Create a ridable, walkable, and, most importantly, livable environment.
The Imperial Beach Boulevard Enhancement project includes 1.6 miles of bike lanes and will be one of the main east-west bike connectors in the City. The project also includes enhancing pedestrian facilities making walking a more enjoyable experience.
Some advantages of walking and biking are listed below:
Health Benefits: Incorporating walking and biking in your daily routine is a simple way to increase the amount of exercise you get. Health benefits include:
Lower Risk of Heart Disease & Stroke
Reduced Risk of Cancer
Fighting the Diabetes Epidemic
Improved Mental Health
Reduced Traffic: As people adopt biking and walking to perform daily activities and commuting, the roads become less congested leading to:
More reliable travel times
Reduced traffic delays
Increased access to destinations
Reduced transportation costs
Social & Economic Benefits: Residents in towns where bicycling and walking are popular have the opportunity to connect and engage with like-minded people. Biking and walking help to foster a community spirit and the feeling of unity. Communities that embrace biking and walking encourage the development of commercial facilities that support daily activities within the community and hence support the local economy.
Environmental Benefits: Fossil fuel dependent transportation is the leading contributor of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) (28.5% in the United States). GHGs trap warmer temperature in the atmosphere leading to an increase in overall temperature resulting in climate change, sea level rise, wildfires, droughts, and public health concerns. Reducing traffic by choosing to bike or walk can reduce GHG contribution.
Calm traffic to make a safer walking and biking experience, especially near schools.
Traffic calming features are used to reduce vehicle speeds and make it safer and more comfortable for other modes to coexist with automobiles. A variety of traffic calming features are available for use in streetscape design. Streets such as Imperial Beach Boulevard are expected to attract pedestrians and bicyclists, and hence, streetscape design with strategically incorporated traffic calming features will help maintain speed limit while encouraging walkability and bike-ability.
Some of the traffic calming features included in the design of Imperial Beach Boulevard Enhancement Project are listed below:
Medians: A median is the portion of the roadway separating opposing directions of the road or separating local lanes from through travel lanes. The presence of a raised median as proposed for this project gives the perception of narrower lanes, in turn causing vehicles to slow down. Medians also reduce the length of the crossing if accompanied by a median island, providing safer crossing conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Reduced Lane Widths: Lane widths vary typically from 10 to 12 feet. For roadways with speeds less than 45 miles per hour, narrower lane widths are quite adequate and have some advantages. Narrow roadway widths discourage speeding. The excess space, on the other hand, can be repurposed to provide other streetscape features.
Curb Extensions/Bulb-outs: Curb extensions/bulb-outs are present at driveways and intersections. They can be effective at intersections in reducing crossing length and increasing visibility, making crossing safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. The presence of curb extensions/bulb-outs gives the perception of narrower lanes, in turn causing vehicles to slow down. This space can be used for landscaping, creating community character and a pedestrian-friendly environment.
High Visibility Crosswalks: Marked crosswalks are most effective when they can be identified easily by motorists and pedestrians. They should present a visual contrast with the surface of the street. All major-minor and minor-minor intersections as well as at midblock crossings should include marked crosswalks. Continental crosswalks which provide higher visibility will be the ones installed on Imperial Beach Boulevard.
Beautify the entrance gateway into the City of Imperial Beach.
Gateways provide a unique sense of identity to a place and provide an entry point to a city or a destination. They should relate to the local culture and heritage and should be sensitive to the physical setting. Each gateway can vary in size and can be developed in a variety of ways such as 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional art installation, architectural element, landscaping, lighting, monument, and so on.
The Imperial Beach Boulevard project will install gateway elements at the eastern end of the City. Proposed is an eye-catching brightly colored surfboard themed embedded concrete installation at the east end of the City. The gateway elements include graphics speaking to the culture of the community as a beach city, a roadway median with improved landscaping featuring a Royal Palm and drought tolerant plants, a monument highlighting existing entry, adequate lighting, and enriched paving and green bike lanes will complete the gateway feel of the space. Click here to view a conceptual rendering of the Gateway Section featuring various elements.
Make the Tijuana Estuary a world-class ecotourist destination.
Estuaries and their surrounding wetlands are bodies of water found where rivers meet the sea. These areas are home to unique plant and animal life that have adapted to brackish water—a mixture of river water and seawater. The Tijuana Estuary is one of the few remaining salt estuaries in Southern California. The City is looking at taking this opportunity to turn this area into an ecotourism destination. According to the Tijuana Estuary visitor center, the site is an essential breeding, feeding and nesting ground and key stopover point on the Pacific Flyway for over 370 species of migratory and native birds, including several endangered species. These delicate ecosystems must be protected while educating the visitors of their importance. The ecotourism activities minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism and help educate the traveler while providing funds for ecological conservation.
Enhancing the frontage of the estuary is one of the critical objectives of this project. Proposed is a multi-use path from Seacoast Drive to 3rd Street, which will include interpretative signs and will enhance the walking and biking environment from the beach to the Tijuana Estuary trailhead. A multi-use path will support eco-tourism and draw additional people to come and enjoy the Estuary. This multi-use path will also provide a planned connection to the Bayshore Bikeway via Seacoast Drive and Palm Avenue. This connection is part of the City of Imperial Beach Bicycle Transportation Plan. Additional benches and bicycle parking will enhance the Estuary’s trailhead. Other features include a viewing platform, seating amenities, education, signage, lighting, low-impact landscaping, and so on. Click here to view a conceptual rendering of the Estuary Gateway featuring various elements.
Repair and address underground utility deficiencies.
Roadway construction gives a perfect opportunity not only to repair and address underground utility issues but also make provisions for future utilities. The project includes underground utility repairs/ additions along Imperial Beach Boulevard. Click here to refer to the project map. In addition, the project also proposes the installation of a fiber optic conduit along Imperial Beach Boulevard, 9th street, and parts of 10th Street, Cypress Ave, 2nd Street, and Elder Avenue. The conduits can be used for transmission of .
Showcase sustainable and multi-benefit transportation and stormwater infrastructure.
Multi-benefit transportation: This Mobility Assessment evaluates the existing and proposed facilities for all modes of travel to assess corridor need for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and automobiles, as well as the potential effectiveness of the Imperial Beach Boulevard project. The multimodal analysis was completed for Imperial Beach Boulevard from Seacoast Drive to 13th Street. A mobility assessment tool used for this project to evaluate the impact of proposed improvements on 4 segments of the roadway.
Segment-1: Seacoast drive to 3rd Street
Segment-2: 3rd Street to Connecticut Street
Segment-3: Connecticut Street to 9th Street
Segment-4: 9th Street to 13th Street
Below are the results of assessment
Conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit improved in all four segments.
Peak hour traffic conditions remained same in segments 1 and 2 and had minimal impact on segments 3 and 4
Parking improved in segments 1,3 and 4, and had minimal impact on segment 2
Stormwater infrastructure: The project includes numerous pop-outs/bulb-outs which not only serve to calm traffic and enhance the pedestrian experience but are designed to include landscaping in the form of flow-through planters that will intercept stormwater, allowing a portion of it to infiltrate the ground and some to evaporate into the air, before any remaining water enters the stormwater system. The water that will flow into the stormwater will be filtered and cleaned by plants making it much cleaner than if it flowed directly into the stormwater from the street. Water that enters the drain may flow to beaches and the Tijuana Estuary. Filtering this water before it enters the stormwater system ensures that it is cleaner and will have less impact on these water bodies and the environment. Also, trash and debris collectors will be installed to further clean water before it enters any natural water bodies.