The City of San Diego is moving forward and swapping bike lanes for much of the parking on a 2.4 mile stretch of 30th Street in North Park. NBC 7 has been covering the debate between cyclists and businesses in the area.
Typically, 30th street is bright and lively, even at night, filled with people and cars. Now, the city is making room for more bicyclists.
Just steps away, artist Amanda Bernal takes those vibrant colors from the streets to the walls of her studio and bookstore, Burn All Books. She fully supports the planned bike lane project that will remove 449 of the 552 parking spots on the popular stretch of 30th Street, from Adams Avenue to Juniper Street.
“We have a responsibility as business owners to encourage people to visit us, but also to do things to lower our carbon footprint and help our community in the long run,” said Bernal.
Parking is already tough, and many businesses and residents are against the plan, citing less parking serves a deterrent to shoppers and customers.
After several different plans were discussed and proposed, the city made another design called Option A+ and unveiled it at a December Mobility Board meeting.
The design will remove 164 parking spots from Juniper Street to Upas Street, 285 parking spots from Upas Street to Adams Avenue, and will leave 103 parking spots along that stretch, according to a spokeswoman with the mayor’s office, Christina Chadwick.
Laurie Wentzel, a resident of 18 years, told NBC 7 that Option A+ is not enough. She walks to the North Park area, but many times has had to change plans when friends cannot find parking.
“We’ve looped around and looped around and simply went home because you cannot find parking on 30th Street,” said Wentzel. “This place finally starting getting built up. It’s looking better. People are coming. It’s becoming a vibrant area, and now they want to crush it, and I don’t think that’s a great way to go.”
Supporters, along with the city, said a solution to the parking issue includes the more than 300 parking spots in the parking structure located at North Parkway and 30th Street. The city included in a presentation discussed at a December meeting, data that demonstrates the structure is only half full at it’s busiest of times.
“We just have to get over the idea that there’s not going to be parking because there is. A lot is sitting empty,” said Bernal.
Wentzel said people prefer to find parking on the street instead of paying for it.
Chadwick, with the mayor’s office, confirms the city is considering some kind of agreement or program that will validate the structure to encourage people to come to North Park.
Overall, Bernal hopes this project inspires more people to be conscious about how they commute.
“Maybe they’ll take their bike instead. Maybe they’ll take a scooter, or be dropped off by an Uber,” said Bernal. “I think it’s going to make this community safer, think people are going to enjoy it more. I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
A major concern for businesses is the reduction of accessible parking spots.
Chadwick told NBC 7 that, as part of the plan, if one is removed, then the city will work to relocate it to the closest intersection. NBC 7 requested documents or proposal material that described the exact placement of parking spots and was told the details were being worked out by the city.
“The project will, without question, be consistent with all legally-required and applicable laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Chadwick, when asked to confirm the information cited in other media outlets. “Safe and accessible infrastructure for all residents, including those with disabilities, is a priority for the City.”
“In addition to those spaces, the city recently converted some on-street parking from parallel to angled spots, adding 21 handicapped-accessible parking spaces on streets near 30th Street. Six of those spaces are on streets that intersect with 30th Street, and 15 are elsewhere in the neighborhood.”
The project is expected to start after the pipeline replacement project is completed in July.