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Diamond Level Ideas

Why wait for California Street?

With all the hub-bub about California Street we need to pull back and take a 10,000 foot view of what is and could be going on downtown for people on bikes.  Currently, a re-striping plan that has been in the works for months has been hijacked by the local media. Yes, a painted buffered bike lane is a new tool in the street design box for better bikeways, but what will it really do increase safety on California Street for bicycles? What will it really do to increase the numbers of bicycles coming downtown? At what point is there true impact for Downtown to see a tipping point? When and where, and what for, do we spend our limited political and community capital? Do we want a town where we are fighting block by block to get some room to ride next to the fuming cars with nothing but paint between us and the texting driver, or do we want to have a space that we can truly call our own.

I am sure many of you reading this have seen and been watching other cities grow and progress their cycling infrastructure and want to mimic their improvements and benefits, but we here in Redding are at a unique advantage already. We have a vast network of paths connecting many different and wonderful parts of our community and has been growing for years and will continue to grow along the rivers and open spaces. We are lucky because we have plenty of space on many of our streets and greenbelts for the creation of the "Urban Trail."

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Now it is time to transition the River Trail into the Urban Trail, rolling from the river side to straight down the middle of the downtown mall. Or a "downtown loop" keeping the bike lane on California and Pine streets on the left/inside creating a loop around the mall, allowing the double right to remain on Pine and so the cyclist won't have to deal with the conflict zone from the right turn onto the freeway.  Imagine living in Palo Cedro and being able to ride to the Sundial Bridge physically separated from vehicles just like you can from Old Shasta. Or after riding to the Dam roll to the downtown mall for a nice big burrito and have your bike securely locked at the door. Everyone should all be able to get to and from the Sundial Bridge with our families safely,  from any neighborhood, whether we live on Shasta View or College View, Bonnyview or Parkview. Imagine riding your bicycle to dine, see a move or grab a gallon of milk, go to work, school or church, all without having to navigate with cars on our main roads.

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Creating this vision will not be easy or happen this summer, but when we are done it will be the best quality of life we can offer here, not just for spandex clad cyclist but for runners, walkers joggers, the causal commuter, students, grandmothers, and families. This will take time, effort, planning, understanding process and compromise, but in the end we will have the freedom to choose to move around this community without a car safely with the whole family.

 

This is not to say that bike lanes don't have their place but we have to be careful how much political and community capital we put into gaining anything but the best facility because cycles of rebuilding and maintenance are becoming more scarce. The basic 6' bike lane was originally the plan by Caltrans was going to happen relatively quietly, as a part of a regular maintenance project, without reducing traffic lanes or cost to the project. There are plans in the works to bring the River Trail to Downtown but if we take away a lane now we may get increased push back if we need to take more space later. We don't want to appear like a drug addict to those that don't understand the vision, we need to be clear about what we really want to see ultimately on our street and get it right the first time.

The scientific deference in comfort of the cyclist between a standard bike lane and a painted buffer appears to be in the 10% range. The deference between a standard bike lane and a bike facility with planters separating traffic appears to be in the 60%. Which do you want to fight for?
The scientific deference in comfort of the cyclist between a standard bike lane and a painted buffer appears to be in the 10% range. The deference between a standard bike lane and a bike facility with planters separating traffic appears to be in the 60%. Which do you want to fight for?

If you feel compelled that California Street could have a better bikeway than a simple painted buffered bicycle lane next to moving traffic and are willing to have a little patience to build something better, consider reading and signing this petition to Caltrans.

Also consider attending Thursdays Caltrans Open House to voice your opinion, even if it is different then the one stated here.

UPDATE: Backlash is a real thing, especially if you don't use the community process or put something permeant in they can take it away.

ACHD scraps buffered bike lanes

Crews will begin removing the experimental setup on three Downtown Boise streets this weekend.

Vulnerable Roadway User Law Proposal for Shasta County

It is far to often that cyclist get harassed one way or another out on the roadway; stuff thrown, horns honked, shoulders buzzed and thats just the passive stuff. Reporting harassment to law enforcement rarely if ever results in consequences for the driver, even if law enforcement manages to catch or question them.  

 

If you were to get hit but not damaged or injured, law enforcement has little teeth to do anything legally or the culture of law enforcement is such that it precludes anything from being done, even if your killed.

AB-1371 the California Three Feet for Safety Act (effective September 16, 2014) states:

"A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator."

This is all well and good intentioned and in the right direction but...

"A violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) is an infraction punishable by a fine of thirty-five dollars ($35)"

$35!

"If a collision occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle causing bodily injury to the operator of the bicycle, and the driver of the motor vehicle is found to be in violation of subdivision (b), (c), or (d), a two-hundred-twenty-dollar ($220) fine shall be imposed on that driver."

And you you hurt the cyclist your fine has a max of $250..... Sad.

...and if you die (listen below)

No Charges for Driver in Death of Bicyclist Amelie Le Moullac Bryan Goebel | May 13, 2014 [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/149383864" params="color=ff5500" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

A Vulnerable Road User Law (like below) from The League of American Bicyclist gives you an idea of what this law could look like, I would prefer to include harassment or intimidation to this law as well.

INFLICTION OF SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH TO VULNERABLE ROAD USERS Section 1: As used herein, the term “vulnerable road user” includes: (a) a pedestrian, including those persons actually engaged in work upon a highway, or in work upon utility facilities along a highway, or engaged in the provision of emergency services within the right-of-way; or (b) a person riding an animal; or (c) a person lawfully operating any of the following on a public right-of-way, crosswalk, or shoulder of the highway:

1. A bicycle; 2. A farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use; 3. A skateboard; 4. Roller skates; 5. In-line skates; 6. A scooter; 7. A moped; 8. Motorcyclists; 9. Horse-drawn carriage drivers; 10. a person on an electric personal assistive mobility device; or 11. a person in a wheelchair.

Section 2: A person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and causes serious physical injury or death to a vulnerable road user shall be guilty of infliction of serious physical injury or death to a vulnerable user.

Section 3: A person issued a citation under this section shall be required to attend a hearing before a court of appropriate jurisdiction.

Section 4: A person found to have committed an offense under this statute shall be required to

(a) have his or her driving privileged suspended for a period of no less than 6 months; and one or more of the following: (b) pay a monetary penalty of not more than two thousand dollars; or (c) serve a period of incarceration which may not exceed thirty days; or (d) participate in a motor vehicle accident prevention course; or (e) perform community service for a number of hours to be determined by the court, which may not exceed two hundred hours.

What would be ideal is if the Vulnerable Roadway User Law was combined with a Hit-&-Run Amber Alerts program. This would not fix everything and you will still have to prove your side so I recommend until the culture shifts out on the roadway you Ride with a POV Camera.

Hit-&-Run Amber Alerts Proposal for Shasta County

Friday night 16-year-old Mark Vargas was hit by a car and the driver fled the scene, Mark Vargas is now on life support. Mariana Contreras was hit and killed by a hit and run driver last September on Happy Valley road. I missed by minutes the bulk of the Owens Health Care Cycling Team getting ran into from behind by a drunk driver that fled the scene but luckily the driver was caught shortly after by an off duty sheriff that saw it happen. Los Angles is considering a Hit-&-Run Amber Alert Program and I think it is a wonderful idea for Shasta County. With RPD being slow to respond to calls this system could really help law enforcement locate hit and run drivers. What would be ideal is if the Hit-&-Run Amber Alerts program was combined with a Vulnerable Roadway User Law here in Shasta County. This would not fix everything and you will still have to prove your side so I recommend, until the culture shifts out on the roadway, Ride with a POV Camera.