Attendees at last Wednesday’s public meeting on the Downtown Corridors plan and Project 2277. Photo courtesy of City of Concord Principal Planner Andy Mogensen. At least 16 of those depicted are Bike Concord members. Also pictured is Cynthia Armour of Bike East Bay, who led the development of our shared proposal to the City for […]
Thanks to all the Bike Concord members who set aside their Wednesday evening to come to the public meeting tonight on the Downtown Corridors plan and Project 2277 (Downtown Bike Lanes). We turned out at least 18 people. At the previous meeting for the Downtown Corridors plan there were about 3 or 4.
The outcome is still unclear. Project staff presented Project 2277 to attendees without acknowledging that Bike East Bay and Bike Concord had met with them weeks ago to go over a detailed proposal for changes. In order to get any response to our proposal, we had to speak to staff in separate conversations after attendees were dispersed to look at displays around the room.
Attendees were reconvened at the end of the meeting to hear reports from staff on what they had heard from attendees in the separate conversations. But our detailed proposal was still not acknowledged, and no mention was made of several of its proposed features. We were given an opportunity for a few very brief comments after the staff reports, and asked to restrict our comments to things we had not talked about yet with staff, even in the separate conversations.
I (Kenji) got up to inform the group about our earlier meeting with staff and detailed proposal, gave a brief summary of the features in our proposal, and said we are expecting a detailed public response. This was contrary to the request from the facilitator, but I felt it was important to make that proposal a public matter, since staff had not chosen to do so in their own presentation.
We were told in our separate conversations with staff that our proposal is being looked at, that there will be another public workshop on Project 2277, and that we will receive some kind of response to our proposal at that workshop. Cynthia Armour of Bike East Bay and I will be following up with staff in a couple of weeks to ensure that this is on track to happen, that the response will be in detail, and that we will have an opportunity to make a second-round proposal to try to address any objections to what we’ve already proposed.
Thanks again, everybody, for turning out. In spite of the vague assurances we were given, I think it’s important to keep the pressure on, and turning out a lot of people at the meetings is a big part of that. It makes it harder for nice-sounding words to simply evaporate without accountability, when a lot of people hear them. That is also why it’s worth insisting that staff hear and respond to our input in a public forum, and not just in private conversations.
Thanks to the direction of City Council at last Tuesday’s meeting in response to Bike Concord and Bike East Bay’s request, senior transportation staff will now consider and respond to our proposal for buffered bike lanes on Grant St instead of the unbuffered ones currently planned in Project 2277. So there is no need to turn out to tonight’s City Council meeting. Instead, please try to make it to tomorrow evening’s public meeting on the Downtown Corridors Plan and Project 2277. Wednesday, Feb 10, 6pm at Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord.
In addition to the Downtown Corridors Streetscape Plan (a general long-term vision), this public meeting will include the first public presentation of PJ 2277, a project for bike lanes on Grant St from BART to Todos Santos, as well as on a few blocks of Concord Blvd and Clayton Rd between Ellis Lake Park and downtown.
Unbuffered bike lanes, the bare minimum, are the Engineering Division’s current intention for the Grant St portion of PJ 2277. Bike Concord and Bike East Bay are proposing an alternative design with the following features.
– Continuity of bike lanes at all points.
– Buffers in some places, parking protection in others. The buffers will not only add safety and comfort for bicycle traffic, but will save space where physical barriers can be added later for further protection.
– Squared-off intersection corners to increase driver caution and decrease speed
– Green paint treatments at car-bicycle conflict zones.
What you can do: Show up to the meeting, make a comment to the effect that you want bicycle infrastructure on Grant that is safe and inviting enough to attract new and hesitant bicyclists, and that you want a detailed response by staff to Bike East Bay and Bike Concord’s proposal to make this a reality. It will be important for a strong number of residents to show up to this public meeting and convey support for making Grant St a good contemporary bikeway instead of a mediocre one.
Please keep the evening of Tuesday, Feb 9 available to come out and support Bike Concord’s efforts to get a good bikeway instead of a mediocre one on Grant St from BART to Todos Santos Plaza.
Bike Concord and Bike East Bay met on Dec 11 with City of Concord project staff to propose detailed improvements to an existing project (PJ 2277) for basic bike lanes on Grant St.
Our alternative design was favorably received by project staff. But senior transportation staff have rejected it – not for any specific design reasons, but because they do not want to make any significant changes to the project no matter what those changes are. Staff are planning to make their first public presentation of the existing project design at the Feb 10 public meeting on the Downtown Corridors Plan, and their direction from senior staff is to show the project as originally designed, with no possibility of meaningful public input.
The existing design is for unbuffered, unprotected bike lanes on Grant St, the showcase corridor for our city from our transit station to downtown. We can do much better.
The stretch of Grant St between Todos Santos and BART is a representation of our city’s plans for active transportation to visitors arriving on BART, and for residents trying to reach BART from downtown. With the existing design, the project would indicate that our target is mediocrity. With the alternative design it would be a showcase project, demonstrating Concord’s serious intention of making active transportation a practical choice here.
We need to get Grant St right the first time. It would be a waste of limited funds to build a mediocre bikeway in the hope of improving it later. The Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Safe Routes to Transit Master Plan, which the City is currently drafting with community input including that of Bike Concord, will commit the City to creating a comprehensive bicycle network, built to contemporary standards rather than the faulty designs of past decades. The existing project design of unbuffered bike lanes does not meet those contemporary standards.
Grant St needs to be an inviting entryway from BART to downtown in order to entice risk-averse bicyclists, especially families with children on their way to a family-oriented event in our downtown such as the Music and Market Series, or KidFest. The existing design creates no such entryway.
Bike Concord’s Advocacy Committee and Bike East Bay are working to persuade our elected officials that a good, inviting bikeway on Grant St is preferable to mediocrity. If you support Bike Concord’s mission, please join us at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb 9 to make that message as strong as possible. Council meetings are held in the Council Chamber at 1950 Parkside Dr, usually starting at 6:30pm. We will post again here on the blog when a detailed agenda is available for the Feb 9 Council meeting.
If you’ve never gone to a public meeting before, your participation will be even more valuable because you will be a new face to our officials.