San Diego Bicycling – Hillcrest and Bankers Hill

Getting from Downtown to Hillcrest can be a challenge. No matter what route you take, it is a steep climb. There are a few options that are easier to handle however.

  • 1st Ave – One-way northbound from downtown to Grape Street. Medium traffic with some buses. This is a continuous route from Downtown to Hillcrest. I-5 crossing has a left ramp at the north end of the bridge and a right ramp at the south end. Not recommended at I-5.
  • 2nd Ave – Not recommended, particularly south of I-5.
  • 3rd Ave – Best Route from Downtown. One-way north from Downtown to Fir St. Light traffic. I-5 crossing has no ramps. Ends at Olive St but has a good connection via 1st Ave and Nutmeg St to the north end of 3rd Ave.
4th Ave at Hawthorn St
4th Ave at Hawthorn St
  • 4th Ave – Best route from Hillcrest to Downtown. One-way southbound from Hillcrest to Downtown. Light traffic. No ramps a I-5. New bike lane from Laurel St to Date St on the left side of the roadway.
5th Ave at Elm St
5th Ave at Elm St
  • 5th Ave – Second best route from Downtown to Hillcrest. One-way northbound from Downtown to Hillcrest. Bike lanes on the left side of 5th Ave from Grape St to Robinson St. Right ramp on the south side of the I-5 bridge. Medium to heavy traffic with buses. During peak afternoon traffic, I recommend riding on the left side of the roadway south of I-5.
6th Ave at Quince St
6th Ave at Quince St
  • 6th Ave – Third best route from Hillcrest to Downtown. One-way southbound from Elm St south into downtown.. Route has sharrows from Laurel St to University Ave. Bike lanes run from Elm St to Laurel St. Use caution near Balboa Park as there is on-street parking.
  • Reynard Way – Good route with light traffic from Little Italy to Hillcrest / Mission Hills. Use Curlew St to connect with Robinson Ave and Hillcrest.

My favorite route is via 3rd Ave. I can climb the hill with little traffic and with no problems at I-5. 4th Ave is my favored route into downtown.

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