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 – 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 – Second best route from Downtown to Hillcrest. One-way northbound from Downtown to Hillcrest. New bike lanes on the left side of 5th Ave from Grape St to Laurel 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 – Third best route from Hillcrest to Downtown. One-way southbound from Elm St south. Route has sharrows and “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signage. 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.