Minutes from the second PAC meeting

Here are Bike Concord’s minutes from the second meeting of the Plan Advisory Committee, which was held tonight.

The PowerPoint presentation referred to is available online from the City: http://www.cityofconcord.org/…/tr…/04272015_presentation.pdf

Discussion on the crucial point of bikeable arterial streets vs. side routes only has been put in bold below.

Committee chair and Vice-Mayor Laura Hoffmeister opened the meeting at 5:37pm.

All members were present except Planning Commissioner Carlyn Obringer.

There were no public comments on items not on the agenda.

There were no amendments to the agenda.

Mark Sinclair said there had been no meeting of the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Committee since the last PAC meeting, so no alternate representative to the PAC had been appointed.

Carlyn Obringer arrived. Planning Commission had not appointed their alternate member to the PAC, but would do so at their next meeting.

Andy Mogensen introduced Jennifer Donlon-Wyant of Alta Planning & Design. He mentioned the April 8 Community Workshop and the biking and walking tour.

Staff is drafting a working paper on their community needs assessment.

Jennifer introduced herself and summarized what she would be talking about.

Infrastructure needs. One of 1st things Alta does in a bike/ped plan is identify existing infrastructure. Showed a map of bike lane classes, bike parking, and schools in Concord.

Jennifer noted that Concord is a hub-and-spoke network rather than a grid.

Carlyn asked why Willow Pass Rd et al were not included on the bicycle facilities map. Jennifer said this was because they had no bike facilities at all.

Next map was a sidewalk inventory. Red lines showed gaps in the sidewalk line.

LH asked for clarification on what a gap meant here. Jennifer said any location where a sidewalk was missing on either side of the street was marked as a gap. LH said this assumed that all streets were supposed to have a sidewalk on both sides. Jennifer clarified that the assumption was that sidewalks could be present, regardless of existing intentions.

Next map was bicycle-involved crashes. In response to a question from LH, Jennifer said this included any collision involving a bicycle, regardless of whether against a fixed object, whose fault, etc. LH suggested that the Police Dept might have more granular data to disaggregate these variables.

Next map was pedestrian-involved crashes. A large number were clustered in downtown.

Figures shown:
Citywide workshop: 60 attendees.
Community survey: 640 responses.
Bicycling and walking tour: 21 participants, 15 bike and a few walking.

Showed identified needs and challenges from the Community Workshop. See slide “Citywide Workshop” in the presentation. (“Global” means applying to both walking and bicycling.)

Points learned from bicycling and walking tour. See slide.

LH suggested that perceived short crossing times might in some cases be relieved by showing the crossing time countdown on the pedestrian signal.

Slide “Next steps”.

Jennifer invited questions and comments from the committee.

LH said it would be helpful for pedestrian crash data to be disaggregated by type (vs. car, bicycle, etc.) to correlate with bicycle crash data. This would show the proportion of causes of collisions to help know how to prevent them.

LH asked if Public Works has an inventory that would show where pedestrian crossings do and do not display countdowns. Andy was not sure, but noted that countdowns are standard, so signals were likely to be gradually replaced with them during routine maintenance.

LH asked what input Alta wanted from the committee on sidewalk gaps. Jennifer said any input, e.g. additional locations that should have sidewalks. LH reiterated that some of the streets marked were not designed to have sidewalks on both sides.

Sergio asked if Farm Bureau Rd was a displayed sidewalk gap. Jennifer said no. Andy acknowledged that the sidewalk gap map is still incomplete. LH announced that Farm Bureau Rd is scheduled to get sidewalks soon.

Mark Sinclair pointed out that small grid streets downtown (e.g. Bonifacio) lack sidewalks. LH announced that Salvio St is scheduled to get a sidewalk from downtown to City Hall.

LH asked what types of street had been looked at for sidewalk gaps. Andy said collector and arterial streets had been the focus. Many small local streets had been omitted due to how many of them there are.

Carlyn noted that this inventory had been started two years ago when the City’s complete streets policy was being formed. How are sidewalk installation priorities set? Jennifer said many possible infrastructure projects would be identified, then prioritized according to specified criteria. Common criteria include: Near a school, identified corridor… LH noted that specific grant criteria could raise some possibilities higher in the queue when such grants become available.

LH asked for a summary of currently scheduled capital improvement projects that are relevant to the Master Plan. Andy said the map was just for reference during the plan, and was not a long-term project, but he was working with CIP staff to correlate this data. There is a spreadsheet of CIPs available online.

Laura Simpson (Planning Manager) thought an existing conditions map is still useful. Also noted that policies in the Master Plan will strongly affect project priorities. LH said that specific grant criteria might still override policy priorities.

Jennifer said GIS data will help identify factors like proximity to schools. Andy said this will be an aid to prioritization, but not a direct determiner of it.

Sergio observed that Concord Blvd has a bike lane that disappears in one of the most critical areas, next to Concord High School. This is a main route. Other arterials are similar. LH said all that could be done on such streets is to add sharrows (!).

Sergio said that when a lot of cyclists and pedestrians are using a route, it should be focused on, e.g. the crossing under 242 and other high-use points on major roads.

LH asked if overlaps had been found between the word frequency lists for bicycle and walking input. Jennifer said not yet, but they are working on it.

Carlyn reiterated Sergio’s point about the difficulty of bicycling down arterial streets like Willow Pass Rd. Making these streets usable for bicycle traffic is part of the goal of the Master Plan. LH suggested that alternative routes might be possible apart from arterials.

Carlyn noted that she is more of a pedestrian than a cyclist, and requested the thoughts of those who ride more about the convenience of side routes vs arterials. She noted that in the packet there was some public input, e.g. Bike Concord in favor of creating safe bicycle routes on arterial streets, as well as from a Mr. Bartlett in favor of routes parallel to arterials.

Carlyn asked for Jennifer’s view as the consultant for insights from other cities where bicycle transportation is more mainstream, and how newcomers from those places could be accommodated in Concord.

Jennifer said other suburban communities have found ways to fit bike lanes on their arterials. E.g. by narrowing car lanes, moving car parking. SF has added dedicated bike lanes on Fell and Oak St, but this took years to accomplish. Bicyclists vary in confidence and desire for direct routes. Some prefer direct routes, others routes with less car traffic. Jennifer has worked to include both types simultaneously in other communities.

Sergio said a friend had recently pointed out something to him. This friend would commute from Berkeley to Concord by BART. He took Willow Pass Rd for a while, but then started taking the Iron Horse Trail from Pleasant Hill BART to avoid Willow Pass Rd. This is an example of the difficulty of reaching destinations directly. LH noted that Concord’s off-street bicycle routes are of high quality.

Carlyn noted that the current work on the Master Plan is setting standards for how the new Naval Weapons Station development will look in the future.

Jennifer described agenda items for the next PAC meeting: goals, objectives, and priorities. This will be a preliminary discussion before the July 30 Community Workshop, focused on policy.

LH noted that Mr. Bartlett’s comments included some low-level suggestions for street issue fixes. Andy said the Master Plan is a high-level policy document and does not reach these details. Public input is and will be provided to the committee as received, without alteration.

LH asked when a draft of the needs assessment would be available. Andy said it was in progress and would not be provided to the committee in full form, but would be summarized for them in a memo before the June 22 PAC meeting.

Carlyn said the April 18 pedestrian tour with Alta was very well planned. The pedestrian facilitators were accommodating in taking input on points not originally planned.

Andy announced Bike to Work Day, May 14.

On the sidewalk gap map, LH asked if connectivity to parks had been considered. Jennifer said yes, as well as community centers.

A demand model is being developed which predicts likely desired destinations and origins for bicycling and walking based on where people live, shop, work, and recreate.

Coire Reilly from Contra Costa County Health Department made a comment about the community needs map. Suggested leaving some prints at the library for people to mark up. Andy said they are available on the City’s website for people to print.

Smitty said Bike Concord will also invite markup at the Bike Tent.

Kenji announced Bike Concord’s priority voting map (map.bikeconcord.org).

Smitty announced Bike Concord’s Bike to Work Day event: May 14, 5:30-8:00pm. Salvio St will be closed between Mt Diablo and Grant St.

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