There’s a brand new way to see San Diego on your own two feet these days – and on two tires.
On Tuesday, city leaders including Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd Gloria announced the creation of the San Diego Bike Loop, a 7.3-mile circuitous route that sends cyclists through some of San Diego’s top attractions.
The on-street loop – clearly marked using special way-finding symbols like a “sharrow,” a set of arrows indicating a shared lane for both bikes and cars – takes riders through Balboa Park, the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and Seaport Village. Cyclists get to ride past Petco Park, the USS Midway Museum, the new Central Library, the new Waterfront Park and the San Diego Bay, too.
The project also includes a stretch along 4th and 5th avenues in Bankers Hill where a car lane has been replaced with a dedicated bike lane. A full map of the San Diego Bike Loop can be seen here.
Faulconer said the highly-anticipated route should connect cyclists with some of the great destinations America’s Finest City has to offer.
“This 7-mile loop connects all of these wonderful locations with a beautiful ride for cycling enthusiasts and casual riders alike. All you have to do is look for the bike symbols that have been painted on the streets to help guide cyclists and remind drivers to share the road,” said Faulconer.
“Simply put, the San Diego Bike Loop is a big step forward in our push to create a more bike-friendly San Diego. These are the types of low-cost projects that have a huge impact on our neighborhoods,” he added.
Gloria said the loop is part of the plan to make San Diego a “world-class bike city.”
“This is a huge step in our great city,” said Gloria. “This is something that is trying to take us not just from recreational use of bikes but really to making it a true transportation option.”
The unveiling of the route is timely, as Friday is “Bike to Work Day” in San Diego.
Cycling enthusiast Nicole Burgess said she’s very excited to use the new loop and to see more fellow San Diegans on their bikes.
“This is a step in the right direction. I’m looking forward to more of this,” Burgess told NBC 7.
The local mother calls herself an “active commuter” and said she takes her kids to school by bicycle and tries to run all of her errands on her bike. She said having “protected," clearly marked lanes like those along this new route makes riding feel much safer.
“These buffered bike lanes add a sense of comfort; they just make you feel more comfortable riding and getting to your destination,” said Burgess.
Gloria said creating safe bikeways is very important in the city's mission to become more bike-friendly.
"Our streets are a key part of our public infrastructure. They are not just for cars. They are for people. With more people choosing biking not only as a form of exercise but as a real transportation option, providing safe bikeways is a smart investment," he said.
After unveiling the route, Gloria strapped on a helmet and hopped on his bike. Joined by other city leaders and cyclists like Burgess, the group rode off on the route, sure to see some sights along the way.
To learn more about the San Diego Bike Loop, click here.