It’s been a busy few months at Coord! As part of our initiative to build out our Open Curbs database as well as augment our Curbs API with curb data from additional cities, I’ve been running point on setting up curb surveys across the U.S. As any traveler knows, every city has its own charm, something that makes it extraordinary and differentiates it from even its closest neighbor. Then it comes as no surprise that this uniqueness carries all the way down to the curb and how cities have come to regulate it.
The first stop on my cross-country curb tour was San Diego, thanks to our successful bid to join the San Diego Start-up in Residence (STIR) program. We worked with the City of San Diego to define which curb features would be most valuable for their municipal departments. After solidifying the requirements, we partnered with the awesome parking and urban planning teams at Kimley-Horn to manage our surveying teams as they captured curb data with the Surveyor app.
Here’s what stood out from my time in San Diego:
San Diego is a fan of using stickers wrapped around meters as parking signs. I’d never seen this before, nor have I since. While these stickers have long been a source of headaches for San Diego drivers, they also presented a challenge for our surveyors, who typically had to take multiple photos at various angles to clearly capture all of the text. (To the left is an example)
We encountered an unexpected curb paint color: black. It turns out, San Diego uses black curb paint to signify curbside parking reserved for carshare vehicles. (Image below.)
San Diego has radically changed the regulations on a few streets in the Gaslamp District, one of the main areas for nightlife in the city. On Friday and Saturday nights here, the regulations only allow you to stop for 3 minutes, effectively making this entire area a pickup/drop-off zone.
San Diego has embraced the scooter craze—or at least hasn’t forced them to be removed. There were five different scooter companies represented, by my count. One of them, Wheels, even lets you play your own music on it via Bluetooth speaker. Nothing like playing David Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel” while scooting around Little Italy checking in with surveyors!
And with a full week of surveying, there were a few stats that stood out:
Our teams surveyed nearly 90 miles of curbs, collecting over 21,000 features (parking signs, ADA ramps, curb paint etc.). That’s a lot of photos and classification!
Black curb paint was the rarest of all of the features we surveyed. Black curbs take up just 194 feet—around 0.04% of the total curb space in the greater downtown San Diego area.
The greater downtown San Diego area has over 1,200 ADA curb ramps, or about one curb ramp for every 1.15 curbs.
It’s hard to tell from these numbers exactly how compliant or ADA-friendly San Diego is, but this is where Coord’s Curb Toolkit comes into play! We’re in the process of layering the municipal codes for San Diego on top of the curb asset data. Once we do, we’ll be able to analyze ADA compliance and where the city might be able to improve accessibility.
While I was there for only 48 hours, I got to taste and drink a good variety of what “America’s Finest City” has to offer. The salted caramel donut from Donut Bar made for an excellent mid-day snack before a late lunch of tacos from the pop-up stand inside of James Coffee Co. And, memorably, I watched the Oscars over a crisp Thorn Brewing Barrio Lager and a burger at The Balboa Bar & Grill.