Monument Boulevard Path Should Stand for More

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: April 13, 2021

Photo: City of Concord

Concord could get a separated path along one long block of Monument Boulevard, but it’s not there yet. The project is intended to better connect the Monument Corridor community to Downtown Concord, but patchy connections on Walters Way leading to the busy intersection won’t make for a welcoming street for people walking or biking. Advocates at Bike Concord are ready to hold city staff accountable for past promises made. Join the Bike Concord Facebook group for the latest calls to action, and help move this project forward. 

The project to design a bicycle and pedestrian path along Monument Boulevard between Systron Drive and Cowell Road was first conceived in 2016. The separated path has key upgrades which will be great for people who walk and bike. However, getting to the path on Monument Boulevard from Walters Way—a key connection point between the Monument Corridor community and downtown—still needs work. Concord’s former Transportation Manager Ray Kuzbari promised Bike Concord that the Walters Way lanes would be made complete when this project came to fruition, but it remains unclear whether his successor will honor that promise. Bike Concord is concerned because Walters Way has bicycle lanes for only some segments of the block from Detroit Avenue to Monument Boulevard. A tentative person bicycling 8-12 mph is unlikely to feel comfortable intermittently mixing with cars on that block. 

The project on Monument Boulevard looks mostly the same as it did in 2016. The key features remain:

  • Removal of motor vehicle slip lanes at the two intersections in scope.
  • “Crossbike” markings to encourage separation of bicycle traffic from pedestrian traffic in the crossings.
  • Wide curb ramps at the end points of the path on Systron Drive and Cowell Road.
  • Bicycle curb ramps to enter the path from the roadway on Systron Drive.
  • Vertical separation of the path from adjacent motor traffic.

Signal phasing and detection remain a challenge. Staff and consultants have said they considered a bicycle/pedestrian-only signal phase, but ruled it out due to the sizes of the intersections and their projections of motor traffic backup. Instead, they are proposing advanced bike/ped signal activation to let bicycle and pedestrian traffic get into the intersection before motor traffic is allowed to proceed.

For updates and a future call to action on this project, join Bike Concord’s Facebook group.  Please join the next Concord Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting, tentatively scheduled for June 9, to make public comments calling for the city to come through on high-quality infrastructure on Walters Way.

Thanks to Kenji Yamada for contributing to this piece. Find more information about Bike Concord at BikeConcord.org.

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