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Advocacy Circa 2015

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: December 7, 2015

by Dave Campbell
your Advocacy Director

More so than any year since 1996, when I started volunteering with Bike East Bay, bike advocacy evolved in 2015. Modern bikeway designs are starting to become accepted, like the protected bike lanes, queue boxes and bike traffic signals coming to Telegraph Ave, making our advocacy work as much about complete streets as about bike lanes. In some ways, Bike East Bay became a leader statewide and nationally. But we still have more to learn.

What progress was made in 2015?

  • Smart Parking: Bike East Bay learned much about advanced strategies in street redesigns. Starting in January this year, we worked closely with the City of Berkeley on its smart parking management program called GoBerkeley, which is designed to better use valuable on-street parking spaces. We are busy educating other business districts about this new tool that is going to help create more roadway space for protected bike lanes. 
  • shoppers bikeShoppers Bike: In Downtown Berkeley over the Summer we initiated a shopper intercept survey to learn how much local shoppers spend and how often they travel by bike. We learned that shoppers arriving by bike, by foot and by transit spend more money overall per month than shoppers who drive. This is consistent with 2014’s shopper survey in the Temescal District of Oakland and many other economic studies of shopping patterns and the benefits of street redesigns. Read our People Mean Business blog.
  • Bikes & Buses: Our relationship with AC Transit grows stonger, as we work together on complete street redesigns that include both protected bikeways and transit upgrades. On their major corridors, AC Transit is looking as designing protected bike lanes, so that buses and bikes co-exist on these routes you bike everyday.
  • Popup Perfection: Another major area of advancement was our popup demonstration bikeways. We pulled off 3 successful ones this year, all having a positive impact on a related bike project. In Berkeley, Milvia Street was redesigned downtown with protected bike lanes on Bike to Work Day. The Downtown Business Association took notice. Up the street, a protected bike lane on Hearst Ave as part of Sunday Streets Berkeley showed how parking loss with that project could be kept to a minimum. Back on Bike to Work Day, we built a continuous bikeway on Redwood Road in Castro Valley and now Alameda County Public Works is studying the feasibility of removing a traffic lane on Redwood Road to add a bike lane connecting to Castro Valley High School and eventually Castro Valley BART. And we already can’t wait to show off some even more impressive popups for Bike to Work Day 2016.
  • Modern Bikeways: in 2014, we visited Copenhagen to learn what the Danes would do to design bikeways on busy streets. Here is what they did on Frederiksborggade in Downtown Copenhagen, and here are our similar 2016 plans for Milvia Street in downtown Berkeley, a street of the same width.
  • Mode Shift: Finally, we are starting to learn more about mode shift. In 2006 AC Transit showed on San Pablo Ave that better rapid bus service can convince commuters to leave their cars at home. Now we are seeing data from Vancouver, BC where an evolving network of protected bikeways does the same, gets more people to leave the car at home, which means a much higher percentage of women bicycling.

What does all this mean?

A lot. 

  • Projects such as Fruitvale Avenue bike lanes won’t get stalled because the City is politically unable to study removing a travel lane or adjusting on-street parking
  • The Ashland Cherryland Specific Plan followup implementation will actually look at how shoppers come to this commercial corridor and how much money they spend
  • Treat Blvd complete street improvements won’t shove bicyclists to the sidewalk because planners don’t know how to handle traffic volumes on this busy street.
  • Bike plans won’t recommend sharrows on busy streets every time planners can’t figure out what to do on busy streets. These plans will include realistic strategies for reducing vehicle traffic volumes while adding bikeways and transit improvements

It doesn’t mean our advocacy work is easier. It actually means there is much more of it to do. But we are armed with better tools. With advanced strategies, we will be able to start to unlocking the potential for better street redesigns you want, street redesigns for safer walking, more comfortable bicycling, and good transit options.

We are looking forward to 2016 and many opportunities to use these new tools to make your bike commute better. Thanks for your continued support.

 

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