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New SANDAG Report Finds More People Biking Amid Pandemic

San Diego County CA— Since the start of the statewide stay home order, SANDAG has tracked numerous data sources to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted travel in the San Diego region. Data show that with more people staying closer to home,  the choice to use alternative transportation for shorter trips, including outdoor opportunities for recreational and fitness activities continues to increase.

The SANDAG InfoBits report Bike Riding in the San Diego Region Since COVID-19 examines bike volumes on eight corridors around San Diego County between mid-March and mid-August 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. The report also shares biking insights from residents and their plans to continue riding.

Since 2012, SANDAG has monitored bike travel through bike counters on the regional bikeway network that measure change in bike volumes over time with continuous counts collected and transmitted every 15 minutes. During the start of the stay home order, daily volumes increased an average of 42% across the network during the five months in 2020, compared to the same time in 2019.

As shown in the figure below, the greatest increases were seen in Months 2 and 3, with a 22% increase in Month 5, the most recent month.

Other notable findings:

  • Biking volumes were up the most on weekends over the five-month period (53%), compared to weekdays (35%)
  • Individual corridor increases ranged from 12% on the Landis Street corridor to 62% on the Inland Rail Trail and Mission Road corridor
  • More than 4 in 5 (84%) residents surveyed who said they were biking more since the stay home order began said they expect to continue biking even when restrictions are lifted

View the full SANDAG InfoBits report: Bike Riding in the San Diego Region Since COVID-19.

 

In light of the current public health crisis and in recognition of National Bike Month in May, SANDAG created a new pilot program to support local jurisdictions by providing safe spaces for residents to obtain essential goods, services, and exercise. The Shared Streets pilot program gave cities throughout the region the opportunity to designate temporary roadway modifications that create safe and healthy spaces for people of all ages and abilities to bike, walk, run, scoot, use a wheelchair, and move during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SANDAG awarded 11 jurisdictions with funds to help implement temporary Shared Streets pilot projects. The jurisdictions awarded proposed a range of activities such as closing residential streets to through traffic, enhancing signage to alert vehicles of shared streets conditions and closures, and creating space for local business patrons to walk, bike, and dine outside while maintaining physical distance.

In an ongoing effort to support alternative choices to driving alone, the SANDAG iCommute program is upgrading its commuter bike locker program to an entirely electronic fleet and donated 30 mechanical bike lockers to local employers to help encourage bike commuting as people return to the office.

As we continue to practice social distancing, the SANDAG iCommute program is also providing virtual bike education services. Employers can register for a free, online bike commuting class or bike safety check to help employees get ready to GO by BIKE. K-12 schools and school districts can register for a free, virtual bike safety assembly or bike and traffic safety class through the Walk, Ride, and Roll to School program.


About GO by BIKE

The SANDAG Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program, an initiative approved by the Board of Directors in 2013, is constructing a regional network of high-quality, pedestrian-friendly streets and bikeways that reimagines how we use space on our streets to make them safer and more comfortable for every person who uses them, regardless of age, race, or physical ability. The Bike Plan presents an interconnected network of bike corridors that will enable residents to bike safely on more direct and convenient routes within and between major regional destinations and activity centers.

Planning for a more bike friendly region helps resolve multiple complex and interrelated issues, including traffic congestion, air quality, climate change, public health, and livability. By guiding the region toward the creation of a substantial regional bike network, this plan can affect all of these issue areas, thereby improving existing and future quality of life in the San Diego region.

About iCommute

Powered by SANDAG and in cooperation with the 511 transportation information service, iCommute is the Transportation Demand Management program for the San Diego region. iCommute encourages use of transportation alternatives to help reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. iCommute aids local businesses, helping them develop and implement customized employee commuter benefit programs that lower costs, increase productivity, and help the environment. iCommute also assists commuters by providing information about carpool services, a subsidized vanpool program, transit solutions, regional support for biking, the Guaranteed Ride Home program, information about teleworking, and bike and pedestrian safety program support for schools.

FACEBOOK: iCommuteSD

 About SANDAG

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.

To protect the health and safety of staff, partners, and the general public, SANDAG offices are closed to the public. Staff continue to review the calendar of events and will recommend changes, cancellations, or postponements on a case by case basis. Most employees are working remotely during this time to provide essential services and to continue progress on critical regional projects. SANDAG continues to monitor the development of COVID-19 in the region and follow guidance from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.