Please turn out tomorrow, Feb 10 – NOT tonight, Feb 9

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.

Bike East Bay has posted a detailed description of the proposal.

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.

If able to attend, please RSVP to joan.ryan@cityofconcord.org.

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Please save the evening of Tuesday, Feb 9 to turn out for a good bikeway on Grant St

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.
  • A great bikeway will bring more business to our downtown. Comparative data from many communities shows that people on foot and on bicycles tend to visit businesses more often and spend more money overall.  An inviting bikeway is a path to a more prosperous Todos Santos Plaza.

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.

We hope to see you the evening of February 9!

Bike to Work Day celebration

Bike to Work Day event flyerBike Concord and Bike East Bay are hosting an evening celebration on Bike to Work Day – Thursday, May 14, 5:30pm to 8:00pm.

Our usual free bike repair will still be available at the Bike Tent, although it will be moved for this Thursday to a location on the Todos Santos block of Salvio St, which will be a pedestrian-only boulevard for the duration of the event.

E.J. Phair Alehouse and Brewery will be offering happy hour specials, and they have even created a new beer for the occasion.  They gave Bike Concord members a chance to name the beer; the winner was “Look Ma No Hands”. It’s a Red India Pale Ale brewed with different hop varietals, featuring some strong hoppiness coupled with a solid malt backbone and beautiful red color. ABV is 7%.

When you visit E.J. Phair on Bike to Work Day, please mention Bike Concord and 10% of your bill will be donated to us. We are a small organization on a shoestring budget, so this will be much appreciated!

Local Concord musicians Brave City will perform a musical set on stage. Contra Costa County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff will deliver a Bike to Work Day resolution on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.

Bike East Bay and helmet safety experts Snell will offer information on bicycle safety for both children and adults.

There will be face painting and a drawing contest for kids.

Local organizations Monument Impact, Sustainable Contra Costa and Wheel Kids will have tables to present their work making our community a healthier place to live.

There will be free bike valet service for the event!  Arrive on your bicycle and you can hand it over to us for safekeeping. Bike Concord organizer Smitty Ardrey, distinguishable by his tuxedo, will guard your bike until you’re ready to head home.

See you there – rain or shine!

Todos Santos Community Bike Tent

Bike Concord started in 2014 with a community bicycle repair tent in Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza Farmers’ Market.  While we have expanded into many other projects, the Bike Tent remains our focal point.

The Thursday Farmers’ Market resumed for the 2015 season on April 23, and Bike Concord was back with an even stronger presence.  We will be at the corner of Grant St and Willow Pass Rd from 5pm to dark every Thursday through October 22.  Come see us, sign our petition for a bike-friendly Concord, and grab a Bike Concord button! We’d love to tell you in person what we’ve been working on for safe, convenient bicycling in our community, and also to hear your ideas.

We are always looking for more people to staff the Bike Tent, as well as get involved in other Bike Concord projects.  If this could be you, please visit our projects spreadsheet at projects.bikeconcord.org and add your name wherever you want to help.

Bike Concord organizers Smitty Ardrey, Janet Young, and Luke Casey, plus lead mechanic Bronwen Mauch.
Bike Concord organizers Smitty Ardrey, Janet Young, and Luke Casey, plus lead mechanic Bronwen Mauch.
Bike Tent lead Janet Young arranges materials on the outreach table.
Bike Tent lead Janet Young arranges materials on the outreach table.                     
View from the path.  A banner will soon identify the Bike Tent to passers-by.
View from the path. A banner will soon identify the Bike Tent to passers-by.

Bike Tent lead mechanic Bronwen Mauch

This year, we are happy to be able to employ a regular professional mechanic at the Bike Tent, thanks to a generous grant from John Muir Health.  Her name is Bronwen Mauch.

Although now a long-term Bay Arean, Bronwen is a native of New York City.  She has worked in some renowned bike shops in Manhattan, and has taught literally thousands of people how to repair a flat tire as a full-time bike shop and bicycle riding instructor for eight years in Brooklyn’s I.S. 318 middle school.  In the Bay Area, she has worked at Oakland’s industrial arts co-op, The Crucible.

She is also an artist, creating a variety of beautiful objects from used bicycle parts.

Bike Concord organizers, who are no strangers to the maintenance of their own bicycles, have already learned a lot from Bronwen’s practical expertise.  Come get your bicycle tuned up by Bronwen at the Bike Tent and she will explain everything she does.

Bike Tent lead mechanic Bronwen Mauch extending the useful life of a hard-working bicycle.
Bike Tent lead mechanic Bronwen Mauch extending the useful life of a hard-working bicycle.

Bicycle transportation works!

As Bike Concord’s mission is to make bicycling an attractive transportation choice in Concord, we consider it essential to demonstrate the viability of this choice by transporting not only ourselves but all the equipment for the Bike Tent on our bicycles. Thanks to a bicycle cargo trailer, this includes even the tent itself!

Bike Concord organizers Kenji Yamada, Smitty Ardrey, Laura Bergman, Janet Young, and Marlo Villanueva set off on their bicycles to carry all the Bike Tent equipment back to storage.
Bike Concord organizers Kenji Yamada, Smitty Ardrey, Laura Bergman, Janet Young, and Marlo Villanueva set off on their bicycles to carry all the Bike Tent equipment back to storage.

Bicycling tour of Concord with Alta and city staff

Jennifer Donlon-Wyant of Alta Planning & Design and Andrew Mogensen of the Concord Planning Division led members of the public today on a tour of bike route conditions in Concord.

A tour of walking conditions was also given separately and simultaneously, so that attendees could choose one or the other.

The bicycling tour commenced from Concord BART, departing through southbound Oakland Ave.

Jennifer Donlon-Wyant of Alta Planning & Design briefs the group before departure from Concord BARt for a tour of bicycling conditions in Concord.
Jennifer Donlon-Wyant of Alta Planning & Design briefs the group before departure from Concord BART for a tour of bicycling conditions in Concord.

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