A major bike path project could soon break ground in the city of San Luis Obispo.
Tuesday night, the city council will consider a project to add bike lanes along Chorro and Broad Streets from Foothill Boulevard into downtown San Luis Obispo.
Years of construction could completely transform Chorro and Broad streets and create a bike path stretching from downtown north into neighborhoods at the base of Bishop Peak.
“I feel like if we could make our town more suitable for walking and biking it would be a lot better,” said San Luis Obispo resident Emma Gibbs.
The North Chorro Neighborhood Greenway would build a separated bike lane along Chorro Street from Palm Street north to Mission Street.
The protected bike lane would pick up again along Broad Street and continue in some form all the way to Foothill Boulevard.
“It also benefits our college student population and many of the downtown employees that often rely on walking or biking to get to work,” said SLO Public Works Transportation Manager Luke Schwarz.
Some nearby residents are opposed to parts of the project — specifically, areas north of the freeway along Chorro and Broad streets where the path would cross driveway after driveway.
“The parking on that side of the street will be eliminated. Those with driveways will have to back out across these opposing bike lanes into traffic,” said resident Debbie Anthony. “These are old homes with very narrow driveways. An accident waiting to happen, I fear.”
The city says it is conducting community outreach, but groundbreaking could begin in a matter of months.
“We’re looking to award a construction project to get moving in the next couple of months,” Schwartz said.
Another aspect of the project is making it safer to walk along the Chorro Street freeway underpass into downtown.
“Once I’m past the overpass, I feel okay but it’s so incredibly dark under there at night,” said Gibbs, who works downtown and walks from Lincoln Street.
She avoids walking at night but says that better lighting will make a difference.
“There’s lots of corners and places you can’t see if there’s someone there and it’s really freaky,” Gibbs said. “I’m always saying that I wish there were more streetlights over there.”
Construction could begin within two months if the $6,076,939 project is approved.
Costs have soared from original estimates, but the city says that inflation and higher prices on things like gas have driven construction prices significantly higher.