Berkeley and Castro Valley Pop-Up Bikeways Big Hits

“Transformative” was a word heard more than once on Milvia Street in Downtown Berkeley on Bike to Work Day, as hundreds of commuters enjoyed Bike East Bay’s latest pop-up demonstration protected bike lanes, shown right (above on mobile).

Mayor Tom Bates led a bike tour from Sproul Plaza to City Hall, on a Bay Area Bike Share bike, down our pop-up protected lanes, along with faculty and staff from UC Berkeley, Mayor Morten Kabell from Copenhagen, and Mayor Albrecht Schröter from Jena, Germany–Berkeley’s sister city. Joining these dignataries were City Councilmembers Lori Droste, Jesse Arreguin, Kriss Worthington, and Linda Maio, as well as City Manager Christine Daniels and Transportation Division Manager Farid Javandel–two key city staff people. Equally exciting, YMCA Executive Director Fran Gallati joined the bike ride and loved the protected bike lanes. He wants the Y to be more bike-friendly and as part of that, wants to help Bike East Bay make these protected bike lanes happen.

In Castro Valley, Supervisor Nate Miley and Castro Valley High School Principal Blaine C. Torpey, enjoyed protected bike lanes on Redwood Road at the High School. BikeWalkCV orchestrated the popup bikeway, with much support from Supervisor Miley and from Alameda County Public Works. A couple of stretches along Redwood Road were tight, and not wide enough for protected bike lanes and 4 lanes of traffic. So Alameda County Public Works painted sharrow stencils the week before Bike to Work Day–a rare moment when Bike East Bay is appreciated of sharrows.

Mayor Morten Kabell was quick to point out that the protected bike lanes on Milvia Street are exactly what Copenhagen would do. “Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure,” are the three most important things a city can do to get more people on bikes in the world’s most bike-friendly city. “It’s great to see Berkeley demonstrating a protected bike lane, like our cycle paths in Copenhagen.” Berkeley’s bike mode share is estimated at 10%, while Copenhagen’s bike mode share is actually measured at 45%. For Berkeley to get to Copenhagen’s level, Milvia Street needs to be fixed.

BikeWalkCV has been pushing Supervisor Miley and staff at Alameda County Public Works to build more bikeways in Castro Valley. In particular, they have been pushing for “pilot” projects–bikeways that are demonstration bikeways, installed for a short period of time but long enough for the community to get a feel for the changes. Bike to Work Day’s pop-up bikeway was a start. More info on our BikeWalkCV Campaign page.

Telegraph Avenue Pop-Up Bikeway 2014

Last year, Bike East Bay staged a nationally-acclaimed pop-up bikeway on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, showing former Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Public Works exactly how one is built. Later that year, Oakland City Council approved a permanent protected bike lane on Telegraph, which will be constructed this Summer. Seeing is believing.

A pop-up bikeway is a temporary bikeway, created with removable street striping and barriers, simulating designs for potential permanent protected bike lanes. They allow neighbors and local businesses to get a feel for what they are like before any permanent changes are made to the street. People commuting by bike on the morning of Bike to Work Day joined Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen and other elected officials and ride down these pop-up protected bike lanes, and enjoy what future bike commutes could be like.

In Fremont, car manufacturer Tesla promoted safer and better streets by celebrating Bike to Work Day with their own pop-up protected bikeway. This is the second year Tesla has operated a pop-up on their factory plant in Fremont, and they made it bigger and better than last year by moving the station up to the front entrance. They of course had giveaways, snacks and beverages available to all bike commuters, in addition to Bike to Work Day bags. As part of promoting safe and active transportation, Tesla is also working on the permanent installation of bike lanes along roads in their community.

Read more about how Pop-Up Demos are effective ways to spread a good idea, gain support on a campaign, and create a fun community event.

People for Bikes, Jan 24, 2014: Steal this Idea: a $600 protected bike lane demo at an open-streets event

People for Bikes, August 14, 2014: The Summer of Demos: One-Day Protected Bike Lanes Sweep Across America