Biking to work is a great way to fit exercise into the routine of an adult’s day, but there are other ways to improve your and your kids’ health with bicycling. We have seen the traffic jams around school, but are there any other ways to get kids who are too young to ride their own bikes to school? What about running errands? Here are some testimonials from residents of central Contra Costa County (not currently known for its great bike infrastructure) who use bikes, cargo bikes, tandems, and trailers to accomplish these and many other tasks.
This afternoon as planned, Kenji, Smitty, and I (Claire) met with outgoing City of Concord Transportation Manager Ray Kuzbari to discuss improvements on Salvio Street from Port Chicago Highway to Colfax Street. Currently, the lanes on Salvio Street end at Port Chicago Highway. This, combined with car-optimized signal timing and right turning traffic make the last two blocks difficult to traverse by bike.
We were pleasantly surprised to hear Mr. Kuzbari suggest for future capital improvement dedicated bike lanes (with removal of on-street parking to accommodate same), improved signal loops, and potentially Concord’s first bike box. (In the short term, we can expect longer light cycles so bicyclists have enough time to get through the intersection.) This would change the current plan for Salvio from Colfax to Port Chicago Hwy in the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Safe Routes to Transit Plan from Class III sharrows (as discussed in today’s earlier post) to Class II dedicated bike lanes. (The last block from Colfax to Grant would remain Class III as currently indicated in the BPSRT Plan.) This is a far cry from the stencil-and-a-sign treatment originally planned by the City!
The bad news is that the pavement on Salvio between Colfax and East has deteriorated to the point that it would have to be replaced prior to installing the new detector loops and repainting – a costly repair, and one that will take considerable time to realize. Realistically, it may be a couple of years before this project is implemented. But the good news is that persistent, targeted advocacy makes progress!
You may have ridden in the new bicycle lanes on Salvio St between Port Chicago Hwy and Parkside Dr. Aren’t they nice? However, they don’t connect all the way west to Todos Santos yet. So far you have to ride alongside motor traffic without separation for the couple of blocks west of Port Chicago Hwy. That’s enough to deter a lot of people from bicycling to Todos Santos and persuade them to drive instead, taking up more car parking space and increasing traffic congestion. (If you’ve ever been to the Thursday night Music in the Park series, you’ll be particularly familiar with this scenario.)
Unfortunately, BC learned recently that City staff have no intention of extending the lanes to close that gap. The plan is sharrows and signage, which as you probably know from experience, are just about meaningless for safety. We’ve discussed the matter with several members of City Council and believe there is support to direct staff to get serious and close this gap, which should never have been difficult in the first place.
BC Advocacy Committee members will be meeting at the site with Transportation Manager Ray Kuzbari late this afternoon to discuss options. Wish us luck!
From the Contra Costa County Transportation Authority:
Let’s work together to make bicycling and walking more enjoyable in our community. The Contra Costa Transportation Authority is updating the Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and we want your input.
Visit KeepContraCostaMoving.net to get involved with the planning process. Take the survey, leave comments and suggestions on the interactive map, and stay up to date with events, meetings, and the latest news! Read More »
On Saturday, March 18th, the city of Concord held a “Community Reuse Project Kick-off Specific Plan Community Workshop” to update the public on the next phase of the Concord Naval Weapons Station Reuse Project with representatives of the presumptive master developer (Lennar Concord, LLC) and its re-use specific partner FivePoint Communities Management. Also in attendance were consultants, city staff, and representatives from the East Bay Regional Parks. It was also an opportunity to receive public input, which was provided in the standing-room-only Wisteria Room at the Senior Center. For such a large group, several consistent themes emerged: many connections to transit, easy biking and walking, good jobs/living wages, affordable housing, community services (especially for the homeless and elderly), and abundant recreational opportunities. What was not wanted: a lot of retail and car traffic. This last will be a challenge given the scope of the project (12,000 residences in the final phase of development) without a robust commitment to active transportation at the outset of the project. The blank nature and scale of this site represent an ideal opportunity to bring best-in-class bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to Concord. This means no more paint-only bike lanes, or mixing bicycles and pedestrians together. Instead, the Reuse Project offers the opportunity for full mode separation – motor, cycle, and pedestrian traffic each in a space physically separated from the others – both along streets and at intersections, a recipe which has yielded bicycle per-trip mode shares in excess of 30% where it has been put into routine practice.