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The San Diego Leaders Who Sacrificed People for Parking

University Avenue at Fourth Avenue in San Diego, where a driver ran over a mother and her 3-year-old daughter. San Diego leaders killed a community plan to improve street safety after NIMBYs complained about parking. Image: Google Maps
University Avenue at Fourth Avenue in San Diego, where a driver ran over a mother and her 3-year-old daughter. Local leaders killed a plan to improve street safety after NIMBYs complained about parking. Image: Google Maps
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Earlier this year a street safety plan for Hillcrest and other San Diego neighborhoods was derailed after NIMBYs complained about the loss of curbside parking.

The plan was prompted to prevent incidents like the 2012 crash when a driver hit a mother and her 3-year-old daughter in a Hillcrest crosswalk at an intersection with a history of crashes. Sam Ollinger of Bike San Diego says such collisions are common, and that those who worked to stop the Uptown Bike Project, and the officials who placated them, are directly responsible.

We find it unacceptable that any pedestrian or bicycle rider might be struck, injured, killed, or terrorized by fast-moving vehicle traffic in a thickly populated, business district such as Hillcrest. We likewise find it unacceptable that our City and SANDAG turn a blind eye to this crisis, often times blaming the victim. Human beings make mistakes, which is why the infrastructure needs to accommodate people -- actual human beings, powering themselves with their own energy -- that use our streets for pleasure, for transportation, for meeting friends, going to church or school or the grocery store. Further, it is unacceptable that our City and SANDAG prioritizes parking over people. We also find it unacceptable and extremely disappointing that the powers-that-be, such as Councilmember Todd Gloria and County Supervisor Ron Roberts --  despite vocal support for community transformation -- voted to maintain a street design status quo that has not worked for Hillcrest, and for reasons stated [that] fly in the face of evidence that businesses in the heart of the district already routinely close.

Ollinger lays out a seven-point plan to make streets safer in Hillcrest and San Diego at large. BikeSD's recommendations include reducing speed limits to 20 miles per hour and treating people who walk and bike as citizens, rather than “special interests.”

“We need to stop rationalizing for a system that treats the hospitalization of a 3-year old child as a cost of doing business and worth the trade-off for the storage of private vehicles in our public space,” says Ollinger. “To those that worked so effectively behind the scenes to thwart the SANDAG Uptown bike project: blood is, and will continue to be, on your hands.”

Elsewhere on the Network today: BikeWalkLee posts a column on how auto advertising promotes traffic violence; Seattle Transit Blog says King County Metro has apologized for addressing bus riders like suspects; and Washington Bikes points out that the U.S. has a low standard for "bike-friendliness."

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