University Heights business owners smoke as city begins work on protected bike lanes – NBC 7 San Diego
A small but vocal group of business owners in University Heights lashed out at San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and the city council in a hastily organized protest early Monday morning.
As the group criticized city leaders, crews began working on Park Boulevard on the next phase of the city’s resurfacing plan.
These are new protected bike lanes that business owners say will do away with coveted parking spots.
“I’m incredibly frustrated,” University Heights’ Susy Holts said of Gloria. “I despise what is happening. [Gloria] and the city council does not listen to the people or the inhabitants.”
“I think the mayor is more concerned about city life and density than what he’s going to do for the small businesses in this area,” said business owner Ben Evans.
Protected Bike Lanes will eliminate 88 parking spaces along a one-mile stretch of Park Boulevard between Adams and University Avenues.
City officials, however, are quick to point out that there will be 165 parking spaces left after the bike lanes are installed.
“The city continued to analyze parking in the area and discovered that it could add an additional 55 spaces on cross streets in the area by converting angled and parallel parking to front parking on many side streets that intersect with Park Boulevard,” Anthony said. Santacroce, a senior public information official for the city of San Diego.
The new bike lanes will be built adjacent to the pedestrian sidewalk, alongside a three-foot safety lane. A parking lane will be outside the security lane, alongside a single lane of two-way traffic.
Residents fear the project will force delivery trucks to park in the middle of the street, blocking both lanes of traffic. There are also concerns about potential access for buses and emergency vehicles.
“Where are all of our customers going to park if we lose this parking lot?” Evans asked. “How are we supposed to stay in business?”
Business owners said their complaints and concerns were ignored by the city.
“I’ve been in business for 30 years, and this is the first time I’ve felt threatened that the city isn’t on my side, the city wants me out of business,” Lance Stratton said. “I don’t appreciate that.”
A rep for Gloria noted that bike lanes on Park Boulevard were called for a year ago in three different plans: the city’s bicycle master plan, the downtown community plan, and the North Park community plan. , each established with significant public input and scrutiny.
“A single death or serious injury on city streets is unacceptable, and in 2021 alone, 16 cyclists were killed in San Diego,” said Dave Rolland, Gloria’s deputy communications director. “We need to make cycling safer for residents, and that’s why Mayor Gloria is creating more and more protected routes. The mayor is also committed to meeting the ambitious goals of the climate action plan of the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decreasing car trips and increasing bike trips is a major part of achieving these goals.”
As business owners have spoken out, several University Heights residents have expressed satisfaction with efforts to make roads safer for cyclists.
“You know, I live here and I use Park Boulevard to get around,” an unidentified resident said. “I’m really excited to be able to cycle safely around my neighborhood.”