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Mixed reviews on new Clairemont bicycle lanes

"It's practically a suicide mission reversing out of the driveway."

New bike lane on Clairemont Drive
New bike lane on Clairemont Drive

On November 24, the Clairemont Community Planning Group voted to change Clairemont Drive between Balboa Avenue and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard from two lanes into one to accommodate a bicycle lane.

The deputy city engineer, Brian Genovese, presented the one-lane plan before the vote. Traffic measurements presented showed over 80 percent of the traffic on Clairemont Drive exceeded the 35 mph speed limit (up to 70 mph). Unsafe lane changes accounted for 30 percent of the accidents and 18 percent were caused by excessive speed. Genovese said at the meeting that follow-up traffic measurements would be taken roughly six months after the modification. He said that restriping would coincide with the upcoming planned repaving.

Claremont Drive as it winds around Claremont Square

The vote was eight to three in favor of the change. Keith Hartz (of the planning group) was one of the dissenting votes. Hartz said on December 9, "The city is taking one of only two north/south corridors through the middle of Clairemont and reducing it to one lane. Since Clairemont Drive is one lane on the west end down by the bay and now one lane between Balboa and Clairemont Drive, I think it's only a matter of time until the city makes it one lane from south of Balboa all the way to the end [at Mission Bay].”

Hartz said that the main argument for the change was safety. Hartz received an email from Genovese regarding his question about using stop signs to slow down cars. In the email, Genovese states, "stop signs and traffic signals are intersection control devices used to regulate right-of-way assignments and would not be appropriate to control speeds so these were not considered."

Jon Poirier lives on Clairemont Drive, within the impacted area. "The lane reduction lies within an all-residential section of Clairemont Drive," Poirier said on December 9. "This change will affect me every day. It's practically a suicide mission reversing out of the driveway every morning. I believe this change will make this neighborhood safer."

Poirier witnessed the restriping start on November 30 on his way home from work at 5:30 p.m. Poirier said, "I felt like I was going so slow behind a moving line of cars, but then I looked at my speedometer and realized that I was actually going the proper speed limit of 35 mph."

Thomas Freese of Bay Park started cycling about 27 years ago. He cycles for pleasure, training, and commuting and bicycles about 500 miles a month.

Freese said on December 8, "I love the new lanes, I would love to see more of them around. It amazes me how other places in the country and world do such a great job of public transportation and pathways but here in San Diego, we struggle to keep up smooth safe roads to ride on as well as safer places to ride."

Freese is puzzled as to why so many San Diego motorists don't want to share the roads with cyclists. "Motorists, for the most part, believe bikes have no place on the road," Freese said. "Riding around the county, I can't count a single time that I have not had an incident of cars being too close, too fast, or exhibiting some kind of aggressive behavior."

Councilmember Lori Zapf's office has been getting complaints about the change. Zapf said on December 9, “Public safety is one of my top priorities and I hope the 'road diet' changes make Clairemont Drive safer for bicycles, pedestrians and motorists."

Freese drove Clairemont Drive the afternoon of December 9 and said that traffic hasn't slowed down and witnessed cars moving at about 50–55 mph up until Balboa.

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New bike lane on Clairemont Drive
New bike lane on Clairemont Drive

On November 24, the Clairemont Community Planning Group voted to change Clairemont Drive between Balboa Avenue and Clairemont Mesa Boulevard from two lanes into one to accommodate a bicycle lane.

The deputy city engineer, Brian Genovese, presented the one-lane plan before the vote. Traffic measurements presented showed over 80 percent of the traffic on Clairemont Drive exceeded the 35 mph speed limit (up to 70 mph). Unsafe lane changes accounted for 30 percent of the accidents and 18 percent were caused by excessive speed. Genovese said at the meeting that follow-up traffic measurements would be taken roughly six months after the modification. He said that restriping would coincide with the upcoming planned repaving.

Claremont Drive as it winds around Claremont Square

The vote was eight to three in favor of the change. Keith Hartz (of the planning group) was one of the dissenting votes. Hartz said on December 9, "The city is taking one of only two north/south corridors through the middle of Clairemont and reducing it to one lane. Since Clairemont Drive is one lane on the west end down by the bay and now one lane between Balboa and Clairemont Drive, I think it's only a matter of time until the city makes it one lane from south of Balboa all the way to the end [at Mission Bay].”

Hartz said that the main argument for the change was safety. Hartz received an email from Genovese regarding his question about using stop signs to slow down cars. In the email, Genovese states, "stop signs and traffic signals are intersection control devices used to regulate right-of-way assignments and would not be appropriate to control speeds so these were not considered."

Jon Poirier lives on Clairemont Drive, within the impacted area. "The lane reduction lies within an all-residential section of Clairemont Drive," Poirier said on December 9. "This change will affect me every day. It's practically a suicide mission reversing out of the driveway every morning. I believe this change will make this neighborhood safer."

Poirier witnessed the restriping start on November 30 on his way home from work at 5:30 p.m. Poirier said, "I felt like I was going so slow behind a moving line of cars, but then I looked at my speedometer and realized that I was actually going the proper speed limit of 35 mph."

Thomas Freese of Bay Park started cycling about 27 years ago. He cycles for pleasure, training, and commuting and bicycles about 500 miles a month.

Freese said on December 8, "I love the new lanes, I would love to see more of them around. It amazes me how other places in the country and world do such a great job of public transportation and pathways but here in San Diego, we struggle to keep up smooth safe roads to ride on as well as safer places to ride."

Freese is puzzled as to why so many San Diego motorists don't want to share the roads with cyclists. "Motorists, for the most part, believe bikes have no place on the road," Freese said. "Riding around the county, I can't count a single time that I have not had an incident of cars being too close, too fast, or exhibiting some kind of aggressive behavior."

Councilmember Lori Zapf's office has been getting complaints about the change. Zapf said on December 9, “Public safety is one of my top priorities and I hope the 'road diet' changes make Clairemont Drive safer for bicycles, pedestrians and motorists."

Freese drove Clairemont Drive the afternoon of December 9 and said that traffic hasn't slowed down and witnessed cars moving at about 50–55 mph up until Balboa.

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Comments
3

Note to home buyers. Never, NEVER buy a home on a busy street or one that goes somewhere. A classic example: 70th street between University Ave and El Cajon Blvd. Back in the day it was a narrow two lane road with small houses and large front yards. Then it became a 4 lane road plus resulting in reducing the front yards to nothing. Then they reduced it to two lanes with bike lane and parking. Now the road is so busy and the traffic is backed up for blocks it is almost impossible to get into or out of a driveway. Add to the congestion is an elementary school.

Dec. 11, 2015

I have never understood why valuable road space is reserved for a tiny fraction of a percent of the population, and a fraction that chooses to use a mode of transportation that is nothing but an enormous safety hazard and obstruction for everyone else. Bikes cannot keep up with the flow of traffic, and it makes ZERO sense to encourage them to ride in main traffic lanes. It's also stunningly rare to see a cyclist obey any road or traffic laws... they routinely blow through any traffic control measure ("I have to keep my momentum!").

We need to be banning bikes from main thoroughfares. Bikes should be kept to quiet side streets. If that means a couple of people have to start driving again, oh well... far better that than keeping thousands of cars idling along, polluting and wasting gas, because some selfish jackhole has decided that his right to pedal along at 8 MPH trumps everyone else's right to get on with their lives.

Dec. 11, 2015

"Riding around the county, I can't count a single time that I have not had an incident of cars being too close, too fast, or exhibiting some kind of aggressive behavior."

Because you're in the fricking road, in their fricking way! They're trying to get around you to get moving, you dumb putz! They aren't out looking for cyclists to hate on, they just want to get to their jobs and their families and their lives, but you're puttering along and stopping them from doing that!

If it "isn't safe" to ride, STOP RIDING ON THAT ROAD! You cannot force the rest of the world to plod along at your pace so you can feel better. One day, you will wind up being run over, and you can blather about how "right" you were... if you survive. There's a time and a place for bicycles, and a busy city street is never the place or time.

Dec. 11, 2015

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