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road diet

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

So whats REALLY up with California Street

So whats REALLY up with California Street

If you have been following the Redding news in the last week about California Street you may have the impression that in order to have a bike lane you must take away a lane for cars, this is simply not true. The Record Searchlight Article & KRCR News do not make it clear exactly what is going on, it seems that the choice is either take away a lane to get a bike lane or nothing depending on which source you read. It is hard to tell that you can have 3 travel lanes for vehicles and a bike lane which was the original plan by Caltrans for months.

On Friday, May 16th I went on a ride with the Director of CalTrans District 2, John Bulinski, the City of Redding's Public Works Director, Brian Crane, and a group of interested cyclists. The ride was organized by Caltrans and promoted through Healthy Shasta's calendar of Bike Month events to allow for the community to engage with transportation officials about the upcoming possible addition of a bike lane to sections of California and Pine streets (State Highway 273) through downtown that are slated for a pavement maintenance project this summer.

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