At last, an easy way to get to Mission Valley

Safer for a bike than Fairmount Ave. or Texas St.

“It’s not that steep. Not as bad as the Texas gradient.”
  • “It’s not that steep. Not as bad as the Texas gradient.”

“The bikeway is almost done” said Miguel, as he walked out by the freeway exit.

Kensington entrance. The $15.6 million bikeway project started construction in March of 2016.

Kensington entrance. The $15.6 million bikeway project started construction in March of 2016.

On June 29, Miguel walked up the State Route 15 Commuter Bikeway (northbound) towards Adams Avenue.

“The pavement, walls and fences look good to go,” he said, “the only things that look unfinished are the landscaping and the lights.”

Three-foot fences were installed atop the walls to protect the cyclists from debris from adjacent freeway traffic.

Three-foot fences were installed atop the walls to protect the cyclists from debris from adjacent freeway traffic.

In his photos, some of the plants look as if they were recently planted and are separated into rows — there is still a lot of dirt. About an 1/8 to a 1/4 of a mile up the hill, there were orange street cones which were neatly stacked, a porta-potty, and a portable faucet with a paper towel dispenser. “It looks like they might be picking this stuff up soon,” he said.

The bikeway occasionally widens from 12 to 18 feet as it goes downhill for about a mile.

The bikeway occasionally widens from 12 to 18 feet as it goes downhill for about a mile.

The $15.6 million bikeway project started construction in March of 2016. It was slated to be finished by this summer.

The bikeway is a paved 12-foot (occasionally 18-foot) wide pathway that goes downhill for about a mile, and ends at Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley — where Miguel entered from.

 “The only things that look unfinished are the landscaping and the lights.”

“The only things that look unfinished are the landscaping and the lights.”

“It’s not that steep,” said Bev Barrett, “not as bad as the Texas gradient.”

Barrett is a retired educational administrator and a lifetime cyclist from Kensington. She was so excited about the nearly completed bikeway, she posted photos of the construction crew on her social media — and thanked them.

Bev posted photos of the construction crew on her social media.

Bev posted photos of the construction crew on her social media.

“I met my husband while riding my bike,” she said, “and since then, we bike all over the place. Camino Santiago in Spain, New Zealand — and here locally, to La Jolla (via Presidio Drive) on Sunday mornings.”

The bikeway ends at Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley.

The bikeway ends at Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley.

Prior to the building of this pathway, there were only two efficient ways to cycle to Mission Valley from mid-city San Diego; via Fairmount Avenue and Texas Street. “… but [automobile] traffic is pretty fast there,” Barrett said, “and from Fairmount, we have to take the Aldine [Drive] curve which is narrow and we have to share the road with the big buses too.”

Sandag video on bikeway

1:48 video on new SR-15 bikeway

1:48 video on new SR-15 bikeway

On May 17, SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) released a video update on the project which further confirmed that the “bikeway is scheduled for completion this summer.” According to their website, this is only the beginning of a $200 million Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program.

Barrett raved about the many lamps (embedded into the cement wall covered with stainless steel covers) for night-cycling, and Miguel applauded the additional three-foot fences atop the walls; to protect the cyclists from debris from adjacent freeway traffic.

One reservation about the bikeway is the noise coming from the freeway. Miguel advised to “bring some headphones or wear earmuffs in winter.”

Last October, some paleontologists from the San Diego Natural History Museum discovered a portion of a skull (braincase and parts of the inner ear) of a baleen whale within the sandstone of the bikeway construction site. It was estimated to be 3.5 million years old.

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Comments

While this bike lane may be a safe route, it sure is not the sort of place I'd want to have to ride a bike. The noise from the freeway would be deafening, and there's nothing scenic or relaxing about the experience.

It is a commuter lane for bikes. While many look at bicycles as solely recreational, there are those who have chosen to ride a bike as a way to save gas money and gain some health benefits in the process. Any options that create a safer way to get around town is a good thing. The noise is not bad. If you have ever tried Texas St on a bike, you will understand why this is a great alternative.

Yes, I'm sure it is far safer than the alternative routes, and I can just imagine what Texas Street is like for bicyclists. Commuters who bike to and from work have a tough row to hoe on the streets and highways in San Diego. So, while this is better, something else, and not at the edge of a freeway, would be far preferable. But where to put it, and how to pay for it would be most challenging.

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