The needs of our communities evolve over time, and our street design should, too. That’s the idea behind ‘rightsizing streets’ – reconfiguring the layout of our streets to better serve the people who use them. -- Project for Public Places
Kids and families at Hamilton Elementary will benefit from safe street improvements planned by the City.
With recent approval from the City Heights Area Planning Committee (CHAPC), the City of San Diego will soon “rightsize” Fairmount Avenue and create a safer environment for City Heights residents and especially kids and families at Hamilton Elementary School which fronts the corridor. The ‘traffic safety improvement’ project will paint new buffered bike lanes and crosswalks on a 1-mile stretch of Fairmount south of University Avenue, between Redwood Street and Home Avenue. The improvements are happening thanks to a road diet along the corridor which will remove one travel lane in each direction, and make room for turning pockets and a new bike lane with dual-sided painted buffers.
Roots in the Community
Before you think, “Hey, the community won’t like this” - think again.” In its presentation to the CHAPC, City staff referenced a 2009 Safe Routes to School project report detailing parents’ concerns about crossing Fairmount Avenue due to high speeds and wide crossing distances. The report was completed by WalkSanDiego (one of Circulate SD’s predecessor organizations) and the City Heights Community Development Corporation (CDC) after multiple workshops with parents at Hamilton Elementary. New high visibility crosswalks will be painted in front of the school along with curb extensions or pop-outs to help calm traffic speeds and make it safer for families to cross the street. The City is completing the project as part of a repaving effort along Fairmount.
Randy Van Vleck, Active Transportation Manager for the City Heights CDC, was at the CHAPC meeting to support the project. He says, “The buffered bike lanes, road diet, turning pockets, and pop-outs will make Fairmount Avenue a safer street for all people, especially youth who walk, skate, and bike to Hamilton Elementary School and Monroe Clark Middle School. We thank the City staff for moving forward with these recommendations which were based on community input and we thank the City Heights Area Planning Committee for their support.”
This is exactly the type of project the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition has been talking about, too, when it calls for the City to “Repave, repurpose”. Andy Hanshaw, Director of the Coalition stated, “It’s so rewarding to see the results of advocacy in action where community members come together with local government to create solutions to improve safety and improve mobility and access; in this case at Hamilton Middle School. Our thanks to all of the concerned parents and community advocates who made this “resurface, repurpose” project happen.”
According to staff, more of these ‘road diets’ will be rolling out in the future. This is a good thing for safety and we applaud the City’s efforts. It's one more necessary step towards #VisionZero.