On Tuesday, September 15 Richmond’s City Council passed the South Richmond Transportation Connectivity Plan (SRTCP). This plan was born out of the need to adapt to several major changes to South Richmond; the development of the UC Berkeley Global Campus, the re-opening of ferry service to San Francisco in 2018 and anticipated additional mixed-use development amongst other things.
This plan, developed under the leadership of Lina Velasco and with consultants Nelson\Nygaard, is a great example of a city emphasizing the importance of non-motorized transportation. It establishes early on that “Transportation is a not an end in itself. It is merely a means of achieving other individual and community objectives” and strives to be an inclusive and community-oriented plan which takes a new look at improving connectivity with a focus on achieving larger community goals and objectives.
Identify deficiencies and develop specific recommendations to improve multimodal connectivity
- Improve regional accessibility
- Connect neighborhoods
- Connect to transit stations & adjacent communities
- Balance modes/prioritize use of right-of-way
- Evaluate innovative solutions
- Provide Citywide access to opportunities
- Encourage balanced mode split
Recommendations Pertaining to Bicycle Infrastructure
The SRTCP responds heads-on to the issues of obstacles to bicycling and lack of infrasctructure by recommending the city establish “a connected network of on-street and off-street bikeways that minimize conflicts with motor vehicles and is comfortable for use by cyclists of all ages and abilities. This plan builds upon Richmond’s Bicycle Master Plan, updating recommended facility types in some corridors in light of new guidance adopted by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) since 2011.”
We’re extremely pleased to see an expansive network of protected bikeways (both one-way and two-way) included on major corridors. The network includes important connections to existing and future off-street bike paths as part of both the short and long term implementation plan. While the short term calls for temporary physical buffers (planter boxes or bollards), the long term plan calls for raised bikeways and permanent physical buffers.
The plan is one of the first in the East Bay to outline such a network, as seen below.
This is the result of two main opportunities identified by the city:
1. Wide rights-of-way and relatively low traffic volumes on many South Richmond streets offer opportunities for installation of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities, as well as landscaping and green infrastructure.
2. The recent adoption of new ‘best practices’ in the design and operation of on-street bikeways, presents an opportunity to improve the safety and comfort of people on bicycles, above and beyond the improvements included in the Bicycle Master Plan.
Beyond protected bikelanes, the plan includes a proposal for a protected intersection at Bayview and Carlson - the first proposal of its kind in the East Bay.
In addition, a number of recommendations made by Bike East Bay have been integrated into the SRTCP, including but not limited to:
- A 10’ recommended lane with for standard traffic lanes throughout the study area (11’ on truck or transit routes) based on recent studies on the increased safety brought by narrow lanes - see the Case for Narrow Lanes
- Recommendation for raised crosswalks for trail crossings, which “keep trails/walkways level through intersections, rather than requiring trail users to ramps down from curb to street level, as at most cross walks. In addition to supporting mobility and improving safety and comfort for people walking and riding bicycles, raised crossings improve safety for all users at intersections by functioning as “speed tables” that calm traffic by creating a physical deterrant for high speed travel into the intersection”
- Bikeshare station density metrics
What’s Next? SRTCP Implementation
The SRTCP includes a large portion dedicated to studying specific corridors, with corridor overviews, a study of existing conditions and planned improvements with remarks as to planning considerations, conceptual recommendations and designs.
See, for example, this rendering of Marina Bay at South 23rd: The following corridors are studied:
- Cutting Boulevard
- South 23rd St/ Marina Bay Parkway
- Harbour Way/Marina Way
- Hoffman Boulevard
- Carlson Boulevard
- Central Avenue
- Bayview Avenue
- Juliga Woods/Spring Street
- South 47th Street-Potrero Ave
The SRTCP ends with a chapter to help make the plan a reality; by creating a set of prioritization criteria and an evaluation based ranking/prioritization of near-term (2015- 2024) improvement projects by corridor segment. This is followed by an actual summary of cost estimates for near-term concepts by corridor, and a description of potential local, regional, state and federal funding opportunities.
Our hats off to Richmond for an true 21st century transportation connectivity plan. We look forward to seeing the results of this work come to life on the street, and to welcome a new standard for walkable and bikeable streets by design.