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.