North Chorro bike lane project moving forward in San Luis Obispo
After a 4-0 vote by SLO’s City Council, a new infrastructure project is coming to the City. It’s supposed to make transportation efficient and safe for people riding bikes and using wheelchairs in some areas of the city, but the new plans for the project have also left many residents unhappy.
The project is called North Chorro Neighborhood Greenway, previously known as Anholm Greenway. It was approved in 2018 by SLO’s City Council to provide safe travel from the North Chorro area to downtown SLO for bicyclists, pedestrians and people who use wheelchairs.
The project establishes one-way protected bike lanes, two-way protected bike lanes and shared bike-motor lanes in the area.
At this week’s City Council meeting, many SLO residents showed up to express either their support or opposition towards the project. Residents like Keith Gurney said they think the project is over budget, dangerous, and gets rid of necessary street parking.
“It's way over budget — 6.3 million and climbing. It's dangerous, the two-way cycle track with 16 drivers coming out of their properties, crossing two lanes of bicycle paths to get into the cycling lane is an accident waiting to happen,” Gurney said.
Gurney is worried the project will increase accidents on his street, because of homeowners backing out of their driveway, out onto the bike lanes.
Also at the meeting were young adults, students and parents who are avid bike riders. Scott Hildebrand is a local parent in the area. He frequently travels downtown with his children and fully supports the project. He said he wants his children to be able to travel safely.
“I ride these streets regularly very regularly with my kids. My four year old's been biking since he was two. There is no safe way for me to get from my house on West Street to downtown or to Pacheco with my four year old on his bike,” Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand said they have to ride on the sidewalks because of cars zooming past them way too closely.
“I want to be able to leave the car at home on the weekends and take them where they need to go. I want to be able to use the street safely on my bike,” Hildebrand said.
Local students like Milo Sipinsky also showed up to support the new project. He’s a senior at SLO High School who frequently rides his bike to school.
“I went to Pacheco Elementary and so I rode to get to school and I can kind of recall in the situations being pretty freaked out and riding with the lack of shoulder on the street with cars coming way too close for comfort and I spoke about this issue a few years ago at one of these meetings, and I'm now going off to college and the issues still not resolved,” Sipinsky said.
The council’s approval of the greenway comes one month after the death of a bicyclist on South Higuera. Though this project doesn’t extend to Higuera, the City said it’s meant to help make all of SLO a little safer for people on bikes, wheelchairs and other alternative transportation.
The City says construction could begin as soon as this summer.