“Nuisance complaint” (Code 415N) police calls in San Diego

Awhile back I received a data set of all the Code 415N calls to San Diego Police Department for all properties in San Diego for a one-year period, 10/1/2014 – 9/30/2015.  I believe 415N is the police department code for Disturbing The Peace.  The data is for all property types, not only short-term rental properties.  During the short-term rental debates there has been quite a bit of discussion about the crime and safety impacts that short-term rentals have on communities so it would seem a decent place to look for elevated impacts in areas with more short-term rental units.

I took the information and did some high level analysis of the complaint calls – the data file is included here and the notes / calculations I added are  at the top right of attached file.

[Note: I didn’t have the TOT addresses to match to the 415N info (and the 415N info doesn’t have zip so I’m not sure how you match it unless they use the exact same address typing for both sets of data.  I didn’t take a stab at it since it’s above my skill level to break that down.  I’m also unsure of the completeness of TOT addresses since Airbnb now handles those remittances for hosts, so many are likely not registered with the City Treasurer.]

Some points I thought might be relevant to the ongoing discussion:

  • Total calls in past year = 13,869. With city population of 1.381 million that comes out to 1% of the population making 1 call per year.  I don’t know what a “good” nuisance reporting rate is, but if 1 of 100 people are calling once per year that seems pretty low.
  • Average calls per district – with 9 districts the total number of complaints comes out to 4.22 calls per day.  When thinking about enforcement needs, this seems a relevant point.  I would think 1 hire per district could handle 4.22 calls per day, maybe 10 or 20 (I don’t know).  At least a good point for talking about what resources are needed to handle complaint volume.
Police beat areas with most 415N calls
Police beat areas with most 415N calls
  • Complaints by neighborhood – the data doesn’t match to exact addresses, but is useful in seeing where complaints are from by beat area and how that matches to the neighborhoods cited as being short-term rental problem spots.  In the top 5 by % of complaints are: Pacific Beach (6.51%), North Park (5.78%), Ocean Beach (3.99%), East Village (3.14%), and Logan Heights (3.12%).  Pacific Beach & Ocean Beach have had a lot of anti short-term rental sentiment, but not the other 3, maybe North Park if you include Burlingame.  By address would be better to be more precise, but if you look at the Excel the neighborhoods that receive the most calls don’t correspond much to anti short-term rental sentiment, and I would guess correspond mostly to total population (which makes sense in general) than to perceived / actual short-term rental caused issues.

    Wanted to share this information in case of interest to others.  It seems a good touch point in the overall conversation so I thought worth posting.

Below is the Excel data set for download / use.

[embeddoc url=”http://www.johnpatrickanderson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/415N-Calls.xlsx” download=”all” viewer=”microsoft”]

San Diego – Embracing Refugees in Past, Present, and Future

San Diego County has been a home to refugees from all over the globe for many years.  In recent years the region has likely taken in more refugees than any other region in the United States. 


Refugee – a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.


Per the San Diego Union-Tribune, “this region gets approximately 3,000 new refugees each year, with a striking majority hailing from restive Iraq.”  In fiscal year 2009 the county took in 4,168 which has declined to 1,610 in fiscal year 2015 – I believe the 3,000 in the article is the average for the period 2009-2015.  Per the same article the refugees that have settled in San Diego and formed a community here over the past 45 years have included those from:

  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Sudan
  • Ethiopia
  • Eritrea
  • Syria
  • Iraq

Per the American Immigration Council since fiscal year 2007 the following states have taken in the highest number of refugees:

  1. California – 25,716
  2. Michigan – 18,047
  3. Texas – 12,956
  4. Arizona – 7,447

Based on these sources San Diego has taken in more refugees than any other region in California and California has taken in more refugees than any other state in recent years.  I can’t find a breakdown by county or region but based on this it seems very likely that San Diego has taken in more refugees than any other area.

If you visit City Heights in San Diego you’ll find a wide variety of refugee communities, and in other areas of the city as well.  It says something about an area that takes in so many, and in which many decide to settle long-term and welcome later arrivals.  I feel pride that San Diego is a place that is desirable to live in for those fleeing persecution.

There is a heated debate currently regarding refugees from Syria and who will or will not welcome them in the United States.  I trust that San Diego, officially and socially, will continue to welcome refugees from all over the world.  San Diego is a very safe place to live – large amounts of refugees settling here for many decades have not compromised our safety.  What newly arrived refugees will do is strengthen our regional community and reaffirm that San Diego is a welcoming place to people from the world over whether refugees, visitors, investors, children, professionals, or otherwise.  In time they’ll offer a helping hand to those that follow and start families, companies, non-profits, and community organizations that reinvigorate our neighborhoods.  It’s ever been the story of the United States and one that San Diego will continue to follow.

That’s something that all San Diegans can be proud of. #SDlove

However you look at it, one world.
San Diego – open to the world.

Car Rage – A More Fitting Term

Road rage is defined as “violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult conditions”.  The term has some nice alliteration but a more fitting term would be “car rage”.  Perhaps we use road rage because we don’t want to acknowledge the damage and deaths that our passionate and loving embrace of the automobile causes.  Tens of thousands of deaths every year, yet rarely a headline in the paper.  The deaths are in the paper, just in the small print area inside with some short explanations that will impugn the non-auto parties at every turn.  Lots of mentions of crosswalks, lighting conditions, and visibility of clothing but few notes about Big Gulps, radio fiddling, use of phones, makeup application, driving history, or attention paid to road.

If you walk, or ride the bus, or ride a bicycle you don’t experience the same elevation of pulse, stress level, and anger as experienced when driving – especially at high speeds.  It seems mostly confined to the experience of driving in an automobile.  So perhaps we should retire “road rage” and start using “car rage”.  It won’t do much for the victims but it will at least change the conversation a bit and recognize that the most aggressive parties on our roads (which includes in front of our homes, schools, and businesses) are those using motor vehicles.

There is also a definition for “bike rage” and helpfully included in the examples section are all the different attack methods of cyclists.  For some reason, in the road rage entry (below) there not similarly prominent categories regarding attacks by car drivers.

bike rage

Here’s the road rage entry with some bland categories.  The mentions of violence included regard shootings: guns = dangerous, cars = Hello Kitty.  It’s almost like we don’t take the responsibility and risk of driving a massive vehicle at high speeds seriously.

 

 

road rage

Drive safe, drive slow, drive less.  Avoid car rage.

Pershing Drive Bicycle Corridor – It’s Go Time

SANDAG is preparing to implement bicycle improvements to Pershing Drive in the near future, creating a safe and functional route from North Park and surrounding communities to Downtown.  This is part of the $200M SANDAG bicycle corridors program which has yet to stripe a single foot of bike lane in the nearly 3 years since being announced.  The first project, running through Hillcrest, gutted the most important segment – an east-west connection to North Park – at the last moment as detailed in this film by Dennis Stein.

Pershing Drive is very different from University Avenue; it lies in a park rather than popular communities.  Pershing Drive is currently a fantastic bicycle connection in many ways.  It runs through the middle of Balboa Park’s open space area.  Heading into town it offers gorgeous views of Los Coronados islands, Coronado Bridge, and Downtown.  It connects the densely populated neighborhoods of Uptown and Mid-City to Downtown.  However, it is also very intimidating to bike on.  The painted lanes are adjacent to high-speed roadways with speed limits of 45-50 MPH (and we all know that 5-10 above that is the likely reality).  Heading into Downtown, cyclists need to cross two separate onramps to Interstate 5, while drivers are ramping up to Interstate speeds. Both onramps lie behind curving corners with limited visibility.

I’ve been writing about the dangers of biking on Pershing Drive since early 2014 and serious injuries continue to accrue.

So how do we best create a functional, safe and protected bicycle corridor on Pershing Drive? Following are a number of specific ideas for what this project should look like.  We should start with context and a general guideline.  This project lies in the heart of Balboa Park – it should connect with and enhance the park, not take away from it.  A guideline that should lead any transport project is to put people first – and that means pedestrians first, bicycles second, public transit third, and private automobile fourth.  This is the hierarchy of preference used by the City of Chicago Department of Transportation and one that San Diego should adopt.

The Pershing Drive bicycle corridor should establish a two-way bike lane and two-way walking / running path adjacent to the Balboa Park golf course on the south / east side of Pershing Drive.  The entry point would be located at Redwood & 28th.  By siting the path on this side of Pershing the major friction points of the I-5 onramps are avoided (which fall under CalTrans purview and would be very difficult to address).  It also presents the opportunity to put those biking or jogging in a shaded and enjoyable place along the roadway.

  • Connect the two halves of Bird Park at the north terminus of Pershing Drive (at 28th Street) and direct traffic either east on Redwood or north on Arnold.  This will add parkland and avoid much of the backup that results from the awkward and overly large intersection now present at that location.
  • Reduce speeds for the entirety of Pershing Drive from the current 45-50 MPH to 35 MPH maximum and 25 MPH within 1,000 feet of the terminus at either end.
  • Add a path for those biking, walking, or jogging along the south side of the Naval Hospital to add a connection from Golden Hill and South Park to Balboa Park, as well as a connection for those traversing the improved Pershing Drive bicycle corridor.
  • Create dedicated and protected space for running / walking / jogging as well as for bicycling.  Pershing Drive runs through the heart of Balboa Park and the context of this project matters.  We should seek to improve the park as a whole with any project lying inside it.  The space for biking and jogging should be protected by a concrete barrier or other substantial method.
  • Reduce Pershing Drive to one travel lane in each direction.  There is one through street that intersects Pershing Drive currently – Florida Drive / 26th Street (the road changes names at the intersection).  Other than this street there are only entry points for service yards and parking lots at the Velodrome and the Morley Field frisbee golf course.  This matters because a prominent reason for back-up on a street can be waiting for an opportunity to turn.  That option is very limited on Pershing Drive, greatly reducing the need for additional traffic lanes.
  • Establish trees on both sides of Pershing Drive as protective barriers for the bicycle lanes (on the south / east side) and for the running paths on the opposite side of the roadway.
  • Establish vines on the high fences adjacent the Balboa Park golf course and a tree line inside the fence on the golf course to provide shade for the bicycle path, better utilize the irrigation on the course, provide privacy for golf course users, and improve the aesthetics of the road for drivers.
  • Utilize a maximum lane width of 10 feet for all travel lanes on Pershing Drive.  Any additional space should be reverted to parkland and narrower traffic lanes will decrease the incentive to speed on the roadway.
  • To connect the Pershing Drive bicycle corridor to adjacent neighbors add additional bicycle infrastructure on adjoining streets.  These include: close Florida Drive to vehicle traffic to restore Florida Canyon while incorporating a biking and walking path.  Add a painted bike line going up 26th Street into Golden Hill – the current road width does not appear to have sufficient space for a lane on both sides and the high speed differential going uphill warrants a lane before one descending onto Pershing or Florida.

Additional details will follow this post, including street sketches and other visuals.  The important thing is to gather community support for real improvements now, and to do so in a constructive way.  This is not about bikes vs. cars – it’s about taking real action about public health, climate change, quality of life, park space.  In general, it’s about making the project area better for all San Diegans.  We cannot afford to let basic, functional bicycle infrastructure get axed in a program specifically designed to create bicycle infrastructure, as happened in Hillcrest.

I would love feedback and criticisms or additional suggestions regarding Pershing Drive.  Please drop them in the comments, social media, or email.  Thank you.

North Park – San Diego’s Weak Excuse for a Bike Friendly Place

North Park is an urban neighborhood in San Diego.  It is often cited as the “hipster” area of town and is generally known for being one of the more walkable areas in San Diego.  North Park is home to the only 2 parklets in San Diego, the majority of the bike corrals in the city, and it is not uncommon to see people biking on the streets.

If there is anywhere in San Diego you would expect to find good bicycle infrastructure North Park would be high on the list, perhaps along with East Village, Downtown, Little Italy, or a beach community like Ocean Beach or Pacific Beach.  The reality on the ground is far from good.  The reality is a near absolute lack of any bicycle infrastructure.

Here’s a complete map of all the bike lanes in North Park, highlighted in red.  The gray, white, orange, and red lines indicate all roadways.  There are a total of 2 streets in North Park that have painted bike lanes.  One of them is a portion of El Cajon Boulevard, with cars regularly exceeding 40 and 50 MPH. There are no protective measures for biking anywhere in North Park.  There is no system or grid to bicycle – if you ride on a roadway with a lane you will be forced to connect to another roadway without any dedicated space for biking whatsoever.

north park bike lane mapSan Diego, and particularly North Park, has very wide streets.  There is plenty of room on many of the streets to add bike lanes with the minimal cost and effort of applying paint.  Paint is not protection, but it is much better than no dedicated space at all.  When conflict occurs due to lack of separated space, as on Adams Avenue recently, drivers can literally run over those biking without likelihood of prosecution.

If a place like North Park that is promoted as being a good place to bike or walk has so little accommodation for bikes what does that mean for other areas that are more explicitly car-first?  If our Climate Action Plan rightly targets transportation as a focus area to create a better future, how do we increase biking by a factor of 18 as the plan seeks without facilities to support that growth?  We will not get there without meaningful change on the ground.

A couple of bike lanes in a neighborhood of 50,000 people in the core of our city is not good enough.  It’s barely even laughable as an attempt at being bike and environmentally friendly.  It underlies how unserious we are about moving away from the private automobile as the overwhelming primary transport option.  It is no surprise that so few people bike in San Diego when the reality on the ground is unless you are confident and strong enough to bike with zero accommodation on wide, high speed streets you are out of luck.

Parents, myself included, fret about biking with their children or letting their kids bike to school.  Would you put your child on a bike on University Avenue (where SANDAG just scrapped a plan to add a bike plan) or El Cajon Boulevard?  Or even smaller streets like 32nd Street or Arnold Avenue?  On a recent speed survey on Arnold “City Engineers determined 85% of the traffic was indeed exceeding our 25 mph speed limit by at least 10 mph – one vehicle was going 71 mph – and that test wasn’t even on a Friday or a weekend!”  Quoted portion from North Park Nextdoor website.

Perhaps the good news is we can only improve from our current status.  That is little comfort for those working and fighting to create a safer, healthier future for our neighborhoods and city.  Real support for real improvement is needed from our elected officials and transportation authorities.  Foremost we need leadership from SANDAG to pursue a responsible future path on both transportation and land use – not plans that ignore climate change, encourage sprawl, and commit billions and billions to more highways and scraps for biking, walking, and transport.  Even the scraps committed to healthier transport are back-loaded and likely to be walked back when push comes to shove.

North Park – I dig you.  But bicycle friendly you are not.

2015-04-30 17.23.37
Granada Avenue – 54 feet wide but not an inch for bicycles or crosswalks. Good luck to those that don’t want to drive.

SANDAG Bicycle Corridors – Finished Before They Even Started

Two and a half years ago SANDAG announced $200 million for bike projects to create a regional network.  The first of these projects is a $40 million project in Uptown.  It would create a critical connection both East to West and North to South in the heart of San Diego’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

University Avenue at Park Blvd. Clearly our streets are too small for bike lanes.
University Avenue at Park Blvd. Clearly our streets are too small for bike lanes. And how would bikes fit with so many cars?

Since the original announcement SANDAG has repeatedly trumpeted these funds as a sign of commitment to healthy transport in the form of bicycles.  During the time since Uptown was selected for the first SANDAG bicycle project what has changed in the area?    Population, businesses, traffic, and roadways all remain the same.  There remain only two real options for an East to West connection – University and Washington.

What has changed in that period is the will of SANDAG and the Transportation Committee to support and implement real bicycle infrastructure.  SANDAG is now taking unilateral action, walking back any commitment to bicycles for this corridor and setting a poor precedent for the future.  Worse yet is the toxic effect this will have on the many, many San Diegans that spent thousands of hours attending the public forums to give input and show support for this improvement in Uptown only to be trumped by back-room dealings hidden from the public eye that gutted the project in recent months.

We need safe streets today.  There are too many deaths, too many injuries, and too little justice (or even simple apologies) to those left dead or injured.

We are a real, vibrant, beautiful city – not a collection of suburbs.  We need to behave as such.

SANDAG is doubling down on the failed policies of 50 years of planning and building roadways in our region.  More and wider roads, more cars, more congestion.  Less open space, weaker communities, a weaker economy for both households and government, and more deaths and negative health impacts.  This is the most recent example of a car first-last-and-only approach to transportation.

San Diego has many natural advantages that blunt the effects of these poor policies.  These will not last forever.  Cities such as Vancouver, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Paris, London, Stockholm, and many others showcase the real, tangible benefits derived from creating a livable and safe streetscape and city.

We need a firm, meaningful commitment to healthy, safe, and responsible transport.  Cars and bicycles are not equivalent transport.  Bicycles are better for safety, health, wealth, and should be put at a higher priority than cars.  Chicago Department of Transportation does exactly this by using the following order of priority for transportation:

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Public Transportation
  3. Bicycles
  4. Private Automobiles
ped - chi
Chicago gets it right.

San Diego and SANDAG should take a page from this leading example and do the same, backed up by the allocation of funding and policies.  The opposite is the reality.

The lion’s share of all money goes to cars and roadways for cars while all other modes are made to beg for scraps or sue to compel what should be the course being set by our own leaders.  We need to create a true network for bikes, starting with University Avenue.  It will be a major step forward to improve our city and the individual well-being of our citizens.

If SANDAG is unable to implement the Uptown bicycle corridor with real, safe bicycle infrastructure throughout this $40 million should be moved to a different neighborhood where such a project can be realized.  If you can’t walk the walk, stop talking the talk.  Greenwashing is not a substitute for responsible, forward-thinking action.

More than two and a half years have passed since $200 million was promised for bike projects by SANDAG.  77 miles of bikeways in 42 projects was promised to be finished within ten years.    Where do we stand today?  Without a single foot of paint striped and the first project gutted and providing a maximum of three blocks of protected bike lanes.  A poor omen for the future projects, unless the desire to see a bicycle network was not genuine in the first place.  Hopefully the remaining projects will see real, on-the-ground results in quick order.  I would not hold my breath.

Bike to Work Day – Postponed to Friday, 5/29 (Meet Me at 28th & B!)

NOTE: Edited due to postponement of Bike to Work Day to Friday, May 29th.


Friday, 5/29, is the postponed date for Bike to Work Day in San Diego and many other places across the U.S.  (Of course, there’s no reason that every day can’t be bike to work day but that’s largely reserved for the ultra-awesome.)  I’m going to be hosting a “pit stop” on behalf of BikeSD in Golden Hill at the corner of B Street and 28th Street.  The pit stop will be open from 6 AM to 9 AM.

2015-05-13 19.25.37
Up for grabs – official T-shirt, Clif Bars, Zico coconut water, Suja juice, magazine, bike lights, and more!
BikeToWorkDay_2015_-_SD_Bean_Bar
Stop by our pit stop, get 25% off at SD Bean Bar Downtown (next to Central Library). Sweet!

You should come by and enjoy free shirts, snacks, drinks, and other goodies.  There is potential for rain in the forecast so I’m also packing extra tents you can relax under while enjoying the cool morning with other fun people.  I’ll also be tallying everyone stopping by the pit stop so help me represent and top the attendance list.  (No, I don’t think there’s a prize for that but I’m crossing my fingers for official bragging rights.)

Check out these photos for a sampling of what’s waiting for you at 28th & B on May 29th.  Even if you’re not going to work, cruise on over and hang out for a bit!  May is also “Bike Month” in San Diego and BikeSD is hosting a Bike Month Bash party on May 30th to celebrate.  If you’re not already biking this month, start today and you’ll have something to celebrate on the 30th.  Register today!

2015-05-13 19.25.45
Some quality reading material you can read while pretending to work!
2015-05-13 19.27.35
I organize the annual Bikes & Beers SD event so you can score a free sticker and glass. Exclusive to 28th & B pit stop!

Stop Package Theft – Simple Steps You Can Take To Avoid Losses

With the rise of Amazon, Etsy, and other Internet businesses there has been a marked increase for many in the amount of package deliveries.  The convenience of home delivery and the vast array of products online, many at discount prices, has been a boon for customers around the world.  Unfortunately, these deliveries have also presented a new easy target for theft in many places.  That has been the case in my neighborhood, so I wanted to share some tools I use to reduce the risk of theft.

This man wants to steal your packaged trinkets. Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saxonmoseley/288741595/
This man wants to steal your packaged trinkets. Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saxonmoseley/288741595/

 

Sign up for package delivery alerts

  • FedEx – Create and account, “My Profile”, via the link at the top right for a multitude of options regarding your packages.  Use the “Delivery Manager” to set specific actions for when a package arrives so you don’t miss it.  My method is to receive a text message when the package is delivered – it usually arrives within a minute of the package delivery.  You can also do other things like set a Vacation Hold to avoid packages sitting on the porch while you’re gone.
  • UPS – Create an account via link at top “New User” for options similar to those available on FedEx, though I find the FedEx site more polished and with more options.  Use “Delivery Alerts” to set specific actions for package deliveries.  As with FedEx, I use text alerts when a package arrives.  If you prefer to know in advance, you can get email or text alerts the day of or day before a package arrives.
  • USPS – USPS does not currently have the same breadth of tools as UPS and FedEx, but you can still create an account with some useful tools.  Use the “Register / Sign In” link at the top right to start.  I primarily use USPS to hold mail delivery while we’re out of town.  Hopefully they’ll add package delivery options in the near future.
  • OnTrac In San Diego, OnTrac completes a fair amount of deliveries for Amazon though it seems recently that USPS is doing more of that work.  Their website options are very limited, and from conversations with company representatives they do not have similar tools to those for other delivery providers.

Know your neighbors

  • No one knows your habits and schedule like your neighbors.  Creepy, right?  Exchange your contact information with your neighbors and be a nice person and they’ll probably be happy to pick up a package that’s sitting on your porch if you’d like.  If you have the delivery notifications mentioned above set up, you can even call them when there’s a package at your place.  Your neighbor probably doesn’t have a formal registration system, but cookies are usually a good starting point.

Install a security camera

  • I installed a security camera above our front door to record anyone coming to our home or passing by.  It’s also visible from the street so hopefully acts as a deterrent to those considering approaching with ill intent.  I opted for the Dropcam Pro due to ease of installation, price point, and low monthly fee structure (which is optional).  It cost me $149 plus $10 per month for 7-day online recording, so I can review the tape and save clips if anything happens.  The price per month per camera decreases quite a bit if you add additional cameras.
Our front door camera and grumpy old man sign.
Our front door camera and grumpy old man sign.

 

Report thefts that do occur

  • If you do have a package taken, or other items stolen make sure to report it to the police.  Chances are that you won’t get your item back, but the theft will be entered in the official system and may result in increased patrols or better data for the police to address area issues.  If they don’t know, they can’t help.

Have you had packages stolen from your property?  Have other tips to avoid this problem?  Share them, I’d love to hear.  Cheers!