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Oceanside gives OK to master bicycle plan

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside took another big step toward proving it is a bicycle-friendly city with a unanimous City Council vote Dec. 17 to approve the Bicycle Master Plan and count bicycle transportation in the citywide circulation element update.
The OK’d Bicycle Master Plan identifies existing bike riding conditions, analyzes present bicycle transportation needs and looks forward to future growth. The goal of the plan is to develop a safe, cohesive bike riding trail system throughout the city.
“This is where people are going to ride bicycles,” Mayor Jim Wood said, referencing the weather and proximity to the beach.
One accomplishment already under the city’s belt is a “Safe Routes to School” program that provides students safe bike access routes to school, David DiPierro, city traffic engineer, said.
Projects on the horizon are the further extension of the San Luis Rey bike trail, and establishment of a coastal rail trail and inland trail for bicycles.
The approved Bicycle Master Plan will help set project guideposts and secure grant funds for bike trail development and rider education, DiPierro said.
“The plan is based on a cyclist perspective of things,” Howard La Grange, Bicycle Committee co-chair, said. “There was lots of communication between staff and citizens on this plan. I’m really proud of it.”
The city is also looking into developing bike friendly freeway and railway crossings, widening narrow roads, and posting clearer bike access signage, John Holloway, Bicycle Committee member, said.
Oceanside’s present bike transportation system is comprised of class I off street bike trails, class II widened roadways for bike and car co-use, and class III signed roadways. The majority of bikeways are signed roadways, Holloway said. “They are the cheapest to implement.”
While enthusiasm for bikeway improvements was high, Councilman Jack Feller cautioned future grant funding to support anticipated projects might be hard to come by. “It may be five years before we get this grant funding,” Feller said. “We’d love to have these quality of life and safe places be in these communities. We’re going to be looking for all kinds of places to get a million here and a million there.”