SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - The City of San Diego is pausing its expansion of a new street layout after confusion and frustration in Mira Mesa.
The first advisory bike lanes were installed on Gold Coast Drive in Mira Mesa and feature one single lane for cars in the middle of the street and two bike lanes on the edge.
“The idea is the vehicle would drive down the middle of the lane and if an oncoming vehicle is coming toward you, you would veer to the right into the bike lane,” said City Councilman Chris Cate, who represents that region.
Cate said he was never made aware of this new design, nor were the residents in that area, creating confusion once the street was painted.
“We’ve never seen this type of striping before ever and didn’t know how it worked, what was supposed to be done. The residents in this community were very upset because there was no signage. They had no idea what was happening and what they were supposed to do,” said Cate.
He said the city’s transportation department failed to inform the community of the change and educate on how the new type of street works, which city leaders own up to.
“We acknowledge that there should've been a primer, some education, some outreach. Again that falls squarely on us and we're here to apologize profusely for that misstep,” said Jorge Riveros from the transportation department.
One Mira Mesa resident said he fears for the safety of drivers and bikers if people get confused while driving down the single-lane road without education.
“I didn’t know they were going to do it. If they’d put out and showed what this was going to be like, id have said what? What are they thinking about?,” said Sanford Goff.
In Point Loma, a second street has already had preliminary paint drawn for the same design on Evergreen Street, but the city is now pausing that project after backlash from the community in Mira Mesa.
A city spokesperson said they’re pausing all expansion projects while they discuss how to proceed. This week, leaders are meeting to make a game plan, then a long-term plan is expected to be announced in the next couple of days.
One biker in Point Loma agrees that education and outreach should have been done prior to installation, but welcomes the general idea of the single-lane road.
He said many Point Loma residents drive down Evergreen as a shortcut because of the small number of stop signs, which can lead to some people speeding and creating a dangerous situation. This new plan, he says, could force people to slow down a bit.
“If we’ve now changed the road design with just paint lines that suggest driving behaviors should be different. That could cause people to pause and slow down, and I think that could be a good thing,” said biker Matt Schalles.
Schalles said he’s heard of this type of street because he’s a member of the Peninsula Community Planning Board and sits on the Transportation and Traffic subcommittee, and the data he’s seen shows that these streets can be successful if implemented properly.
That city spokesperson said their team thinks the new design is a good option but knows that more needs to be done with education and engagement moving forward. They’re expected to announce an update on how the two different projects will proceed in the next week.