Thursday, August 23, 2012

Funding for LID elements through Prop 84

Exciting news: we started the process to apply for grant funding for all the Low Impact Development elements on Walk The Wash via Prop 84.  Below is our 1-page concept document.  LID is the wave of the future and is certain to become the norm.

Prop 84-Round 2 Implementation Grant Opportunity
Project Concept Form
Please complete form and return to Rosalyn Prickett 
by Friday August 24, 2012.
This Project Concept Form allows you to describe the general concept for your water management project, including any potential integration opportunities. We will compile the project concepts and discuss their merits at the Strategic Integration Workshop on September 12th.
1.      Project Title
LID technologies added to SANDAG Master Bicycle Plan on Washington Street in Mission Hills
2.      Project Sponsor
Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter
Contact Name
Belinda Smith (Secretary, Mission Hills Town Council; Co-Chair Know Your H2O, Surfrider Foundation.)
Belinda @ surfridersd org
3.      Project Description
(100 words or less)
Washington Street will receive improvements in the form of bicycle and pedestrian facilities as prioritized in the SANDAG Regional Bike Plan.  KOA Corporation will begin the design and preliminary engineering in September 2012 through a contract with SANDAG. The project needs LID technologies to infiltrate and manage storm water runoff via bioswales or contouring, curb cuts, native vegetation to restore habitat and improve the storm water quality, and permeable paving where appropriate.  All of these elements will improve
the quality of surface water flowing into the canyon and reduce the volume of runoff discharging into the canyon, storm drains, and surrounding bays and beaches.

4.      Project Timeline
(check one)
Begin Construction/Implementation 2014-2015

Begin Construction/Implementation 2016 or later
5.      Project Location
Washington Street from the Trolley Stop to 3rd Ave in Hillcrest.  (City of SD)
6.      Need for Project
(100 words or less)
Washington Street runs the length of a major canyon artery from the airport up to Hillcrest.  During winter storms the street transports an enormous amount of storm water runoff resulting in flooding, debris and pollution in the canyon/watershed, habitat degradation, and community access.  This project proposes to restore those elements in a holistic way.  Currently there is no way to manage the enormous amount of runoff from the slopes of the canyon 
bringing sediment into the storm drains, destroying habitat, and adding polluted stormwater to the creeks, bays and ocean. Decreased runoff will restore the canyon watershed area creating improved hydrologic conditions.
7.      Project Type
(check all that apply; however, be judicious)

Water Supply (including Conservation)

Water Quality / Stormwater
Natural Resources and Watersheds
Flood Control

8.      Integration Opportunities*
(100 words or less)
Integration partners: SANDAG Regional Bike Plan, Surfrider Foundation, Five Points CDC, and Mission Hills Town Council. Other partners could include Uptown Planners, and City planning groups which address habitat restoration, community open space access, storm water LID projects and recreational programs in the areas adjacent to the proposed project.
It can also be counted as another regional demonstration project that uses LID technologies which Surfrider can use to teach urban planners, landscape architects, urban gardeners, etc., who need example sites throughout the county.
Further beneficial uses include more park-like settings adjacent to the road and enhanced connection of the top and bottom of Mission Hills resulting in better community feeling and contributing to implementation of the multi- modal, conservation and recreation policies embodied in the City of San Diego's General Plan.
* Developing integrated project solutions ensures a greater level of benefits for the region and makes your project more viable within the IRWM grant program. Integration includes:
          Partnerships – Establishing partnerships with other organizations can be cost effective by sharing data, resources, and infrastructure
          Resource Management – Employing multiple resource management strategies within a single project can effectively address a variety of issues
          Beneficial Uses – Project solutions can be implemented to support several different beneficial uses
          Geographic – Implementing watershed- or regional-scale projects can benefit from economies of scale
         Hydrologic – Addressing multiple watershed functions within the hydrologic cycle can resolve conflicts between beneficial uses

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

3 feet needed when passing cyclists?

There's pending legislation before our California Senators which proposes a 3' space between cars and cyclists.

"State Assembly is expected to vote Friday on a bill that would require all drivers to give bicyclists at least 3 feet of space when they pass them.
The bill, SB 1464 ,would also require drivers to slow to a “reasonable and prudent” passing speed when the distance is not possible. It also permits drivers to, when safe, move into the oncoming traffic lane to provide the required space. Anyone who violates the proposed law would get hit with a $35 fine; and if a cyclist is injured due to a violation, the fine goes up to $220.
Read more from Marlene Medford's patch article.  
Three feet seems reasonable.  Isn't that what most prudent drivers would allow anyway?  

9/7 Update: SB 1464 passed and now we need to urge Governor Brown to sign it into law.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Three Hour Tour

We had a great tour of Walk the Wash with Beth from SANDAG, Seth from KOA, Jasper, Sharon, and myself who are all on the Mission Hills Town Council.

KOA is the firm hired by SANDAG to do the implementation.  Seth is a local resident (Normal Heights) and knows the arteries of Mission Hills well.  He lived in Hillcrest 10 years too.  He's done work in Little Italy, and his firm is doing very cutting edge things in Long Beach currently.

We all met at Gelato Vero at 9 a.m.

Ideas from our discussion and brainstorming during the tour:

- the gateway to our Mission Hills community is very car-centric, and finding a balance of more parking, less freeway feeling, more access for pedestrians and cyclists is our challenge.

- the connector between Washington and Old Town is one way.  It would be a major victory to have 2-way auto traffic on San Diego Ave.  Because this is a bike project though, what if we at least had a 2-way bike path to Washington? Anyone who lives in Old Town or N Mission Hills who wants to go downtown, or to the India St. North area, rides down Pringle to SD Ave.  Then they cut through SD Ave illegally.  The legal route would take a rider 1 mile out of their way, and includes several hills, and across some major freeway off and on-ramps. Shouldn't bikers be able to get from North Mission Hills to the 5 Points Area in the most intuitive, convenient manner?

While we were standing there, evaluating the options, we encountered this man, riding his bike the wrong direction on the one-way portion, and then he rode on the curb when he ran into traffic.

Seth watches a cyclist ride the wrong way down a one-way street.

- Washington Street from the 5 off ramps continues it's freeway like feel.  Cars have to wait at long lights at the 5 Points intersection, so when it's their turn to go, they are eager to get up the hill.  Accelerating both up and down it beyond normal speeds is pretty typical.  I know because I've done it myself!  But when you're walking or biking we need the opposite to happen.  What if Washington was 1 lane either way?  That would allow for bike lanes, and more parking for the 5 Points businesses, which are a destination point for many.  What if the lights at India and Washington were not lights but round-abouts?  That could keep traffic moving too.  The lights are so long at Washington that if I'm ever leaving a parking spot outside Saffron, I have to wait for the light to change because of the back-up of traffic.  An island would keep that traffic moving, and facilitate better parking flow.

- the University exit serves very little purpose because it exits right into a very residential area.  What if we made that exit and on-ramp open only to bikes and pedestrians with a pocket park at the top?  What if cars coming up to Mission Hills and Hillcrest stayed on Washington all the way to Goldfinch?   They could access the uptown business district more easily, and the residences would have less traffic, and less noise.  The top of the street would be turned into a cul-de-sac.  It has great views down the canyon and into the harbor.  It is a natural place for a park, and if it had things like a water fountain and a bench, it would be a beautiful place to start a work-out, or take a walk.

Let's close this area off to cars. It's a residential area.  Let's make a small park, and start our  bike and pedestrian paths here.

- the Washington Street Trolly stop is orphaned by the freeway, and the traffic intersections.  Could we integrate it better?  Would people use it more if they could access it better?  The old Mission Brewery buildings are beautiful, but cut off from the community.  So is the skate park.  Would art along the underpass, and better sidwalks and medians provide more continuity? 

The folks at Gelato Vero had input too:
- can we please have a left-turn from Washington to India on a green arrow only?
- can we please have no right on red from India to Washington?
They witness really bad accidents on a regular basis.  A roundabout traffic island could mitigate those.  And it would provide a major landmark for a welcoming experience to the gateway of Mission Hills.

All of these points are just ideas.  All of them are from voices of the community.  If you have ideas, you should let us know by contacting us.

Thanks to Beth and Seth for both working on the weekend!  We appreciate it!