Letter to City Council on the Veranda Shopping Center project

Bike Concord has submitted a position letter to City Council on the new shopping center proposed for the former Chevron property on Diamond Blvd (next to The Willows). In short, we are concerned about the new motor traffic the project will generate and impacts to bicycle safety as a result. Mitigation measures already proposed in the project are minimal. Our letter proposes additional measures which would do considerably more.

ALL HANDS ON DECK – Please attend Planning Commission on Wednesday, August 3

ALL HANDS ON DECK for next week’s Planning Commission meeting.  It’s on Wednesday, August 3 at 6:30pm in the City Council chamber.

For the past year in conversations with staff, at Planning Commission, and in front of City Council, Bike Concord has been asking for one crucial change in the Master Plan draft:  the addition of an explicit statement in the Master Plan that General Plan Policy T-1.9.5 (Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety over vehicle speed and level-of-service at intersections and along roadways) means the recommended studies in the Master Plan cannot use possible impacts to motor traffic as a basis to rule out bicycle or pedestrian facilities that are necessary for safety.

Without such a commitment, we can be sure most of the studies recommended in the Master Plan will end just as most street projects have in this city so far: a conclusion that safe bicycle infrastructure is “infeasible” because it could cause motor traffic backup.  Minimizing motor traffic backup (“level-of-service”) has been and remains a higher priority in practice for the City than bicycle safety, in spite of its official General Plan policy to the contrary in T-1.9.5.

No commitment to break with the City’s history of ignoring Policy T-1.9.5 has been added to this final draft. We will be sending an official policy letter to Planning Commission in advance of the meeting, calling on them to adopt a resolution recommending to City Council that the commitment be added. Bike Concord will not endorse this Master Plan without that commitment. If you support Bike Concord’s work for safe, convenient bicycle travel in our city, please help us pack the room on August 3 (Wednesday next week).  Your presence is crucial.

After the Planning Commission meeting, our focus shifts to City Council itself, for their final Master Plan meeting on September 27.  We will provide details on that meeting, our preparation for it, and what you can do to help as the date approaches.

Final Master Plan draft available

The final draft of Concord’s new Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Safe Routes to Transit Master Plan is now available to the public:  main document, appendices, and design guidelines.

It will now go through its last three venues for review:

  1. Final meeting of the Plan Advisory Committee this Monday, July 25 at 5:30pm in the Permit Center Conference Room.
  2. Planning Commission on Wednesday, August 3 at 6:30pm in the City Council chamber.
  3. City Council on Tuesday, September 27 at 5:30pm in the City Council chamber. Except in the unlikely event of serious objections by a Councilmember, Council will officially adopt the Master Plan as City policy.

These meetings are listed on the public Bike Concord calendar.

Along with other community organizations and members of the public, Bike Concord and our partner Bike East Bay have been participating extensively in the Master Plan process for the past year and a half. We have clear targets for what we want to see in the final Plan in order to realize our mission of making bicycling a safe, convenient, and mainstream part of Concord’s transportation system. We submitted and discussed with staff an extensive list of proposed changes to the previous public draft which was released in April.  Bike Concord’s Advocacy Committee and Bike East Bay will be meeting this Sunday morning, July 24, to discuss this final draft and determine our position on it.  If you would like to join that meeting, please email advocacy@bikeconcord.org.

Background on the Master Plan process from Bike Concord’s point of view is available on this blog.

Veranda Shopping Center and Downtown Corridors Plan at Planning Commission meeting tomorrow

Concord’s Planning Commission has a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday July 20 at 6:30pm in the Council chamber at 1950 Parkside Dr.  Two items on the agenda are of interest to Bike Concord. Agenda: http://www.ci.concord.ca.us/citygov/agendas/bc/plc/2016/07202016.pdf

  • VII.2 – Veranda Shopping Center. This is the proposed new shopping center on Diamond Blvd on the site of the former Chevron offices. Bike Concord organizers have given comments to City planning staff and Design Review Board asking for the project to make some kind of provision to connect its planned secure bicycle parking to the nearby Iron Horse Trail, possibly via a future easement through the existing Willows Shopping Center.
  • VII.3 – Downtown Corridors Plan. Bike Concord has given many rounds of extensive input on this already, and Planning Division staff have made a lot of changes that we asked for.

This is not a high-priority meeting unless you are on BC’s Advocacy Committee or have a particular interest in these projects, but you may wish to attend to get an understanding of the role of the Planning Commission, so it will be clear to you for future projects that you’d like to influence.

Canal/IHT Loop Ride to the Farmers’ Market

Bike Concord member Ford Tivakul will lead a short family-friendly group ride tomorrow morning (Tuesday July 12) at 10am from Concord BART.  Here are the details.

Speed: 8 to 10mph
Distance: ~12 miles, and is mostly flat.
Route: Meet at Concord BART Station, will take the Canal Trail to the Iron Horse Trail (will pass by Pleasant Hill near BART Station if someone gets tired) and continue on the IHT back to Todos Santos Plaza to arrive at the Farmers’ Market.

Bring: H2O, snacks, personal first aid, patch kits, xtra tubes, etc

*No one is left behind.
*Will make stops as needed.
*30% + chance of rain cancels ride, check weather till 9AM.
*Bring children w/helmets along in a child seat, trailer, co-pilot, or cargo bike!
*Part of ride is on streets.

If you have mechanical skills, please volunteer to join this ride and help with fixing flats, and/or doing bike safety checks before take off.