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More Protection: Berkeley Draft Bike Plan Lacking

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: September 10, 2016

January 2017 Update: we expect a revised bike plan soon that takes into account many if not all public comments you have made to improve the plan. Stay tuned.

Berkeley’s draft bicycle plan is out for public comment, and while there are good elements to the draft plan, much needs to be improved, and will be if the city hears from you. Public written comments due by September 29, which is the night of the next Berkeley Bicycle Subcommittee Mtg.

Save the date for the October 20 Berkeley Transportation Commission to make a strong showing for a much better plan. If you can come to only one meeting, make it this Oct 20 Transportation Commission. 

Public comments can be made by emailing [email protected] or in person at the Transportation Commission at their October 20 meeting. Bike East Bay is submitting extensive written comments by September 29, with emphasis on:

  1. Need for a dense network of low-stress bikeways for people of all ages and abilities, including

    • Protected crossings of bike boulevards with busy streets, provided by traffic signals or 4-way stops, not flashing lights
    • Protected bike lanes and protected intersections on busy arterials streets people bicycle everyday, such as Shattuck Ave, Telegraph Ave, Gilman St, Adeline Street, Piedmont Ave, and more
  2. Milvia Street bicycle boulevard is the highest priority project to complete after the bike plan is approved by City Council in December 2016
  3. Missing bikeways in the draft bike plan, including Parker Street, Derby/Warring, parts of Hopkins Street, West Street Path Extension, The Arlington, and 7th Street. Others?
  4. Ohlone Greenway needs major overhaul, not spot improvements as proposed in the draft plan. In particular, the connection along the diagonal stretch of BART parking from the north as you bike toward North Berkeley BART Station needs major widening and straightening out
  5. Hearst Ave needs a two-way cycle track between California Ave and Milvia Street, connecting the Ohlone Greenway to new protected bike lanes to the east on Hearst Ave (coming this Fall)
  6. The draft plan includes an alarming statement that bicycle lanes cannot be added to narrow streets when to do so would require removal of on-street parking. Bike East Bay strongly opposes this statement, as some streets may require removal or relocation of on-street parking. This discussion will take place when specific projects are developed in the coming years, after plan adoption;
  7. Implementation plan needs stronger recommendations on city staffing levels needed to work on building the bikeways identified as priorities in this plan, and a raising of priority for completing the bikeway network. Currently in Berkeley, congestion relief, parking management, pedestrian safety and transit are higher priorities that bicycling. These other modes are important, but bicycling should have equal priority and it currently does not. The plan needs to address this structural shortcoming and set out a clear road forward for how Public Works Department is going to prioritize building a modern, world-class bike network in Berkeley.

Our full comments will be added soon.

Read our op-ed on Berkeleyside.

Link to Berkeley’s Draft Bicycle Plan and how to make public comments.

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