After the hot-button issue was vetted at length by both PCPB board and audience members, the board opted to send the matter back to subcommittee for further study.
Once again, the issue of whether or not it would be appropriate to create a new bike lane on the increasingly busy thoroughfare came down to questions surrounding whether or not the new proposed lane would actually make it safer for cyclists, and how much parking exactly would be displaced. Participants at the meeting debated whether the trade-off would be worth it.
City traffic engineer Esmerelda White gave a slideshow presentation showing a road diet revealing how West Point Loma Boulevard would be reconfigured adding a bike lane.
District 2 bike rep and cycling advocate Nicole Burgess pled the case for installing a new West Point Loma bike lane.
“West Point Loma is an extremely dangerous place to ride your bike with cars going 40 mph and higher,” said Burgess. “This plan is working toward a solution.”
Burgess added the alternative would be to put in sharrows, lane markings to indicate that the lane must be shared by both motorized and non-motorized vehicles. She said that is not nearly as effective as having an actual lane devoted exclusively to bikes and scooters.
“We need to make our roads safer for all (travel) modes,” testified Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. “The city is working to create a balanced transportation system. It’s all about providing safe options for people who choose to ride bikes.”
From the audience, local resident Lucky Morrison said, “By creating a road diet, you’re substituting a traffic lane for a bike lane. It’s not a diet. It’s a road closure.”
Morrison claimed statistics show only 2 percent of the general population uses bikes as their primary transportation mode. “You’re taking 25 percent of the street away for the benefit of 2 percent of the population,” he argued.
“We need to take into account how the bike lane would impact the area, causing cars to cut through the neighborhood,” warned PCPB board member Fred Kosmo, who also questioned whether adding a bike lane would create traffic bottlenecks on West Point Loma Boulevard.
Board member Jim Hare said he was having trouble “doing the math on this thing” regarding how much parking would be displaced, and whether traffic would be increased.
“You really need to be evaluating traffic during the rush hour,” recommended board member Robert Tripp Jackson.
Board member Joe Holasek said he’d like to see how the proposed West Point Loma bike lane addition fits in with the City’s overall comprehensive bike master plan.
PCPB voted overwhelming to remand the matter back to subcommittee for further study on the proposed bike lane’s impact on community safety and traffic.