The Rose Creek segment, which is about a two-mile gap in the region’s bicycle trail network, runs from the north end of Santa Fe Street, connecting south to the existing bike path at Damon Street and Mission Bay Drive near the Mike Gotch Memorial Bridge above the Rose Creek inlet.
Rose Creek is part of the greater Coastal Rail Trail, a visionary, long-term project to create a 40-mile system of multi-use trails extending from Oceanside to downtown San Diego. The interlocking network would connect major activity centers, including University City, Mission Bay and Pacific Beach.
During the workshop, Charles Stoll of SANDAG, the region’s transportation planning agency, talked about how small bike segments like Rose Creek figured into the “big picture” of master planning to provide San Diegans with more transportation choices.
“What we’re here to do tonight is talk about the benefits of an active transportation program for the whole region,” said Stoll, who directed the 30-plus workshop visitors into three small working groups. Citizens, cyclists and merchants huddled with SANDAG planners, inspecting maps of the northern, central and southern portions of the undeveloped Rose Creek bike path and brainstorming ways to make it more user-friendly.
“The next step is to refine the ideas we collected here tonight as to what we’re actually going to be doing,” Stoll said, adding that once planning and design is complete, there will be preliminary engineering work and environmental clearance done before the project is put out to bid.
“Hopefully, we can have construction starting sometime during 2016,” Stoll said.
Chris Carterette, a transportation planner withn SANDAG, said the goal of bikeway improvement projects like Rose Creek is to “expand the use of bicycles so people have the choice to ride.”
Carterette said promoting active modes of travel like bicycling has a number of benefits, including “connecting neighborhoods and enhancing neighborhood character and economic development.”
“We believe active transportation helps improve the quality of life and public health,” Carterette said. “We want to give people more choice on how they get around, whether that be biking, walking, buses or other mass transit or the highway.
SANDAG planner Chris Kluth said the idea is to “raise the bar with a bike plan that appeals to everyone who could potentially ride.”
Noting there are segments of the population who always or never choose to ride bikes, Kluth said the target audience is those in between who might ride if improvements like separated lanes, road shoulders and side paths are made to make bike paths safer and more attractive.
Kluth said the biggest challenge with redrawing the transportation map is “balancing the needs of cyclists and roadway users,” adding that “parking is never not an issue.”
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