Supervisors Approve Protected Bike Lane Option to E.14th & Lewelling

Thanks to your calls for change, and a tremendous community outreach effort by Bike East Bay super advocate Mike Barrata, the Ashland Cherryland Business District (ACBD Specific Plan) now includes protected bike lanes as options for E.14 St and Lewelling Blvd, busy streets where you should not have to dodge traffic to safely get around. Both the Planning Commission and the County Board of Supervisors have approved these changes. Your emails and calls of support worked.

The original draft plan included sharrows and narrow bike lanes. But when Mike Barrata saw this, he asked Bike East Bay for help. Our letter below explained what design changes were needed, and Mike community outreach supplied support necessary.

Also encouraging, Alameda County Planning staff will pursue a grant next year to move this Plan forward, and specifically street redesigns on E.14th St and Lewelling St, by securing Measure BB money approved by voters in 2014. Advocacy work like this combined with funding from Measure BB is going to result in a much more walkable, more bikeable Ashland Cherryland commercial area.

What you can do:

  1. Send an email of thanks to Rodrigo Orduna, Planner for Alameda County, and say “Thanks you for including protected bike lanes in the Ashland Cherryland Business District Specific Plan”
  2. Check out the Draft Ashland Cherryland Business District Specific Plan [76MB]

Going forward, bike lanes should be along the curb, and any parking, loading, and bus board islands should be to the left (not right) of the bike lane. And this is particularly true on busy streets such as E.14th St and Lewelling Blvd. California now allows protected bike lanes as Class IV bikeways and this Plan should reflective these best practices. Nearby cities such as Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Concord and others are planning for protected bikeways, and Alameda County is ready to get in this game–good news!


Our Letter to Alameda County Planning

September 28, 2015

Rodrigo Orduna
Sandra Rivera
Alameda County Planning

Dear Rodrigo and Sandra:

As a followup to my email of September 15, I want to formally request that the Ashland Cherryland Business District Specific Plan (ACSP) include in its illustrations the modern bikeway and streetscape designs shown in the NACTO Urban Streets Design Guide, NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide and FHWA Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide. My earlier email included links to these documents.

The bikeway designs included in the draft ACSP are already out of date, and the Plan is still in draft form. The ACSP calls for 5ft wide striped bike lanes, which are not wide enough, and for parking to the right of bike lanes on many streets, which is no longer a best practice according to the above national Guides. Going forward, bike lanes should be along the curb, and any parking, loading, and bus board islands should be to the left (not right) of the bike lane. And this is particularly true on busy streets such as E.14th St and Lewelling Blvd. California now allows protected bike lanes as Class IV bikeways and this Plan should reflective these best practices. Nearby cities such as Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Concord and others are planning for protected bikeways, and Alameda County needs to get in this game.

The County just took a significant step in this direction by building buffered green bike lanes on Foothill Blvd. Facilities consistent with new national standards are important because they are way safer for both pedestrians and bicyclists, but also because they are attractive to the many Ashland and Cherryland residents who are interested in bicycling but concerned for their safety riding out on busy streets and dodging traffic. It’s time to get these people on their bikes but to do so we (you as a planner and me as an advocate) have to build them facilities away from moving traffic.

We sometimes hear that future bike plans will address the specific designs of bikeways on streets, but unfortunately on busy streets such as E. 14th St and Leveling Blvd, there are too many issues presented for a bike plan to address alone. These challenging issues include parking management programs to better make use of valuable on-street space to move people, create better places, provide sufficient parking, transit improvements to ensure buses remain on time when walking and bicycling improvements are made, and expanded traffic analysis of corridors and areas so that a street such as E.14th St does not have to solve all traffic issues itself. A bike plan cannot do all of this analysis or the public outreach needed to bring a community together around all of these issues. Thus a bike plan cannot always create street redesigns on busy streets to provide bike lanes. It takes a more comprehensive plan. It takes a Specific Plan.

The ACSP proposes example complete street drawings, but they fall short of being complete, and don’t include the types of bikeways proven to encourage hundreds of new trips by bike. They include 5ft bike lanes striped with a six inch white stripe on a busy street, which is not a ‘complete street.’ The Guides listed above discuss this. We specifically ask that this image on page 3-2 be replaced with an image from the NACTO Urban Streets Guide.

Here are our proposed street cross-sections:

Both bikeway designs place the bikeway against the curb where it belongs and places parking and travel lanes out in the street where they belong. With this new design, people who are interested in bicycling but do not currently bicycle for fear of safety, will be comfortable bicycling. With more people bicycling and comfortable, attractive bikeways, Alameda County will be able to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets called for in its Climate Action Plan.

People Mean Business

Our proposal to redesign E.14th St and Lewelling for safer bicycle travel is good for local businesses. Numerous studies have shown that people spend more money overall when they walk, take transit and bicycle to local businesses than when they drive. We summarize these studies here: https://bikeeastbay.org/people-mean-business. We have reviewed ten economic impact studies of street redesigns around North America, and all ten show an increase in shopping by people walking, bicycling and taking transit. Our proposed redesigns will make streets in Ashland and Cherryland safer and more attractive for active transportation modes and that is good for business—a goal of the ACBD Specific Plan.

Transit Good for Bicycling

As E.14th St and Lewelling develop in future years, increased density along these streets will further support better AC Transit bus service and other shuttle services, and this will further increase the numbers of people bicycling. Better bicycling facilities will be demanded. As people replace some driving trips with transit, they also consider their other transportation options, such as walking and bicycling. Its called the knock-on effect, and it is documented to show that better walking supports better transit, which supports more bicycling, etc. Our street redesigns support the density and transit goals of the Plan. 

Vibrant Community

And of course our proposed bikeway designs support the Plan’s goal of creating a vibrant community. 

“A balanced and complete circulation network that creates a strong economy and vibrant community and accommodates the internal and external transportation needs of the Plan Area by promoting walking, biking, and transit while continuing to serve automobile traffic.”

Thank you for incorporating our comments and suggestions into the ACSP. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Cordially yours,

Dave Campbell
Advocacy Director
Bike East Bay

cc:     Art Carrera, AC Public Works
    Paul Keener, AC Public Works
    JoAnne Lauer, BikeWalkCV