Viewing entries tagged
urban planning

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.

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

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

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.

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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An Open Letter to Caltrans & The City of Redding Regarding California Street - You Can Keep 3 Lanes and add a Bike Lane

An Open Letter to Caltrans & The City of Redding Regarding California Street - You Can Keep 3 Lanes and add a Bike Lane

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.

Respectfully, Carson Blume

Want to know more? Read the next post: So whats REALLY up with California Street