Meet with Our State Rep

Would you like the chance to influence active transportation funding without making the trek to Sacramento?  Your opportunity is here!  Bike Concord members will be meeting with CA-14 Assembly Member Tim Grayson (formerly of Concord City Council) on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM at  the district office located at 2151 Salvio Street (the Salvio Pacheco office building on Todos Santos Plaza) in Suite 395.  We will be urging the Asm. Grayson to support the governor’s proposed budget, which earmarks $100 million in active transporation projects.  This means local projects for bicycles, pedestrians and transit could get the funding needed to become a reality.

Meeting TONIGHT: CAC for CNWS Reuse Project

As we wrote here two weeks ago, the first meeting of the Community Advisory Committee for the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) Reuse Project will take place tonight at 6:00 pm in the Council Chamber at the Concord Civic Center at 1950 Parkside Drive**.

We are now entering a phase of paramount importance in our efforts to ensure that the City and Reuse Project Phase One master developer Lennar–Five Point commit to guaranteeing not only routine but superb accommodation for historically neglected modes—pedestrian, bicycling, and transit—with the aim of securing a Specific Plan that calls for community design that incorporates from the ground up safe, convenient, and comfortable access for these modes.

Following over a decade of debate and initial planning, the looming development of Phase One affords us the first concrete opportunity to advocate for the inclusion of first-rate accommodation for walking, bicycling, and transit. As noted in our previous post two weeks ago on this subject, Bike Concord is in stalwart support of the full implementation of Complete Streets principles for the CNWS Reuse Project. Reuse of this site consistent with Complete Streets will allow for the unprecedented opportunity for Concord to achieve full modal separation on streets from project inception, with dedicated space for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, and motorists.

Although we don’t expect tonight’s meeting to delve into much, if any, wonkish discussion of Phase One—staff will present an overview of the CNWS Reuse Project planning process as well as outline the role and responsibilities of the newly formed CAC and the next steps; it’s the “first day of school,” if you will—for those of you able to attend tonight, your presence and involvement is most certainly welcome for the start of this exciting new chapter in the long and storied evolution of the former CNWS property.

(** For those of you arriving by bicycle and are holders of a BikeLink card, secure parking is available in a pod of four lockers a mere two-minute walk away from the Council Chamber entrance. The lockers are located on the north side of the Civic Center directly across from the entrance to the Concord Library on Salvio Street.)

We hope to see you there.

BPAC applications now open

The City of Concord is now accepting applications from residents who would like to serve on the City’s first permanent Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb 17 at 5pm.

The BPAC will review the City’s transportation capital improvement projects (CIPs) and advise staff on how projects could better serve bicycle and pedestrian traffic. There will be a lot to comment on. Initial CIP designs have so far tended to put a lower priority on the safety of non-motor traffic than on the expeditious movement of motor traffic, in spite of the City’s explicit policy commitment to the contrary.

Reversing the City’s transportation priorities

sint-annastraat-nijmegen-netherlands

The image above is a randomly chosen street in a randomly chosen town in the Netherlands. It shows bicycle traffic in a protected space, separate from the space for pedestrian traffic, and including riders of various ages, including a senior who evidently feels safe and confident in carrying a considerable amount of cargo with her bicycle.

This is possible in Concord if we set the right priorities in our street designs.

Currently the City’s effective priorities for street design and performance, which render difficult or impossible a vision like the one you see in this image, are:

1. Maintain level-of-service (LOS) D or better for motor traffic. This means no more than 35–55 sec of delay at signalized intersections, or 25–35 sec at unsignalized intersections.
2. Provide safe movement for all modes, including bicycle traffic and pedestrian traffic.

Bike Concord’s major advocacy goal, for which we hope for support from recently-elected Councilmembers, is to reverse the order of these priorities. This ordering is harmful to our quality of life in numerous ways. It is also contrary to the City’s commitment in General Plan Policy T-1.9.5, as well as many other commitments and promises the City has made.

sint-annastraat-nijmegen-netherlands-intersection

And here is the intersection just behind the point of view in the first image. This is not some headline cutting-edge project in the Netherlands. It’s an ordinary intersection, representative of many others. It provides ways for pedestrian and bicycle traffic to move through without conflict with motor traffic, including left turns.

A key thing to understand about Dutch intersections like this is that motor traffic is not permitted to turn right during the same phase when bicycle and pedestrian traffic are proceeding straight through the intersection to the right of motor traffic. In other words, right hooks at intersections, one of the biggest causes of car-bicycle and car-pedestrian collisions, are eliminated.

The obstacle to eliminating the dangerous practice of permissive right turns by motorists which is standard practice here in California and in Concord is that permissive right turns reduce motor vehicle queuing and delay, although at a major cost in safety for non-motor traffic. They are therefore consistent with the current effective priorities of both the City of Concord and Caltrans.

It’s that ordering of priorities that we have to change.

First CNWS Community Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday, Jan 17

The first meeting (PDF) of the nascent Community Advisory Committee for the Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Project is Tuesday, January 17, at 6:00 pm in the City Council Chamber at 1950 Parkside Drive.

The CAC is a group of 11 Concord residents (plus 3 alternates) selected by City Council to give resident input on the Reuse Project progress and plans, and to assist in drafting the Specific Plan which will serve as the guide for Phase 1 development.  They will meet regularly on the third Tuesday of every month.  All meetings are open to the public.

Bike Concord’s position is that all streets in the project should fully reflect Complete Streets principles.  To that end, we support streets which include full separation of modes (pedestrian, bicycle, and motor) not only along roadways but also at intersections.  This means separate travel space for each mode, demarcated not just by painted lines but by vertical separation elements such as posts, landscaped planting strips, and/or grade separation (e.g., raised bikeways).  Another key element is the provision for protected movements (e.g., left turns) through intersections for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, separated from each other and from motor vehicle traffic.

Given the blank slate, for all intents and purposes, presented by the Reuse Area property, there is no practical reason for the City not to commit fully to the transformation of the former CNWS into a sustainable, vibrant addition to our existing community, and, in doing so, foster a haven for walkers and bicyclists.