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Smart Growth Awards plan/policy nominee

Oceanside bicycle master plan facilitates alternative transportation

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The project is a comprehensive update of the bicycle facility portion of the 1995 City of Oceanside General Plan Circulation Element. The state of California requires a bicycle transportation plan as part of the circulation element, and the city's growth necessitated an update to better address not only local bicycle travel needs, but also to better serve regional long-distance travel and promote tourism.

Oceanside's proximity to the coast and mild year-round weather is conducive to outdoor activities like cycling. The flat coastal terrain and existing facilities provide both enjoyable and challenging routes throughout the city. Oceanside is a vacation destination that brings in a large number of tourists, many of whom also bring their own bikes or rent them.

Plan objectives included establishing facility types to be implemented and identifying points where the city's bikeway system could integrate with the existing San Diego County regional bikeway system. The project's scope included documenting and evaluating Oceanside's existing bikeway facility system and its relationship with other systems such as mass transit, and recommending improvements wherever appropriate.

This plan sought to maximize the efficiencies offered by multi-modal connections and to promote a viable alternative to car travel in a climate conducive to bicycle transportation. It also sought to provide a more convenient bikeway system for cyclists who do not have ready access to motor vehicles.

The plan links the bikeway facility system with other transportation modes to enhance the efficiency of bicycle transportation, especially for commuting cyclists. Commuters have greater flexibility when traveling by modes other than the private automobile.

Implementation of the plan should reduce roadway congestion by reducing motor vehicle use, and therefore improve air quality. The plan also creates a series of facilities to better access Oceanside's schools in support of the Safe Routes to School program.

In 2008, Oceanside was awarded a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists, making it one of only 96 communities nationwide to have earned the distinction. A bicycle master plan contributes significantly to achieving the designation.

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