SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Bicyclists will soon have a safer way to get around San Diego as work began Monday on the Pershing Bikeway project, which runs through Balboa Park and connects downtown to North Park.
This comes around the same time the family of a bicyclist who died on the same road is filing a claim alleging it was a wrongful death.
On Jan. 19, the family of 57-year-old Laura Shinn, a local architect, filed a wrongful death claim. In July 2021, Shinn was riding her bicycle on Pershing Driver when she was killed by a driver who allegedly swerved into the bike lane.
On Monday, progress on the project can be seen while walking along Pershing Drive. As construction continues, all traffic for walkers and bikers along the road will be closed until Valentine's Day.
The city hopes that the Pershing Bikeway, a 2.3-mile permanent lane, will ensure the safety of those like Shinn, who commute on that road each day.
"That is going to be a much better situation for people to connect between North Park and Downtown," SANDAG Director of Engineering and Construction Sharon Humphreys said.
According to SANDAG, Monday, concrete barriers were placed along the road, bike and pedestrian traffic were closed. Construction workers painted markings where bikers will soon be separated from traffic.
Something riders like Carlos Flores appreciate.
"I think it's well marked, and I appreciate the fact that cars can see it well. And that the bicycles have a free lane to ride in for safety," Flores said.
Shinn's death is just one of many on Pershing. In September, a 34-year-old man named John was hit by a car while riding his scooter.
SANDAG hopes that by creating a median for the 2-way bicycle path, deadly accidents can be avoided.
"What we are really working towards and very committed to achieving is bicycle paths that are separated from cars," shares Humphreys. "There's some kind of barrier between them so that everyone can get to their destination safely."
Anyone planning to drive on Pershing Drive, be aware of the various detour signs placed throughout. Next week, the northbound lanes for cars will close, and the biking/pedestrian lane will reopen.
As for the claims, ABC 10News did reach out to the city of San Diego but has not heard back. It is up to the city to either approve or deny the claim.