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A big piece of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to ease San Diego’s housing crisis was set to go before the City Council last week. It didn’t.

As Lisa Halverstadt reports, Faulconer’s plan to entice developers to build more middle-income units is on pause and likely to undergo changes.

“The postponement followed concerns from unions and affordable housing advocates that the proposal wouldn’t serve the middle-class San Diegans it’s intended to benefit and that it could hamper efforts to build homes reserved for low-income residents,” Halverstadt writes.

The plan would have let developers receive incentives to build homes for families that make 150 percent of the annual median income, but union leaders and affordable housing advocates argued that amount was too high, and that the income requirements should be lower.

They also “fear the program could undermine a similar program that allows developers to build more units in exchange for reserving some of those homes for people with low incomes.”

The Art of Dealmaking

At first glance, being an artist might seem like the ultimate independent career – the only constraints are their imaginations and talents, right?

But artists actually depend quite a bit on other parties to make a livelihood: gallery owners, curators, art dealers.

“Enter the growing trend of artists renting out short-term venues for quick pop-up shows and artist-led art fairs,” Kinsee Morlan writes in the latest Culture Report.

One local painter has a pop-up gallery going in Little Italy where she and her mom work long hours promoting and selling her work.

“I don’t think that you can just open up a gallery and slap on a sign and make it,” painter Sarah Stieber told Morlan. “I think it’s 10-hour days and no breaks. It’s just constant creative marketing and hustling and never stopping.”

All the Dockless Bike Freakout News That’s Fit to Print

A Brief Guide to the City’s New Bike Boxes

Flummoxed by those bold new bike-focused street markings in Hillcrest? Our contributor Randy Dotinga has a quick FAQ about why certain San Diego roads got a new paint job and what drivers and cyclists should do when they across them.

A driver’s-eye view of the new “bike box” street markings at Fifth Avenue and Washington Street in Hillcrest. / Photo by Randy Dotinga
A driver’s-eye view of the new “bike box” street markings at Fifth Avenue and Washington Street in Hillcrest. / Photo by Randy Dotinga

Wait, there are new street markings in town?

Yes. Just take a spin north through Hillcrest on Fifth Avenue and drive past University Avenue. As you approach the Washington Avenue intersection, you’ll spot a skinny, green-painted strip on the right side of the center left-turn lane. The strip expands into a green box that takes up the entire turn lane immediately before the crosswalk. Both the rectangle and the box are emblazoned with bicycle stencils.

What are they for?

The markings create “bike boxes” — spaces on city streets that are reserved only for cyclists. The idea is to create spaces at intersections where cyclists can be more prominent and visible during turns. In some cases, they’re designed to prevent a potentially fatal “right hook” — when a driver turns right without noticing a cyclist who’s in the way.

At the Fifth Avenue intersection, the thin green strip gives cyclists a heads-up before they enter the bike box. Then the cyclists can wait in the box ahead of cars for the light to turn green.

There are are other bike boxes, with somewhat different set-ups, at the busy Hillcrest intersections of Sixth Avenue and University Avenue (here’s a photo via BikeSD) and at Fifth Avenue and University Avenue.

A city spokesman said a bike box has also been installed at the intersection of Carmel Mountain Road and Peñasquitos Drive.

According to BikeSD, National City installed seven bike boxes in 2014.

What should cars do at a bike box?

Cars are supposed to stay out of the bike box while they’re waiting for the light to change.

Do bike boxes work?

There isn’t much data about this. For a 2011 study, researchers at Portland State University videotaped 10 intersections with bike boxes and two other intersections in Portland, Ore. The researchers found that about three-quarters of drivers stopped outside the bike boxes. (It seemed to help that a “Get Behind It” billboard campaign educated drivers about how the boxes work.) The study also reported that “the number of [car vs. bike] conflicts fell and yielding behavior increased, which should lead to improvements in safety.”

That’s a bit of a hedge, of course. Still, the study found that most cyclists and drivers surveyed thought the boxes made things safer. Even most of the drivers who aren’t bikers thought so.

Will we get more of these?

Seems likely. A city spokesman said “more are being incorporated into new bikeways where they fulfill a need and are deemed appropriate.”

In Other News

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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