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Encinitas’s new bike lane plan may be problematic

New bike racks at SDA above the new Arts and Humanities building.

New bike racks at SDA above the new Arts and Humanities building.

Photo by Genevieve Stenger

New bike racks at SDA above the new Arts and Humanities building.

Photo by Genevieve Stenger

Photo by Genevieve Stenger

New bike racks at SDA above the new Arts and Humanities building.

Encinitas’s new bike lane plan may be problematic

October 10, 2019

The City of Encinitas has lots of reasons to promote biking. Traffic would decrease if there were more people ditching their cars for bikes, it contributes to a healthy, active lifestyle, and it helps the city reach its environmental goals. They hope to do this by creating safer bike lanes along the Coast Highway 101. 

The $500,000 project would entail moving the bike lanes so that they would be separated from traffic by parked cars and asphalt wheel stops to prevent cars from entering the bike lane. Mayor of Encinitas, Katherine Blakespear, believes “It’s abundantly clear to many of us who are recreational cyclists that we’d like to feel safe riding kids to school, the beach, dinner, or work.” She thinks that the new plan would promote would-be cyclists to ditch their cars, reducing traffic and CO2 emissions. 

The plan is receiving backlash from experienced cyclists for limiting the amount of space that would be available. They say that the restricting space would make biking less safe, not allowing room for passing bikes. 

I think that a plan that should be explored is having two lanes for biking next to each other, allowing bikes to safely pass each other. However, this would cut into the road and the sidewalk. The City of Mammoth has its bike lanes set up like this, and cyclists can safely pass each other. The bike lane is only on one side of the road, and it has two lanes and a painted line down the middle. If Encinitas were to do this, we would have to either get rid of the sidewalk on one side of the road, or move it farther over. This plan may not be possible for Encinitas, but the idea should be explored.

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