Photo of the Week – 12/26
The City of San Diego recently installed two “Trail Crossing” signs in Balboa Park on Florida Drive near Zoo Place, one in each direction. These signs mark a crossing of a dirt trail that was previously unmarked. I had initially requested that crosswalks be installed as the crossing was not well indicated and Florida Drive is posted at 50 mph. The City said the speed limit was too high but they could install the signs. While it isn’t a perfect solution, it still helps increase safety in the park. Hopefully, the speed limit on Florida Drive will be lowered. It had previously been 45 mph until a few years ago.
San Diego will join a growing list of US cities that has a Bike Share program in October. The bikes will be available to anyone that has a membership in the program, for a fee. Most of the stations will be in the downtown area, with the remainder in the central city area, such as North Park, Hillcrest, and Old Town. The bike share program is planned to start on October 30, 2014. I look forward to seeing this adding to our growing bicycling community here in San Diego as well as helping tourists around in “America’s Finest City”.
While the buses aren’t running yet, most of the major changes to Park Blvd are complete. There are two new signals, one at Howard Ave and another at Lincoln Ave. At Howard Ave, left turns onto Park Blvd are now allowed.
At Polk Ave, things are a bit different. Polk Ave is now blocked at Park Blvd, with only a pedestrian signal in place. To get past Park Blvd, use Howard or Lincoln. Left turns from SB Park Blvd are also now allowed onto University Ave.
Sharrows have also been added to Park Blvd as a part of this project. They run from near Cypress St to El Cajon Blvd. These changes have made bicycling and walking around the area much easier. While it was at the loss of the historic aspects of the roadway, it is an overall positive change. Please be aware of these changes and adjust your trips accordingly.
Congratulations to the members of the San Diego Wine Country Association on another fine event held recently on the grounds of the Bernardo Winery. A dozen local wineries, including some without tasting rooms or local sales presence were on hand to pour one or two of their featured wines.
For a few vintners, this is their only means of getting the word out about their wines as well as giving long established wineries a chance to reach out to long time friends and customers all at the same time. Good to meet some new folks who are new to the San Diego wine scene.
It was also good to see grapes on the Bernardo Winery grounds. It is always amazing to see vines and grapes growing in the middle of a housing subdivision!
For more information on San Diego County Wineries, Click Here.
The intersection of Howard Avenue and Alabama Street is a fairly normal intersection. Until today, it was a two-way stop where Alabama St stopped for Howard Ave. This configuration hasn’t been all that successful. Since 2005, there have been four collisions, two of them with injuries. Visibility isn’t great and speeding is common. During peak times, particularly afternoons, traffic can back up on Alabama St due to Howard Ave being busier. To make matters worse, changes resulting from the busway on Park Blvd have added to the traffic on Howard Ave.
A few years ago, I petitioned the City of San Diego to install a stop sign at this intersection. I did so following the first collision and after having a few near collisions of my own. The City initially denied the stop, citing a lack of collisions. They did, however, add two red zones at the intersection on Howard Ave to help increase visibility. It helped for a while. People driving on Howard Ave would still honk at those pulling out from Alabama St that had a hard time seeing traffic coming. Two more collisions occurred before I decided to petition the City again a few months ago. Not long after I did this, yet another collision happened.
After I had sent the City the request, I had a phone conversation with the traffic engineer handling the request. I explained the situation, mentioned the collisions, and the pending traffic pattern changes caused by the construction on Park Blvd. They told me they would inspect the intersection and get back to me. In late June, they called me back. This time, the call was to tell me they had approved the stop sign. It seems that with the four collisions, it now qualified for the upgrade. The next day, I saw the traffic engineer marking locations for the limit lines and signs. I spoke with them, thanking them for the approval. In the process, I was also able to convince them to remove the two red zones since they would no longer be necessary. They did agree to remove them and marked the pavement accordingly.
Last Tuesday, July 15, a City crew came out to install signs informing the public that new stop signs would be added soon. Today, July 21, another crew came out to install the signs. I had the chance to speak with them and thank them for coming out. The crew that installed the signs was very friendly and worked quite efficiently. They added the signs, lines, and legends to the intersection as well as cleaned up one of the regulatory signs. It didn’t take long for people to start to stop at the intersection. Pedestrians can now cross the intersection easier, traffic on Alabama St can cross Howard Ave easier, two more parking spots have been added, and traffic is now slowed on Howard Ave.
It has always been my goal to help improve where I live. Those improvements can come in many ways. Getting potholes filled, signs replaced (or even added in this case), cleaning up trash, having graffiti removed, and even helping neighbors when possible are things that anyone can do. I strongly encourage everyone to help improve their neighborhood and make everyone’s lives better. Together, we can all make our cities a great place to live.
The City of San Diego has expanded the use of “sharrows” along Park Blvd to now include the section from I-5 to Market Street. This is helpful for cyclists climbing Park Blvd out of downtown San Diego, though still lacks “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs as used on 6th Avenue.
From June 30 to August 7, 2014, the Murphy Canyon Bike Trail will be closed due to a sewer project. This will block access from Friars Road to Aero Drive along Murphy Canyon Road/Trail. A detour is available, though lengthy and involving a very steep hill using Mission Village Drive, Ruffin Road, and Aero Drive to return to Murphy Canyon Road.
In the 1950’s, a section of what is now the 15 in San Diego was built. Known then as the Wabash Freeway, it ran from Harbor Blvd to 40th St in the City Heights area. Today, it is known as the 15 freeway and has been upgraded significantly. Access to the old freeway was a bit different than today. Nile Street in North Park used to have a direct connection with the freeway. Today, Nile Street ends in a park. A section of the old ramp still exists, however, as an access to the park.