I recently spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony of a new portion of San Diego’s Bayshore Bikeway in Chula Vista. The Bayshore Bikeway is a 24-mile bicycle facility that circles the San Diego Bay.
This new segment will enhance access to San Diego Bay and allow cyclists from all over the county to experience all of the public assets on the Chula Vista waterfront.
As a cyclist myself, and for San Diegans wanting a safe bicycle route for commuting and recreation, this is much anticipated news. Not to mention, for those of us who view biking as transportation as well as recreation, the entire Bayshore Bikeway Plan is a cheap, and environmentally friendly way for San Diegans to get around.
The addition of the 1.8-mile stretch in Chula Vista means that soon 14.3 miles of the 24-mile pathway will be dedicated solely to bikes. And when the entire Bayshore Bikeway is completed, cyclists will be able to hop on their bikes at the Embarcadero in San Diego and travel all the way around the bay to Coronado on a bike path entirely separated from the roadway.
San Diego is leading the way and also expected to be the first of 15 coastal California counties to complete work on their portion of the developing California Coastal Trail, a continuous bicycle thoroughfare stretching from the Oregon border to Border Field State Park in San Ysidro. I hope our movement will encourage other cities to get moving, and entice more bicyclists to enjoy our beautiful bayfront.
Last week, the Port hosted a delegation from the Obama administration to discuss increasing trade through the President’s National Export Initiative. Suresh Kumar is the Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion in the United States Department of Commerce. He also brought Matt Anderson and Julia Rauner Guerrero, who are Commerce Department trade specialists based here in San Diego.
The goal of the initiative is to double U.S. exports, from $1.57 trillion in 2009 to $3.14 trillion in 2015. That’s estimated to create 2 million new jobs. There has been some progress, as exports have risen from about 11% of our Gross Domestic Product to 12%. But there is a long way to go. In countries like India and China, exports represent well over 20% of GDP; in Germany, it’s near 40%.
In the past few years, the port has made good progress in recovering from the worldwide downturn in shipping that resulted from the economic slowdown. But we at the meeting all recognized some obstacles that extend beyond our region.
First, the nation has a backlog in infrastructure investment of more than a trillion dollars – the roads, rail and machinery that get our goods off of the roads into the port and into the vessels. Even more fundamentally, we have to start to think of ports in the same way we think of highways or airports, as a national network, rather than leaving decisions about contracts and investment to each individual port in isolation.
Taking advantage of the Export Initiative will be a big part of our outreach to Washington, and a big part of our internal planning at the Port over the next year. As we work to improve trade in San Diego, we will be a big advocate for a nationwide strategy for ports and trade.