The San Diego Association of Governments Friday marked the completion of the 4th and 5th Avenue bikeways in downtown San Diego and the communities of Bankers Hill and Hillcrest.
"Today marks a huge milestone for SANDAG's regional bikeway network," said SANDAG chair and Encinitas mayor Catherine Blakespear. "The opening of the 4th and 5th Avenue bikeways creates vital neighborhood connections, and comfortable and convenient commutes for people traveling through the heart of San Diego."
The project adds 4.5 miles of new separated, buffered bikeways and other facets intended to enhance visibility and safety for people biking, walking and driving between the neighborhoods.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
Elected leaders held a ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by a community bike ride led by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and Circulate San Diego. Dozens of participants rode the new bike lanes north on 5th Avenue from Bankers Hill to Hillcrest before heading south on 4th Avenue toward downtown.
The bikeways run between B and Washington streets. The project features high-visibility crosswalks, dedicated bike signals, accessible curb ramps, upgraded bus stops, landscaping and other measures intended to calm traffic.
"The 4th and 5th avenue bikeways project is a perfect example of what we can accomplish when we work together with a common goal of creating safe and efficient travel options for people to get where they need to go," said San Diego City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn, who represents the neighborhoods the bikeways traverse. "With the completion of this project, the city of San Diego and SANDAG have reaffirmed our commitment to Vision Zero today and for generations to come."
The bike paths are part of SANDAG's Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program, an initiative approved by the SANDAG Board of Directors in 2013 to build a regional network of high-quality streets and bikeways that "reimagines how we use space on our streets to make them safer and more comfortable for every person who uses them, regardless of age or physical ability," a statement from the transportation agency read.
Including the new 4.5 miles of bikeways opened Friday, more than 16 miles of bikeways in the early action program are complete and open to the public. SANDAG is scheduled to open an additional 6.5 miles and break ground on nearly 19 miles of bikeways in 2022.
"These are the roadway improvements we want to see," said San Diego County Bicycle Coalition executive director Andy Hanshaw. "The safety improvements on the 4th and 5th Avenue bikeways will provide a more enjoyable experience for anyone choosing to go by bike in San Diego and will help more people choose active transportation."
The $12.2 million bikeway project, which broke ground in summer 2020, was funded by TransNet, the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG.