Active Transportation Timeline
Communities that incorporate thoughtful, person-centered planning and design help to create cities and environments where residents can live safely and thrive. Unlike the automobile-centric planning of the past, today’s city planners work directly with the community to make sure active transportation methods are at the forefront, helping to ensure ease of travel and access to community spaces for all.
Active transportation includes those methods that allow residents to incorporate movement and exercise into their short trips and daily commutes. These methods focus on creating transportation patterns and networks that prioritize human-powered transportation and allow for less dependence on the automobile to connect to community spaces and workplaces. In walkable, bikeable communities, difficult street crossings and dead-end streets are minimized to allow for a network of well-connected streets, sidewalks and paths that put people first.
Active transportation networks require the implementation of new train and trolley routes, bike lanes and paths, sidewalks and street crossings, and the implementation of multimodal streets to allow pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers to access the same routes safely.
San Diego Forward: The 2021 Regional Plan is the long-term blueprint for the San Diego region that seeks to meet regulatory requirements, address traffic congestion, and create equal access to jobs, education, healthcare, and other community resources. SANDAG introduced this regional vision for transportation in San Diego County that completely reimagines how people and goods could move throughout the region in the 21st century. Innovative new investments in the area’s transportation network will enhance connectivity, increase safety and sustainability, and improve the everyday lives of millions of people.
Having the support and resources from multiple partners will ultimately get more residents choosing new forms of transportation and encourage healthy and active lifestyles and rethinking and restructuring neighborhoods around sustainable choices. With continued improvements and collaboration, San Diego can become a region where biking and walking are practical and desirable. By creating a system of interconnected paths that are separated from vehicle traffic, residents can leave their cars at home and get back into their neighborhoods. As we look to the future and build upon the work of the past decade, these efforts help to improve the health, safety and quality of life for communities across the region, and will support the reduction of greenhouse gases and implementation of local climate action plans and complete street policies.
Partner Success Stories
Regional Planners Invest in Smart Growth
and Active Transportation
As the regional planning agency, SANDAG administers various grants to promote active transportation and smart growth. Since 2005, more than $100 million have been distributed via SANDAG in the San Diego region for planning and capital projects. Educational campaigns and dozens of bike and pedestrian projects have been completed with this funding and promote bike and pedestrian connectivity to transit, schools, retail centers, parks, work, and other community gathering places. SANDAG’s Regional Bike Plan, Riding to 2050, plans for further expansion of walkable and bikeable communities.
SANDAG’s story map highlights successes of some grant-funded projects that received local, state, and national recognition for their innovations. These grant programs incentivize compact, mixed use development, and mobility choices to improve the health of our communities and overall quality of life.
Vision Zero Prevents Injuries and Saves Lives
Circulate San Diego, in collaboration with multiple partners, has created a strategic approach for eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2025 called Vision Zero. Vision Zero strategies include: reducing speed limits, redesigning streets, changing behavior that contributes to unsafe activities and enhancing data driven traffic enforcement in the areas of greatest concern. To support this vision, Circulate works with partners including Bike SD and San Diego Bike Coalition to help educate both cyclists and drivers on best practices and how they can coexist on roadways.
Bike Trails Keep People Healthy and Connected
Since SANDAG’s adoption of Riding to 2050: The San Diego Regional Bike Plan, many bike lanes and paths have been expanded throughout the county and are now safer and more accessible. These completed bikeway projects include sections of the Bayshore Bikeway, Oceanside Coastal Rail Trail, Sweetwater Bikeway, State Route 15 Commuter Bikeway, Inland Rail Trail and the Encinitas Coastal Rail Trail. Completing these bikeways and other similar projects make an important contribution in moving toward an interconnected regional bike network that supports healthy and safe transportation for people of all ages.
Safe Routes to School Improves Active Transportation for Kids
The Safe Routes to School is a related initiative that greatly benefits from improved bike trails and biking safety awareness. With less than 15 percent of grade school children walking to school and obesity rates over 20 percent, having a safe way to walk or ride a bike to school can make a significant impact on the health of entire neighborhoods. The Safe Routes to School Initiative included the creation of a strategic plan that is guiding SANDAG and other jurisdictions as they continue to build and grow their neighborhoods. Grants were also provided throughout San Diego County to cities and non-profit organizations aimed at educating community members on the benefits of walking and biking to school.
Regional Bike Walk Alliance Works to Improve Mobility
To further support active transportation options, The Regional Bike Walk Alliance was created by the San Diego Bike Coalition in partnership with Circulate San Diego to consider all forms of mobility. The Regional Bike Walk Alliance is made up of community leaders and active transportation advocates who work to develop strategies to support the implementation of the San Diego Regional Bike Plan. There are currently 9 cities in the county that have a Bike Walk group affiliated with the Alliance: Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Diego, Solana Beach, and Vista. The Bike Coalition supports these local groups by providing them with resources, membership, and guidance with their advocacy and education efforts.
San Diego Gets Out by BIKE!
30 years ago, iCommute SANDAG began their annual Bike to Work Day – a day designed to get people moving on their commute to work. Over the last 10 years, participation has increased by almost 50%. 2019 brought together a record breaking 7,593 registered participants, with bikers making over 8,000 stops at some of the 100 pit stops located throughout San Diego County.
Things looked a little different this year, with stay-at-home restrictions going into effect a mere days before SANDAG’s 30th Annual Bike to Work Day was scheduled to take place. The event was ultimately postponed until May of 2021 and replaced with a webinar with almost 300 participants. With COVID-19, SD Bike Coalition and SANDAG have changed gears, ramping up their educational outreach by hosting free informational webinars and virtual workshops for children, adults, and employers.
But COVID-19 didn’t stop San Diegans from getting on bikes and exploring their neighborhoods! Between mid-March to mid-August 2020, as compared to the same period in 2019, biking volumes increased an average of 42% per month. Additionally, more people were seen biking on the weekends as compared to 2019, using biking as an excuse to get outdoors safely with the family. The best part yet – of those who have seen an increase in their biking during this time, 84% said they will continue biking even once restrictions are lifted.
Since adopting the San Diego Regional Bike Plan and the Sustainable Communities Strategy in 2011, SANDAG has been committed to improving active transportation in San Diego County. The 40-year plan, now known as GO by BIKE, intends to develop a more bike friendly region with the long-term goals of improving traffic congestion, air quality, climate change, public health, and livability. In the last ten years, 12 different bikeway projects have begun, with 6 already completed. With more than 1,570 miles of bikeways in the San Diego region and counting, it’s no wonder residents are changing their bike habits!