Taking the High Road on the Bike Corridor Proposal

| April 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

Those of you who read the March issue of the Presidio Sentinel, may recall my article on street closures and redirecting traffic in Hillcrest, Bankers Hill and Mission Hills. Since that issue came out, I have been attending numerous meetings and receiving an enormous amount of phone calls and emails on this important subject. That’s because you care. And that’s good. Because whatever the outcome, this will have a major impact on these three communities.

I’ve seen an amazing amount of energy and effort from a group known as the “Keep University Avenue Open” initiative. I am a member of this initiative which is comprised of Mission Hills’ residents and business owners. I am very proud of the positive energy and the proactive way this group has handled itself…and with incredible results.

Since the March issue of the Presidio Sentinel, the “Keep University Avenue Open” initiative has secured upward of 700 signatures from residents and business owners opposed to the current bike corridor proposal. And, they have encouraged others to do the same, to get out and bring attention to traffic altering plans that have had very little community input. Thanks to this group, awareness has grown substantially and changes may be forthcoming.

This past month, upward of 250 of you attended an Uptown Planners Meeting hoping to hear from SANDAG personnel on the bike corridor proposal. Unfortunately, due to a business trip out of state, I was unable to attend the meeting. However, I heard plenty about what occurred, and what didn’t occur.

SANDAG’s representative, whose name I will not divulge, was unable to provide any accurate explanation of the traffic altering plans. Instead, Elizabeth Hannon, chief operating officer for the Uptown Community Parking District took the stage to explain what was being proposed.

Without going in to the particulars, because we’re not sure where things stand at this time, we do know that because of all of the community outreach, the Uptown Planners board voted against the bike corridor proposal. 10-0:
Motion 1: The current SANDAG proposal is unsatisfactory and unacceptable as presented.
Motion 2: SANDAG should reopen the planning process to enhance biking infrastructure for safer streets and request outreach and engagement with the residents, business and other stakeholders.
Motion 3: The Uptown Planners are opposed to any closures along University Avenue, SANDAG should look at alternatives and must have mitigation for any loss of parking. SANDAG should study the 4th Avenue traffic circle.
Motion 4: SANDAG should provide the Pros and Cons of realigning the bike route along Reynard Way.

After the meeting the SANDAG consultant was asked if they would take action on this vote before the next meeting scheduled for April and he only committed to reporting back. And, we recently learned that the SANDAG meeting planned for Thursday, April 23 at Francis Parker School in Mission Hills may be “pushed back,” due to the outcome of the March Uptown Planners meeting (with the above noted results).

As was stated by Janet O’Dea, who is a resident and business owner in Mission Hills and a member of the “Keep University Avenue Open” initiative, “It was clear that this is not a plan that is acceptable in its current form because of the impacts to the community…it needs significant improvements. It was positioned as a false dichotomy of one vs another. When in fact, it is a poorly executed plan that needs to be improved. We hope that by the outreach process we will find better alternatives that will be more balanced among the needs of the entire community, and can reach wider acceptance.”

For those of you who have gotten involved, we thank you. Your willingness and effort to be a voice for the community is incredibly important. And, I again thank the individuals who have committed considerable, time and resources to spread the word, speak to neighbors (residents and business owners) and have helped to bring significant attention to SANDAG’s bike corridor proposal:

Janet O’Dea of Powers Plumbing (Mission Hills resident and business owner), Kimberly Edwards and Carol Wilson (South Mission Hills residents), Uptown Planners board members: Bob Daniel (Mission Hills resident) and Jennifer Pesqueira (Mission Hills business owner).

These individuals have taken “the high road” on this very controversial topic and have acted professionally, respectfully and intelligently for the good of the community.

To learn more and offer your comments, visit www.presidiosentinel.com.

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