think he saw the irony.

It is possible the city obfuscated, hoping the question would go away, because they did not want anything to disrupt this subtly false message they were putting out. It is important because the message justifies the Bacon and Brighton roundabout because roundabouts are in bicycle boulevards and Bacon Street is a bicycle boulevard, riiiight?. Rest assured this is coming from the cycling body entrenched in the city.

As for the paving delay, Santacroce challenged the contention that Bacon Street was to be paved this summer and basically said I made that up. This surprised me so I said I’d send documents. I sent several last night, that I had, and more today from other helpful folks. There can be no doubt about the “contention” that Bacon was scheduled to be paved this summer.

I then I reposed the question. What delayed the paving? I received an out of office until Thursday email.


Geoff Page July 21, 2023 at 11:15 am

Update: Here is the response from Mr. Santacroce yesterday:

“Ok. I will present this information and assertion and provide a response.

From now and moving forward I request that you email for any questions or inquiries. I will only be responding to your emails forwarded to me from the Communications inbox. Also, I will be only providing you with answers verbally moving forward as well.”

I responded that I would like to know what part of the procedures for the Communications allowed him to decide that he would only respond verbally. No answer.


Jeremy July 21, 2023 at 7:16 am

Not sure whether or not that street should be or is a bike “Boulevard” but as an avid cyclist I can tell you it is integral to getting around OB on bike. I bike that street 4-5 times a week and use that roundabout too. That street is horrible for cyclists as is; it’s really a mess.

The reason it’s so useful for cyclists is because, to get to Newport or anywhere else from the bike path along the river, you have to go through the parking lot next to the fields, which leads you right to the roundabout and then down Bacon. That bike path is accessible from many other places in the city, and so it is a major “artery” into OB.

I’m not sure that repainting the street to provide bike lanes is necessary… it would be a nice to have, but that street should be replaced immediately. It’s actually unsafe for cyclists in its current condition.


kh July 24, 2023 at 11:15 am

I agree, the pavement condition, the connectivity, the lack of maintenance of the river path. The pavement up there is crumbling and getting difficult to pass in some spots. Further west the pavement is covered in sand and dangerous. I reported that, and promptly received a reply that no issue was found. But hey, a mini-roundabout at a location that they themselves said isn’t a safety issue.


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