Recap: Salvio to Todos Santos Plaza

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!

Salvio St blog post map

Working for a Salvio St connection to Todos Santos

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!

Bike to Work Day 2016 celebration

BC will host our second annual evening celebration of Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 12, 5-8pm on the Todos Santos block of Salvio St.

We’ll be showing a variety of bikes equipped to transport kids and groceries, and bikes with battery assist (e-bikes) from Leonardo Cycles for those who want the option of bicycling with less effort sometimes.  Some of the bikes will be available for test rides in the open area of Salvio St.

There will be live music from local artists It’s Better with Wine and The Midnight Brothers, and remarks by the Mayor of Concord, Laura Hoffmeister.

Tickets will be sold for several raffle prizes, including gift baskets from Loard’s and Hop Grenade. All proceeds will benefit Bike Concord.

E.J. Phair and Loard’s have generously agreed to donate 10% of drink and ice cream proceeds during the event when you mention Bike Concord.  This will help fund our all-volunteer work for the coming year.

Arrive by bike and you can leave it with us for safekeeping at our free Bike Valet.

We are giving out a special Bike to Work Day edition Bike Concord pin for those who attend the event. Along with our Christmas Eve Ride and Tamale Fest pins, this is the third special-edition Bike Concord pin.

We’ll also be offering free bike repair with our usual Thursday evening Bike Tent, located for just this evening on Salvio St instead of its usual place at the corner of Grant St and Willow Pass Rd.

Please drop by, chat with us about how to make bicycling a practical transportation option for you, and enjoy the music!

Bike Tent 2016 launches April 21!

Bike Tent 2016 launches on Thursday, April 21 at Todos Santos! This is Bike Concord’s flagship service, a hub for our community, and a major venue for our public outreach.  Like last year, we’ll be there every Thursday from 5pm-8pm throughout the Farmers’ Market season.

Thanks to our new Surly Bill trailer, we’ll be hauling the entire Bike Tent kit to the plaza behind a single bicycle. (It’s an impressive load.) And thanks to the renewal of our sponsorship from John Muir Health, Bike Tent 2016 will again feature the mechanical expertise of Bronwen Mauch, supported by Bike Concord volunteer mechanics.

Stop by to get free adjustments and tuneups on your bicycle, hear the latest in our work to make Concord safe and convenient for bicycling, and get acquainted with our strong Bike Concord community. Bike Tent is located at the corner of Todos Santos across from Wells Fargo, near the intersection of Willow Pass Rd and Grant St. We look forward to seeing you!

Input given on 2277, but outcome still needs scrutiny

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.