In one of the more controversial projects in recent years, Moraga Town Council has approved continuous bike lanes as part of the Livable Moraga Road Project. The bike lanes will extend from Campolindo High School to St Mary’s Road, and include both buffered and protected bike lanes. A slight majority of residents in support at its June 22 meeting helped sway council in the face of a super-majority of residents opposed to any travel lane reductions. It is commendable for Moraga staff to push for continuous bike lanes in the face of public opinion. The project now moves into final design so that Moraga can seek funding to construct.
A couple of years ago, proposals were put forth to do a 4-3 road diet on Moraga Road and add bike lanes and sidewalks. It was a planning process funded through Contra Costa’s Measure J Transportation for Livable Communities Program (TLC). Opposition quickly rose to any lane removals, so the town decided to conduct a survey of all residents and get more input, despite much public support to date. While respondents generally supported bike lanes and sidewalks, a majority expressed opposition to lane removals, even though everyone seemed to agreed that a 4-3 road diet would make the street safer for everyone.
Still, at its April 13 meeting, Council initially supported (by a 3-2 vote) a short lane removal segment between Donald Drive and Corliss Drive, for safety and access reasons. However, at the June 22 meeting by a 3-1 vote, the Council voted to reinstate the travel lane by eliminating a center turn lane. Fortunately, the last minute change does not affect the bike lane designs. Here they are.
Segment 1 (Campolindo Drive to Rheem Boulevard):
- Retain existing travel lanes, but incorporate additional landscaped medians where feasible (section below shows both center turn lane and potential median strategically placed along the length of this segment)
- Expand existing sidewalk to become a Multi-Use Path (MUP) on the west side of Moraga Road
- Provide a Buffered bike lane and new sidewalk on the east side of the street Provide a Protected bike lane on the west side of the street to reduce potential conflict between curb-side vehicle drop off area and cyclists, and pedestrian and cyclists on the multi-use path
- High School Entry—Work with the School District to (1) Short Term: Relocate the existing high visibility crosswalk to the north of the Moraga Road/Woodford Drive intersection; (2) Long-Term: Realign and signalize the Performing Arts Center Driveway to create a 4-way intersection at Woodford Drive
Segment 2 (Rheem Boulevard to Donald Drive):
- Retain existing travel lanes, but incorporate additional landscape medians where possible. Improve Rheem Boulevard/Moraga Road Intersection:
- Lengthen left turn pocket from north-bound Moraga Road to west-bound Rheem Boulevard
- Improve visibility of crosswalks to assist pedestrians traversing the multi- legged intersection
- Expand sidewalk on west side to become a multi-use path
- Improve bike lanes to standard width (5 feet minimum) on both sides of street Improve transit stops and streetscape with custom lighting and landscaping Install a new crosswalk at Rheem Center main driveway (with Via Moraga Project)
Segment 3 (Donald Drive to Corliss Drive):
This was the most contentious part of the project, and resulted in keeping two travel lanes in each direction. The bike lane options remain as shown.
Short term options
- two travel lanes in each direction
- 10.5 foot wide travel lanes and turn lane
- A 5 foot wide northbound bike lane
An at grade 8 foot multi-use path on the west side of the roadway separated by a 2 foot buffer Intermittent parking on alternating sides of the street
Long term options
- Convert one travel lane to a center turn lane, with two northbound and one southbound 11 foot travel lane 5 foot wide bike lanes on both sides
- Construct either an east side sidewalk and west side multi-use path, or an east side multi-use path and a west side sidewalk
- Maintain Intermittent Parking on alternating sides of the street (from short-term configuration) Underground overhead utilities (necessary with west side multi-use path, but optional with west side sidewalk) (This work is scheduled to begin in Summer 2016)
- Long term options
Segment 4 (Corliss Drive to Saint Mary’s Road):
- Retain existing travel lanes and turn lane, but reduce width by 6 inches to 10.5 feet
- Retain existing Multi-Use Path
- Construct new path or sidewalk on west side of Moraga Road
- Integrate existing pedestrian crossing (at Corliss Drive) into fully signalized intersection, and improve connection/transition from existing trail to sidewalk, bike lanes and crossing
- Upgrade bike lanes to standard width on both sides and integrate 3 foot buffer on west side of the roadway Install new high-visibility pedestrian activated signal in the vicinity of the Skate Park, to connect to new Camino Ricardo trail and park (with Camino Ricardo Project)
- Complete fourth leg of intersection at St. Mary’s Road/Moraga Road/School Street Extension
Moraga will finalize designs and get the project ready to seek grant funding, as the total cost is over $9 million. Next year’s TLC program is a good source for funding, as is Contra Costa’s 2016 Transportation Expenditure Plan, which includes $290 million for major complete street projects like this one. An upcoming repaving project is another opportunity to implement part of this project in Segment 3.