A group of North Park neighbors who live primarily on Redwood, 28th, and Utah Streets, got together to try and figure out if we could make Redwood street safer for children and families along the path from McKinley Elementary School to Bird Park. Working together to make a change in the physical environment is a hard thing to do with lots of moving parts. Below you will find a brief summary of what this pilot project is all about. Then, in a few days, there will be another post with much more detail for those who want more specifics.
The goal at this point is to set up a temporary (6-9 months) pilot project to see how the people who live on or near Redwood and use it regularly feel about the change. There are many, many steps before anything could even happen, so we just wanted to set up a page to make it easy to get real information.
What is it?
Well, the “it” isn’t all the way fleshed out because there are many more people – starting with those who live along Redwood – whose opinions matter. We did go door to door on this, but understand there is much more work to do. The idea is a pilot, or temporary, project to make Redwood safer by slowing it down a little and adding a separated, buffered bike lane, sometimes known as a cycle track, between Boundary and 28th Street to make it safer and easier for kids and families to use. Here’s a photo example
Where is it?
The idea is to connect some current and planned safety improvements and make it easier to get around without a car. This pilot would make it safer for people on bikes and in cars by giving them each a clear place to be. The location would be on Redwood from Boundary Street to 28th Street.
Who is involved?
So far, the people who have gotten involved are a mixture of parents of McKinley students, other parents with young children, three people who live at various places along Redwood, and a few people who live on 28th, Utah Street, in Burlingame, and even a couple people who don’t live nearby but just like spending time in the area. We recognize that everyone has busy schedules and this is about making it easy for diverse neighbors to help out as their time allows. If you want to become an organizer or just be more involved please reach out!
What if I don’t like the idea?
Honestly, we hope to change your mind, but understand that some won’t like it. We believe strongly in being open and transparent, so will always be sure to share both the replies of those who oppose the idea and those who don’t. We don’t want to spring this on people, we want to give something different a try on a temporary basis and if it ultimately doesn’t work out, we’ll honor that, too.
What if I do like the idea?
Great! Especially if you live on Redwood or are immediately adjacent. We would love for you to become one of the organizers. We want to empower as many voices as possible. We are biased in the sense that we want the pilot project to work. But we want it to work in the right way and to be good for the highest number of people possible. For ease, email either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we’ll make sure you are included to join in on the planning and leading of the effort.
Steps Taken as of 11/7/15
After all the initial interest we decided to see if there was a large enough group of neighbors with some interest so one of us (me, the one writing this) posted the message above and invited people to my home for an initial conversation. We started with 15 people, about 10 of whom were able to make it. Any effort requires some leadership and legwork to provide structure, so I have done some of that. But this truly is and will continue to be a collaborative effort. One of the organizers is a parent of two young children and she helped another organizer create the PDF document below. Another organizer, also a parent, happens to be a researcher at UCSD and has been adding both strategic thinking and GIS expertise to the process. There are also three organizers who live on Redwood. That’s a bit about the group.
So far, we’ve done the following:
- Had an initial group meeting to discuss what the various options for making that route safer could be and settling on a basic idea to share with our neighbors
- Spoken at the McKinley PTC, the North Park Community Association, and attempted to get on the agenda of the North Park Planning Committee sub-committee that considers these issues (that group is very busy and could not get us a time slot this time around)
- Reached out to Altadena Neighborhood Association to inquire about its meeting time to come and talk to the Board.
- Researched other communities who have implemented these types of safety improvements.
- Spoken with several of the City of San Diego’s Traffic Engineers to understand their process, including the Engineer who runs the City’s efforts around bikes.
- Spoken with Mayor Faulconer’s office about the initial planning phases
In addition, the most important step we’ve taken thus far is:
- Several of us went door-to-door to the 175 houses between 28th Street and Boundary (pictured in the maps above – and including the adjacent streets, not just Redwood) to ask the people who live in the immediate area what they think and get feedback, potential support, and even record opposition so that we can always present what we are working on fairly
Over the next two weeks we’ll be trying to connect with more of the neighbors in the area and share the idea. We’ll continue to try to build support and to record all views that come in. We plan to get back on the agenda of the McKinley PTC, to try again to get on the agenda of the North Park Planning Committee, and to go to the Altadena Neighborhood Association to share what we’ve been up to. And as I mentioned earlier, anyone can contact me or anyone else involved for information. And of course, we’ll continue to encourage our neighbors on Redwood to join us in supporting and participating in the process. From time to time, I will also post on Nextdoor to share with a broader audience. Sometimes social media can turn into a shouting match rather than a tool for communicating with one another, but most members seem to enjoy it as intended – to share information about ideas and issues of importance (or, ya know, to find a good contractor).
Ideally, we will have gathered enough information from the immediate neighbors to know if we should move to a next step or step aside within a month and can then move forward with the formal part of the process. So far, almost three to one have been in support – including several people who said they’d be okay with Redwood only having one lane of on street parking if it meant this was possible! Remember, it’s a temporary pilot project, so everyone would have a chance to weigh in both before and near the planned end about how it has gone.
Our goal, again, is to make Redwood between McKinley Elementary and Bird Park safer and more enjoyable by creating a safe space for kids and families to use the street to get to school, to go catch a summer concert, or just get between the homes of friends in the neighborhood. Thanks for reading.