Viewing entries tagged
bike

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."

2
2

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.

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="181,182,183,184,185,186,187" orderby="rand"]

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.

Petition - Delay Removing a Lane on California St to Research a Protected Urban Trail from the River Trail to Downtown

Petition - Delay Removing a Lane on California St to Research a Protected Urban Trail from the River Trail to Downtown

We can have 3 motorist lanes and a bike lane. If we take a lane prematurely from motorists we risk a community backlash for future cycling infrastructure improvements and risk retaliation on the road towards cyclists. An Urban Trail from the River Trail to downtown could truly help revitalize downtown  with the user base already in place, while the section being discussed on Califorina Street does not currently have safe network acess for cyclist to warrant lane removal. Also bike lane big enough for people to drive in will only encourage people to do so. Let's not make waves over a facility that does not serve the majority of people on bikes in this community.

To Sign Petition Click Here or below

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.46.47 PM
Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.46.47 PM
4-Protected-UrbanTrail-2-Car-Lanes-Parking-Buffer
4-Protected-UrbanTrail-2-Car-Lanes-Parking-Buffer

If We Want the Masses to Ride We Must Provide Physically Protected Urban Trails

If We Want the Masses to Ride We Must Provide Physically Protected Urban Trails

Most of us in the community have been to and used, or at least know of the Sacramento River Trail.  It connects the Downtown Mall, Bechelli, Sundial Bridge, Turtle Bay, Hilltop Bluffs, Cadwell Park, Old Shasta, Keswick, Stanford Hills and Lake Redding Estates together without needing to come into contact with vehicles. This trail is great for recreation and helps some people commute from one part of town to another. But we can do better. There is a lot of chatter about adding bike lanes and buffers for commuting in the down town area. Thus increasing business and even helping to revilitize downtown. This is all well and good, but you will only get a certain type of cyclist to use these facilities. There are different types of cyclists and they are willing to use different kinds of facilities if provided.

  • Strong and Fearless - Rides anywhere, just because they feel comfortable on the open road doesn't mean they wouldn't mind having the best kind of facilities. Very few people are this way. 
  • Enthused and Confident - Uses bike lanes and bigger shouldered roads, changes route to avoid conflicts, really likes places like the River Trail. This is a slightly larger group than Strong and Fearless.
  • Interested but Concerned - Your classic, puts the bike on the back of the car to get to the River Trail because they just don't feel safe sharing the road. This is often the majority of people in a community.
  • The last group is, "no way, no how will I ride a bike!"

If we connect major shopping & dining areas with neighborhoods, schools, churches and community centers. Use physically protected urban trails that connect to the existing River Trail, we can really start to help revitilize this community with the bike and all the benefits that go along with it for transportation, lifestyle and recreation.

Now we have academic proof of this, Portland State University's National Institute of Transportation and Communities released it's study of separated on street facilities. People for Bikes has a shorter break down of this study. Below is their info graphic breaking down the increase in usage. I think we can do better.

Most of these are just separated by reflective plastic flex post or parking spaces.  In an age of distracted driving and ever increasing anger towards cyclist. When and where we can, we should physically protect cyclist with something like short sections of planters with trees or shrubs.  Or circumvent the streets all together with paths like the River Trail. This is not to say that in certain situations a conventional bike lane or shoulder widening should not be done. Think of the Urban Trail as an extension of the River Trail.  Mimicking the main arteries of the town. We also have a lot of opportunity with the creeks & greenbelts throughout our city.  Think, Churn Creek Trail, dirt on one side paved on the other.

We must also do this intelligently as to not over promise and under deliver results. By simply extending the River Trail into parts of town with a physically protected Urban Trail we have a user base that will use the new sections that are constructed. If we were just to construct an urban trail along California Street without connecting it to the River Trail how would people safely get there to use it? It would effectively connect to nothing. An empty path could lead to backlash against the project and future projects.

If you wish to voice your opinion on California Street, (here is mine)  come to Caltrans open house on thursday

Ride with a POV Camera

Reporting harassment or even a collision with an irate, aggressive and or distracted driver often leads to law enforcement and the legal system siding with the driver. Having a POV camera on your bike or helmet can really help your case. Along with the hard to dispute footage it can be posted to social media and help you catch a license plate that is o so hard to catch when your heart is racing fearing for your life or laying on the ground after a hit and run.

Post by Look! Save A Life / Arizona.