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Jim Winsor’s Out & About: Planned bike lane in Hillcrest concerns nightlife community

There has been a lot of controversy lately over SANDAG’s new bike path project through Hillcrest, which would have a huge impact on the parking situation on University Avenue.

Under a worst-case-scenario projection, 91 street parking spaces would be lost.

The University Avenue route was favored over alternate competing plans to go down either Washington or Robinson, with only 0 and 3 projected spaces lost respectively, which made SANDAG’s ultimate choice seem even more illogical and frustrating to many.

While there has been discussion in the media on how this loss of parking would affect Hillcrest during the daytime, another slightly different issue is how it would impact the neighborhood at night. After all, Hillcrest along University Avenue is one of the busiest nightlife districts in San Diego, perhaps second only to the Gaslamp.

Recent posts about this issue on my Facebook page blew up last week with more than 100 comments, many from local club-goers, most of them overwhelmingly and vehemently negative. Here are a few examples:

Jason Smith: I'm a big proponent of bike lanes, but this seems spectacularly ill-advised.

Israel Ramos: Whoever proposed this is obviously rubbish at urban planning. If this goes into effect it will greatly impact businesses in that area.

Maximilian Veers: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Charlie Welder Rosenberg: I already know so many people who avoid that side of hillcrest based purely on lack of parking... [This] wouldn't help.

Frank Wilms: This is a really bad idea. I support improved bike routes, but University is too busy for bikes, and I can't support anything that decrease parking in Hillcrest.

Taj Al-Taji: I agree... It's hard enough for small businesses in Hillcrest (especially on university ave ) to survive between the high rent and lack of parking... This would close them down for good!

Tyler Helble: I for one will start biking north park to hillcrest if there is a lane that allows me to bike without nearly dying. That being said, I'll miss the parking for sure.

Matthew Hollen: How ridiculous. Some of us don't live in Hillcrest so I don't have the bike option. I always have to allot 10-15 extra minutes to wander through the neighborhoods to find a parking spot that isn't blocks away. Nothing should be done to make this worse.”

Jimmy Duke: They need to do a realistic impact study. The benefits are few, the impacts are widespread and likely severe. I like the idea of going green in this city, but we're not built for simple solutions like this. Out population is too dense but not dense enough for it to work”

John Keasler: Why must we have bike lanes on the busiest streets? Robinson would be a better choice.

Scott Jackson: I spent about 15 minuets circling the block today to find a parking spot near Winn's Barber Shop. There was nothing on the street and the adjacent parking lots were completely full, including Rite Aid. I gave up and drove to a super cuts with parking in the suburbs. Losing 91 spaces is definitely going to kill the small retail shops in Hillcrest.

Neill Kovrig: While I'm all for smart growth in concept, and making communities walkable/bikeable, I am not in favor of wedging that sort of redevelopment into communities to the detriment of the businesses and residents already in place. Hillcrest businesses do not rely solely upon the custom of residents of 92103: there are a great number of people - myself included - who pass through the community, spend our money, and consequently need places to park. I do not have the luxury of riding a bike to get to places in Hillcrest, or to get to or from my home or office and the community. The elimination of parking spaces along University will also likely lead to an increase in the parking lot fees that are already bordering on the ridiculous (that Walgreen's lot is a joke - $5/hour? I'm SO glad that development got approved), and will ultimately lead to a downturn in individuals who must rely on cars who choose to patronize businesses west of 6th. What I suppose flummoxes me most is why the University option is the most appealing, when the Washington one that is in the planning documents is just as effective (although it doesn't provide "direct" access and relies on a "zig-zag" approach to connecting the corridor). The cost of a "zig-zag" bike corridor is minimal compared to the cost of eliminating parking on University.

Thus far, I've met unofficially with people on both sides of the issue. I’m hopeful this can be resolved in a way that most people will find acceptable, but for that to happen there needs to be compromise. In particular, there needs to be a realization on SANDAG’s part about our community being a major nightlife destination in this city, and that any arguments and/or purported studies mustered about increased bike traffic offsetting discouraged auto traffic get thrown out the window when we’re talking about nighttime in Hillcrest. No one rides their bike to a club at night after 10 pm.

Like I said I’m hopeful. The nightlife community banded together during the midnight towing scandal three years ago, and overcame it, so I’m sure we can do the same again today.

Mr. San Diego Eagle 2014 Weekend

The Mr. San Diego Eagle contest is this weekend. The event has grown so big that this year the contest won’t actually be happening at the San Diego Eagle, as you might expect, but rather at the nearby and larger Sunset Temple auditorium a couple blocks away.

This year, there will be a whole weekend full of events, beginning of Friday and running through Sunday. May the best leatherman win!

Friday, Feb. 21

9 pm: Mr. San Diego Eagle Meet & Greet at the Sunset Temple

Saturday, Feb. 22

8 pm: Mr. San Diego Eagle Contest at the Sunset Temple

Sunday, Feb. 23

11 am: Brunch with the Titleholders at the Sunset Temple

Active Duty at Rich’s

That’s right troopers, it’s time once again for another Active Duty: The Military Party at Rich’s. Report in at 2200 this Saturday, and get ready for six hours (yes, there will be after hours until 0400) of hot military go-go boys, camouflage costume fun and music by DJ Nikno and DJ Taj.

This will be a busy night so early arrival is suggested. Free Active Duty Dog Tags will be handed out fist come first served, and there is no cover before 11 pm with military ID. SDPIX VIP members received $5 off before 11 pm. If you don’t have an SDPIX VIP membership, not to worry … just text SDPIX to 313131 and show the message to the cashier for the early discount.

Dressing up in camo and/or military gear is highly encouraged! And there will be body painting available on site for those who want to further accessorize.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 viewing begins at Urban Mo’s

This Monday, RuPaul's Drag Race viewing parties resume at Urban Mo’s. The big screen TV’s throughout the bar will be broadcasting the first episode of Season 6 beginning at 9 pm, and then at 9 pm on every Monday thereafter for the rest of the series.

Then at 10:30 pm, Mo’s will be serving up their own Duelling Divas contest, hosted by the one and only Chad Michaels. Each night, two contestants will "Drag It Out" against each other, to go on to the next week’s battle, until one winner is crowned at the RPDR Season 6 Finale night. To enter, just go to www.chadmichaels.com to sign up for your battle date!

Other fun stuff this week

Thursday, Feb. 20

9 pm: Club Flicker at Flicks

10 pm: WET at Bourbon Street

Friday, Feb. 21

7 pm: Fish Fry Fridays at Gossip Grill

Saturday, Feb. 22

10 am to 2 pm: Mexican Brunch at Baja Betty's

Sunday, Feb. 23

11 am to 3 pm: Gospel Brunch at Lips

3-7 pm: Sunday Fundays at Uptown Tavern

3-8 pm: Church at Babycakes

Monday, Feb. 24

6-11 pm: 50₵ Wing Night at Hillcrest Brewing Company

9 pm: Manic Mondays at the Brass Rail

Wednesday, Feb. 26

7:30-10 pm: Pictionary Night at #1 Fifth Ave.

Last week’s events

Check out SDPIX.com for all the new albums from last week, including photos from the Brass Rail, the new Gossip Grill, Baja Betty’s, Babycakes, #1 Fifth Avenue, and the return of the amazing Tantrums & Tiaras: Battle of the Bar Queens pageant for 2014.

And on that last note … special congratulations are in order to my roommate, Michael Calles aka “Giggles” of Urban Mo’s, for taking home the tiara! What a night to remember!