Pershing Bikeway - Questions and Answers

The following questions were asked at the Construction Information Session held on January 25, 2021. Please send any additional or follow-up questions to [email protected].

What are bike lane buffers? How do they work?

A typical bike lane should be at least five feet wide, and when space permits, a white hatched pattern is painted (the painted area is called a buffer) on either or both sides of the bikeway to visually differentiate where the bikeway begins and create space and separation between people biking and people driving.  The width of buffer areas may vary depending on the street. Buffers are sometimes used between the vehicle travel lane and a bike lane, sometimes they are between the bike lane and parked vehicles (to protect people biking from the “door zone”), and sometimes they are on both sides of the bike lane. In addition to the southbound bike lane on Pershing Drive, between Upas Street and Florida Drive, buffers will be painted adjacent to the Utah Street bike lanes between Upas Street and Landis Street.

Will having fewer car lanes on Pershing Drive cause more congestion?

When planning a new bikeway, traffic studies and modeling are used to determine traffic projections and impact for many years into the future. Based on thoroughly conducted traffic studies, Pershing Drive is currently experiencing far less average daily traffic (ADT) than it was designed to handle and will continue to function well into the future with two traffic lanes, allowing the space to create the bikeway, sidewalk, natural surface path and landscaped median. Pershing Drive cuts through Balboa Park, where many people enjoy walking and biking, so this bikeway will allow those people to travel more comfortably while still giving motorized vehicles convenient access through the park.  The City of San Diego reconfigured Pershing Drive with an interim project that reduced travel lanes from four to two. This provides a preview of how Pershing Drive will still function well after the long-term project is completed.

What will happen to the northbound lane during the construction of the Pershing Bikeway?

During construction, only southbound car traffic will be accommodated on Pershing Drive. The northbound vehicle travel lane on Pershing Drive will be closed between Florida Drive / 26th Street and Upas Street / 28th Street. Northbound vehicle traffic will need to use alternate routes, and detours for northbound vehicle traffic will be in place at Florida Drive. The vehicle lane closure will create space for a temporary two-way bikeway that will be located along the west side of the road to provide a dedicated place for people biking and walking during construction. The goal throughout this project is to limit additional lane closures while still completing this project in a timely manner. This is a transformative project, and SANDAG is actively pursuing construction methods that will have a minimal impact on the community while still allowing the project to reach completion as soon as safely possible. Lane closures will always be announced ahead of time, and you can stay up to date and plan for these closures by subscribing to our monthly e-blast and following SANDAG on social media. 

How will the new roundabouts on Pershing Bikeway impact the flow of traffic and access to park amenities?

The roundabout featured at Pershing Drive and Redwood Street will calm and regulate traffic flow and is designed in conjunction with the bikeway and the new sidewalk adjacent to the Balboa Park Golf Course and a bike crossing to facilitate convenient bike and pedestrian crossings including two across Pershing Drive. There will also be a prominent tree featured in the center of this roundabout.

There also will be a smaller neighborhood traffic circle located at the intersection of 28th Street and Redwood Street that will work in conjunction with the larger roundabout on Pershing to allow for a smoother flow of traffic by eliminating the four-way stop that is currently at this intersection.

Both the roundabout and neighborhood traffic circle will be thoroughly marked to ensure the direction of travel and yielding responsibility is clear to drivers.

Should the public expect to see significant changes to the east bank of Pershing Drive?

This project will be constructed within the paved roadway and the project team does not expect alterations to the east bank. There are a few areas adjacent to the Balboa Park Golf Course with a steeper hill that will have retaining walls installed to ensure stability and prevent debris from falling into the bikeway.

What is the purpose of the portion of the bikeway on the west side of Pershing Drive?

The southbound bike lane on the west side of the road serves two purposes: it provides people riding downhill the opportunity to begin at any point on Pershing Drive, and it gives people intending to ride southbound on Pershing to B and 17th streets, a convenient place to ride.  The southbound bike lane on the west side of the road also provides a place for drivers to pull off the road in the event of an emergency, like a flat tire, while they wait for assistance. This area allows the two directions of traffic to continue to flow even if a vehicle needs to be stopped or drivers need to pull over for a fire truck, police car, or ambulance.

What signaling measures will be used at the crosswalks as part of the Pershing Bikeway project?

Most of the new crosswalks on Pershing Drive will feature pedestrian-activated flashing indicators paired with crossing warning signs (known as “rectangular-rapid flash beacons” or RRFBs) at marked crosswalks where there is no other traffic control, such as stop signs or traffic lights. The crosswalks at the intersection of Pershing Drive / Upas Street / 28th Street will remain as regular marked crosswalks (known as “continental crosswalks”).

What will the speed limit be on Pershing Drive?

The speed limit during construction will be 25 miles per hour. Once the bikeway is completed, the City of San Diego will set the speed limit.

Will the bikeway be open to mobility devices other than bicycles?

Yes, the bikeway will be open to all wheeled devices, including but not limited to electric bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller-skates, and inline skates.

Will there be sufficient lighting for cars and people using the bikeway?

In addition to the new people-scale lighting along the east side of the bikeway, the entire roadway and roundabout will be lit to recommended engineering standards.

What plants were chosen for Pershing Bikeway and how will they be maintained?

The landscaping for Pershing Bikeway was developed by professional landscape architects and the Balboa Park design team and Park horticulturists. Although not all of the plants are native to the San Diego region, they were chosen based on their suitability, hardiness, drought tolerance, and appearance to allow the entirety of the plant palette to enhance and contribute to the beauty of the surrounding park. The landscaped areas within the bikeway project limits in Balboa Park will include an irrigation system, developed according to irrigation specifications set by the City of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department, and this system will ensure the plantings are properly watered. View the Pershing Bikeway plant palette in English and en Español. For more information, please view the project landscaping FAQs in English and en Español.

Where can I view the construction schedule?

Numerous factors determine the construction schedule and it is subject to change. As construction crews begin work, they will have an updated understanding of the projected timeline and will work with the SANDAG GO by BIKE public outreach team to provide updates. Please subscribe to our monthly e-blasts to be alerted to updates on the project and timeline. A link to the eblasts is posted on our website under the “Notices” tab once they are sent.

Will you alert neighborhoods that may be impacted by road closures related to the project?

The SANDAG GO by BIKE team seeks to inform the public well in advance of road closures and provide suggested alternative routes. Before construction, the team mailed 16,300 mailers in South Park and Golden Hill to make the community aware of impending changes. Subscribing to email updates and following SANDAG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram remain the most efficient way to be alerted of closures and traffic impacts.

Who will address maintenance concerns or an obstruction in the bikeway?

SANDAG crews will maintain the work zone during construction. The bikeway will be maintained by the City of San Diego when construction is complete and the project is open to the public. Any maintenance concerns or obstructions of the bikeway can be brought to the City’s attention by submitting a “Get It Done” report.

How many cyclists were involved in the development of the Pershing Bikeway plan?

The development team for Pershing Bikeway included many people who bike and local bicycling advocacy groups in addition to the community feedback received and incorporated in the plan.

Was this project voted on via a ballot measure?

Pershing Bikeway was not a ballot item; however, during project development the Pershing Bikeway conceptual designs were brought to the Balboa Park Committee, the Parks and Recreation Board, the North Park Planning Committee, the Greater Golden Hill Planning Group, and the (now disbanded) Golden Hill Recreation Council. Each of these groups voted on the item before the project was approved by SANDAG after a publicly noticed hearing for the environmental document.

The Pershing Bikeway project is part of SANDAG’s Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program (EAP), which is funded by the TransNet program. TransNet is the regional half-cent sales tax for transportation administered by SANDAG that was approved by San Diego County residents. The bikeway projects currently receive two percent of annual TransNet revenues through the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Neighborhood Safety Program. The full text of the TransNet Extension & Ordinance is available online.

Why can’t I access a new bikeway even though it looks completed?

When a new bikeway is reaching completion, it often requires some crucial work that is not always visibly apparent before it can officially be opened to the public. For example, pavement striping and signs need to be installed and inspected, and the signals that allow people who walk and bike to cross the street within a bikeway may need to be timed and adjusted for appropriate flows of traffic.

SANDAG aims to open each bikeway as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience during construction and assure you that each bikeway will open upon completion of construction. Please follow SANDAG on social media to remain up to date with your favorite bikeway projects.

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