Wheels in motion to establish a Point Loma community bike park
by Mike Ryan
Apr 18, 2012 | 1750 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Over the years, Peninsula-area residents have taken pride in turning leftovers into desserts. Locals saw the conversion of the end of the San Diego River flood channel into a dog beach and transformed acres of landfill at Robb Field Park into a skateboard park. Now, a group of local bike riders wants its own piece of the pie — a community bike park.

While some people may scoff at the idea of a public bike park — several attempts in Point Loma have been bulldozed — bike parks are operating successfully in Folsom, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Boulder and Ft. Collins, Colo.

The Olympics and X-Games respect the sport enough to feature BMX bike racing in its competitions. Earlier this month, the USA Cycling BMX National Championships was held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. BMX Olympic hopefuls competed for one of five spots in the upcoming summer Olympics in London between Aug. 8 and 10. Riders raced around a 400-meter replicate BMX track like the one used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Thanks in part to the popularity of the X-Games and the Olympics BMX bike riding has caught the attention of Peninsula-area youth. Scott Irwin, vice principal at Dana Middle School in Point Loma, is trying to peddle the idea of building a public bike park in Point Loma on the vacant lot at the corner of Famosa and Nimitz boulevards, across the street from Bill Cleator Community Park.

“The proposed site is particularly popular with BMX riders because the unique terrain is ideally suited to riding bikes, and the dirt has a high water content that is perfect for building obstacles,” Irwin said. “It is centrally located near several schools and is across from existing parking and restrooms.”

Proposed landscape drawings for the bike park include picnic and observation areas, community gardens, walking paths and native plants for a “family-friendly environment.”

District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer is trying to set the wheels in motion by working with the San Diego Housing Commission, which currently owns the property, to transfer the site to the San Diego Park and Recreation Department for the possible bike park.

On Thursday, April 19, the bike group will present its Community Bike Park proposal to the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) and will ask for its support in changing the land designation in the community plan from multi-family housing to public park.

Irwin and his group are setting up meetings with neighboring apartment and condo complexes to field potential concerns. 

— Mike Ryan spearheaded the Robb Field Skateboard Park and chairs the Park and Recreation Committee of the Peninsula Community Planning Board.
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