The Master Plan draft was made public about a week ago (main document, appendices). This is a policy document which will shape Concord’s investments in bicycle and pedestrian safety and convenience for the next twenty years.
An inadequate Master Plan
Unfortunately, the current draft has serious shortcomings. The biggest obstacle to bicycling in Concord is the danger of our high-traffic streets. Protected bike lanes (what Caltrans calls “Class IV”) and protected intersections are the current best practice for bicycle safety on high-traffic streets, and they are what we need in order for bicycle transportation to become an attractive option for Concord residents. But this Plan draft recommends not only no Class IV facilities, but only 3.69 miles of unprotected (i.e. paint only) Class II bike lanes in our entire city!
At the Plan Advisory Committee meeting last Monday (BC’s minutes to be posted soon on this blog), we expressed our disappointment to staff at this remarkable lack of serious bicycle facilities in a bicycle master plan, especially in the places where they are needed most for safety. We were told this was because road diets (conversion of a motor traffic lane into space for other modes) had been ruled out from the start, out of concern for motor traffic flow – even if necessary for bicycle safety on a given street due to limited right-of-way.
Contrary to existing policy
This prioritizing of motor traffic flow (referred to by traffic engineers as “level of service”) over safety for bicycle traffic is contrary to existing City policy. Policy T-1.9.5 on page 33 of the Transportation Element of the General Plan commits the City to “Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety over vehicle speed and level-of-service at intersections and along roadways.” The City has so far done the exact opposite, and unfortunately this Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Safe Routes to Transit Master Plan draft is just a particularly egregious example. It will take persistent pressure from many residents to compel the City to keep its own policy commitment on this subject.
Bike Concord’s Advocacy Committee and Bike East Bay met yesterday and came up with a list of changes we want to see in the document. We were informed by discussion and input from Monument Impact, Central County Regional Group, and First Five Contra Costa, and we’ll be working with them and other community organizations to edit the list and make sure all our concerns are reflected for a consensus statement to be issued later. We will also be seeking your signature on that statement. Please watch this blog for further details soon.
Please support us at these meetings
There are two meetings coming up very soon at which we need your support:
- Community Workshop on Thursday, May 5 at 5:30pm at the Senior Center on Parkside Circle. Our shared letter with partner organizations probably won’t be ready by then, but we will give you a printed list of points that we’d like you to support. We need your presence and your comments.
- We could also use your support at the City Council study session on the Master Plan draft on Tuesday, May 10 at 6:30pm. The Council chamber is in the center of the City office complex at 1950 Parkside Dr, Concord. The Master Plan portion of that meeting will be fairly short. We’ve been asked to condense our comments for delivery by one person instead of putting a long queue at the podium. You will not have to get up and speak (unless you particularly want to), but it’s very important to have you in the room to show the volume of support for our asks.
Please choose one or both of these meetings to show up and support Bike Concord – this set of policies is for the next twenty years!