A change to some of the roads in your neighborhood could be happening soon.
City planners and safety advocates are advocating a relatively new concept in street design. It’s called Road Diet.
“We’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of deaths and injuries on our streets from people walking and biking,” said Kathleen Ferrier of Circulate San Diego, a regional nonprofit advocacy group for better transportation. “With Road Diets, safety is increased hugely and the number of crashes are reduced between almost 20 and 50 percent,” she said.
In a Road Diet, a four lane road is typically reduced to a two lane road. The lanes taken away are replaced with dedicated bike lanes.
In San Diego, several streets have been transformed by Road Diets. On 5th Avenue in Bankers Hill, a reconfiguration starts at Elm Street and goes to Robinson Avenue entering Hillcrest.
A Road Diet is also found on 4th Avenue in the same general area. On those two streets, three lane roads have been reduced to two lanes, and a bike lane has been added.
Parking spaces have not been reduced. City planners say the reconfiguration of the streets also helps traffic because there’s less of it.
“Every community is looking at having a Road Diet to improve the liveability of their community, improving safety for all modes,” said Brian Genovese with the city's Transportation Department.
Genovese estimated that 20 percent of all roads in San Diego are candidates for Road Diet.
Richard Schultz, who works in Bankers Hill, cycles to work every day. He says the bike lanes appear to be a success, but after a couple of close run-ins with vehicles, added both drivers and cyclists need to be educated on the new rules of the road.
“Slow down, relax, enjoy the drive, enjoy the ride,” said Schultz.