The City hosted a community workshop tonight to show a prospective redesign of Oak Grove Rd from Treat Blvd to Monument Blvd, with the goal of improving bicycle safety on that stretch of street.
Staff from Alta Planning + Design were also present.
Bike Concord was well represented at the meeting, and we were happy to also meet several of our neighbors, not yet Bike Concord members, who share the goal of safe, convenient, responsible bicycle transportation in every part of our city.
We were informed that the work on Oak Grove Rd will consist solely of new road markings and road surface repavement. Any other changes such as curb extensions or retractions, protective barriers, or signal alterations are outside the scope of the project. This seriously limits possible gains in bicycle safety.
More disappointingly, even the minimal option of an unbuffered bicycle lane (i.e. one without any space separating it from adjacent motor traffic) was ruled out. The City committed from the outset to keep the current two motor lanes in each direction plus middle shared left turn lane. Even with lane width reductions to the minimum of 10 feet, this leaves insufficient width for the minimum standard of 5 feet for a bike lane in each direction.
The proposed redesign adds sharrows in the outer travel lanes and retains the 3-foot demarcated shoulders which pass for a bike lane on most of Oak Grove Rd currently. Sharrows are markings that mean bicycle traffic is intended to share the full lane with motor traffic. Oak Grove Rd’s typical motor speeds of 40 mph make this manifestly unsafe.
Unfortunately, it seems doubtful that this project will yield much in the way of either perceptual or actual safety gains for bicycle traffic on Oak Grove Rd. It will be necessary to revisit the street for a fuller redesign upon completion of the Master Plan.