There has been a lot of buzz around California Street over the past few days. I have a few thoughts I would like to share. I would like you to hear my perspective, even if you don’t agree with me, I want to hear yours. Then I would like to work with you to create our vision, not just for California Street but for creating a cycling effect here that truly makes Redding a more bicycle friendly place to live, work, play and visit.
Please read below my open letter to Caltrans & The City of Redding regarding California Street.
To Caltrans District 2 & The City of Redding
It appears from the news that Caltrans is considering taking California Street to two lanes to add a bike lane. This is contrary to what I heard on the May 16th Caltrans bicycle ride that lane removal was not being considered.
I never thought I would be advocating against what might be considered a good bicycle improvement at first glance. I am a driver of a large vehicle, also a motorcyclist not just a bicyclist.
I have experienced more aggressive acts than I can count directed at me by angry drivers in my 20+ years of cycling experience when riding exactly how and where I am supposed to be according to the facility provided to me. If they take time to exchange words their message is clear: they feel I should not be on the road. So I prefer to not be on the road if it appears that I (as a cyclist) am taking it away from them. These incidents include but are not limited to; baseball bats, baby seats, full cups of tobacco chew, urine multiple attempts to run me over from a single driver, and guns brandished, yes plural guns. The incidents have happened while riding with groups, by myself and even directed at cyclist that are clearly women I am riding with. Cops mostly either don’t care, can not enforce the law due to evidence requirements or are to busy.
I prefer to do nothing rather than the wrong thing on California Street. I fear the headline: “Driver Angry About Lane Removal Kills Cyclist.”
I will only support lane or parking removal on California Street if a protected facility is being put in its place.
I think the right thing for now, is to put in a bike lane on California Street with out removing a lane. By not removing a lane at this time this project (and future projects) avoid backlash and anger directed at unprotected humans riding bicycles on the road.
In either scenario, 3 lanes or 2 lanes you can still have a bike lane. This way I have a place to ride while not “taking” anything away from motorists.
I would ultimately like to support the removal of a lane to install a protected facility that connects the River Trail to downtown. A fully protected “Urban Trail” would be the safest investment and be the most appealing facility to help create a vibrant revitalized downtown.
Want to know more? Read the next post: So whats REALLY up with California Street