Operacion Luz Lights up the Night

On Monday, November 30 2015, a day on which the sun set at 4:49pm, a handful of volunteers from local community groups were distributing free sets of bike lights to riders. Monument Impact and Bike East Bay joined forces with Bike Concord, helping to buy and distribute bike lights to riders without any.

Bicycling at night can be dangerous – especially without good lights. In Concord, where bike shops are few and far between, many people ride without a light. The event, called Operación Luz, was the first of its kind in Concord and specifically aimed to help low-income community members who ride out of necessity.

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Monument Impact, Bike East Bay and Bike Concord are all part of the HEAL zone initiative (Healthy Eating, Active Living) designed to help people in under-served communities make healthy choices.

Two dozen bicyclists and curious community members stopped by to talk to us. In addition to giving lights to those who needed them, we also spread the word about the brand new bike lanes coming to Detroit Ave this winter. Construction on the city of Concord’s first ever green bike lanes are set to be completed early 2016.

As we wrapped up at 7pm, we still had a couple dozen more lights. We will be distributing them come 2016 at future education and community events!

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Concord Boulevard and Arnold Industrial Way Community Meeting Recap

On Wednesday, July 29 the city of Concord held a small community workshop to present draft plans for a Class III Bike route on Concord Boulevard and Class II bike lanes on Arnold Industrial Way.

The city’s initial proposal was anchored on the goal of keeping the striping similar to its current configuration. As such, the stretch of Concord Bd would see the simple addition of sharrows, and Arnold Industrial Way would receive 6′ bike lanes, as called for in the Bike Master Plan.

However, both of these streets are incredibly wide in sections, and have speed limits of 35MPH. As such we see potential for some NACTO guidelines to be applied and for the city to do much more than the bare minimum in accommodating bicyclists.

Public comments at the workshop focused on four main topics:

  1. Sharrows are incompatible and unsafe when applied to a street with a 35mph speed limit. We suggested narrowing the lane widths to encourage calmer traffic by design and asked the consultants to study whether adding a bike lane on one side of the street would be feasible.
  2. Crosswalks: The practice of discouraging pedestrian crossings by leaving uncontrolled crossings unmarked is not a valid safety measure (NACTO). Three sided crosswalks are a frustration for pedestrians, making them cross a street three times (more exposure to vehicles) or “jaywalk” which in this case is not illegal but not made safe, either.
  3. On Arnold Industrial Way, the traffic lanes are incredibly wide, sometimes 17′ wide even, with an 11′ painted median. Yes, some of this width is to facilitate turning movements for trucks, but there should be some room in there for buffers! The topic of narrowing traffic lanes to increase safety and reduce speeds has been coming up quite a bit recently, and CityLab recently published a good article on why narrow lanes are better.
  4. The section of Concord Blvd leading up to Parkside, where cars are merging from multiple different lanes and going very fast around the corner, is a huge issue. We have asked staff and consultants to look at how to make this a safer corridor. One suggestion was to reduce the Sunset Blvd section leading to Concord Blvd to one lane, however were told that such a change might require some additional studies with the air district.

There were some very good questions asked last night and really positive conversations. Thank you everyone who came out!

Below are some additional pictures of the draft plans – click on them to zoom in. Note: some traffic lane widths include 8′ parking lanes

Note: some traffic lane widths include 8' parking lanes

2015-07-29 17.32.11concord-blvd-draft-plan-3

Project schedule: 

Complete Environmental Document – October 1, 2015

Complete Plans – November 1, 2015

Public Bidding – February 2016

Construction – April-June 2016

Project Funding: 

Federal (OBAG) – $757,000

Local Funding Sources – $370,000

Total – $1,127,000

Funding Allocation by Task

Engineering and Environmental – $103,000

Right of Way – $42,000

Construction – $982,000

Total – $1,127,000