Circulate San Diego, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and Climate Action Campaign sent a joint letter with recommendations for reform for SANDAG's bicycle safety projects. SANDAG has a strong record of leadership among regional planning agencies for funding bicycle projects. Safe bicycle infrastructure is crucial to achieving climate and mode-share goals, and to save lives. Unfortunately, the process of taking projects from planning through approval and construction has been unacceptably slow and expensive.
The letter makes two recommendations to solve this problem. First, the SANDAG Board of Directors should direct staff to adopt reasonable time frames for soliciting community input. Community engagement and should still be a part of any design and approval, but it should not be an indefinite process with unlimited opportunities for delay. Staff should be directed to identify at the outset of a reasonable timeline–usually no more than six months–and to stick to that timeline.
Second, the SANDAG Board of Directors should direct staff to design future projects in a cost-efficient manner. The approach by SANDAG for their active transportation projects has been to bolster them with expensive amenities in the hope of securing support from skeptics. Many of these amenities are actually benefits for cars, like parking spaces and meters. Instead of taking this approach, SANDAG should prioritize safety and speed of implementation. If money for bike lanes were spent more efficiently, then more safe bike lanes could be build throughout the region.