State and local transportation officials on Wednesday opened a mile-long protected bike lane alongside SR-15, creating a safer and more comfortable bike route between Mission Valley and Mid-City neighborhoods.
Construction of the $15.5 million bikeway took about a year and a half, but plans for the project were first adopted locally in 2010. The project was a joint effort by Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments, the regional transportation planning agency.
Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, was among the first cyclists to ride down and up the bike path after the ribbon cutting ceremony. He said there is much more work to do in planning and constructing an integrated, safe network for cycling.
“I think the days of just putting paint on the street are behind us,” he said. “It’s not moving the needle for ridership or mode share like we had hoped. We want to build connected, protected networks.”
City Councilman Chris Ward, whose district boundary lies across the freeway, said protected bike lanes are what the city needs more of to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.
“Having safe connections to walk, bike or transit will help eliminate some of the trips that we’re otherwise taking by car, which in turn helps us meet our city’s goal for the Climate Action Plan,” he said.
The bike path connects Adams Avenue with Camino del Rio South — two streets with no bike lanes at all. County Supervisor and SANDAG chairman Ron Roberts said despite that, the bike lane would be popular.
“It might be for work, it might be for shopping or it might be for recreation,” he said. “It’s going to get used, there’s no question about it.”