HILLCREST (NEWS 8) – Big changes are coming to University Avenue, in the heart of Hillcrest, after the City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to replace metered parking spaces with bike lanes.
The mile-long stretch of new bike lanes would be on University Avenue from 5th Avenue and Park Boulevard.
In the past, local businesses have been opposed to plans to add bike lanes that would take away coveted parking spaces in a neighborhood where parking is already at a premium.
In the latest move, though, businesses and biking advocates reached a compromise that promises to bring more people into Hillcrest – on both two wheels and four wheels.
North Park resident Jason Munguia rides his bike to work – through Hillcrest – nearly every day. He is pumped that University Avenue will soon have designated bike lanes in both directions.
“It will definitely make it a lot safer. I’ve almost gotten run over at least a couple of times,” he said.
Currently, bikers and drivers share the often congested traffic lanes.
Parallel parking spaces along nearby streets like 10th Avenue and Essex will be converted to angled parking spots – providing a net gain of 19 additional spaces throughout the neighborhood for drivers looking to park.
Maya Rosas of the non-profit group Circulate San Diego said the move will increase San Diegan’s access to the bustling neighborhood of shops, restaurants and bars.
“It’s going to make the streets safer. It’s going to make our environment greener and it’s good for businesses,” said Rosas.
In the past, thought, not all local businesses have supported plans for bike lanes at the expense of parking – this time is different.
Benjamin Nicholls of the Hillcrest Business Association said while it’s not ideal to lose parking along University Avenue, he still considers this is a win-win for business and for bikers.
“We want to give people options. This plan does that for sure. We are adding parking to Hillcrest. How often does that happen?”
While Hillcrest business owners are backing this plan for bike lanes along University Avenue – they remain opposed to another plan by SANDAG to create buffered bike lanes along Fourth and Fifth Avenues.
That plan, which is separate from the one backed by the city, would remove 36 parking spaces.
The addition of bike lanes to University Avenue and the added parking spots on nearby side streets are expected to be completed in the next few months.