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'I’m biking everywhere' | How much are cyclists using new bike lanes in North Park?

CBS 8 visited North Park to get a firsthand look at ridership in the area.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — When the City of San Diego expanded separated bike lanes throughout North Park last summer, it drew opposition from people who didn’t want to sacrifice street parking for new bike lanes. 

Now, that some time has passed since their installation, many people want to know how much the new lanes are being used. 

CBS 8 visited North Park to get a firsthand look at ridership in the area.

“I honestly never use my car now because I’m biking everywhere and working from home, so it’s great. I love it,” said Aixa Willoughby. 

She lives in Normal Heights and has been enjoying the new bike lanes along 30th Street. 

“It’s really easy to get around the neighborhood with it. I’m not having to stress out about getting too close to the cars and things like that.”

Jenny Evans is another avid cyclist who uses the new lanes frequently.

“Every day, at least a couple times a day. I bike everywhere,” said Evans, as she laughed.

To get a handle on just how many riders are using the lanes, the City installed a counting device nearly two weeks ago on the corner of 30th Street and University Avenue. 

The goal is to track ridership trends and observe changes from year-to-year.

“This location was very prominent, right in the heart of North Park,” said Everett Hauser, program manager with the Transportation Department for the City of San Diego. “It’s a very busy area, so that way people will see these trips being used.”

Sensors in the ground, both on the northbound and southbound lanes, count passing bikes and scooters with a running total displayed on a nearby kiosk.

“On the top, you’ve got cyclists today and the lower number is cyclists for the year,” said Hauser. “It’s a visual for people to see how many people are going by.”

When CBS 8 checked the kiosk on Wednesday around 10 a.m., 51 riders had passed by the counter that morning. 

Three hours later, the total was up to 111 riders. And by the end of the day, a total of 238 cyclists and scooters had passed by the location.

Looking at data over a 12-day period between January 22 and February 2, a total of 3,387 people rode by. That’s an average of 282 bike and scooter riders each day for that period.

“I watch it all day long. I don’t see any bikes at all. Maybe one or two on occasion,” said Heidi Janda, who owns Pro-Mec Optical on 30th Street. 

She believes parking spaces are more valuable than bike lanes. 

“I think it’s kind of ruined us business owners. There’s no place for the customers to park.”

While the City tries to capture how much ridership is happening on the new bike lanes, people who use them appreciate having a safe way to get around.

“I know there’s some stressors,” said Willoughby. “Parking is kind of a big deal in the area, but the more people using bikes, the less parking we’ll need in the first place… So I’d say try to get a bike.”

“If we’re gonna be forward-thinking for San Diego transportation,” said cyclist Ian Young. “Then we have to include bicycle transportation as a big part of it, and rely less on single-person, single-car transportation.”

For updated ridership counts on the North Park location at University Avenue & 30th Street, CLICK HERE.  

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