Come to the Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle this Wednesday starting at 6:00pm to provide feedback on two separate projects: The first, the Downtown Corridors Plan, will craft a vision for downtown streets for future projects. The creation of this plan will help the city in applying for grants and will lay out a plan of what the downtown streetscapes should look like.
The other, Project 2277, will bring bike lanes to four major downtown streets (Concord Ave, Clayton Rd, Grant Street and Oakland Street) later this year. Here’a bit of history on Project 2277.
Ray Kuzbari, Transportation Manager for the City of Concord, successfully applied for One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) funds for this project in 2013. The project, named “Last-Mile Bike and Pedestrian Access to BART” includes a mix of buffered bike lanes, regular Class 2 bike lanes, green paint in some conflict zones, bicycle detection at traffic signals and improvements at three unsignalized crosswalks.
An example of a buffered curb-side Class 2 bike lane versus a regular Class 2 bike lane.
An expanded definition and project scope can be found in the OBAG application document here (PDF).
The project is welcome and needed. It will provide some significant improvements to four important connector streets in downtown and will increase the safety of all modes. However, these bike lanes alone will not provide a network of continuous, safe and comfortable bike lanes.
What’s on the line? Better bike lanes.
We’re asking you to show up to the meeting and tell city staff that you want them to be building bike lanes that go beyond the bare minimum, that are safe and inviting enough to attract new and hesitant bicyclists. Join Bike East Bay and Bike Concord in showing the city of Concord that there is demand for better bike infrastructure.
As staff wrote in the application, the project is expected to result in a quantifiable reduction in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and Green-house gases (GHG). Researchers Dill and Carr (2003) found that each additional mile of Class II Bicycle Lanes per square mile is associated with a 1% mode shift in bicycle commuters, reducing VMT and GHG. The key information that we want to repeat to the city staff, which is also in their application, is that recent research indicates that lower-stress, more comfortable bikeways, such as buffered bicycle lanes, may reduce barriers to bicycling for a wider range of the population, further increasing the potential for bicycle mode shift.
Our main ask of the city is therefore to use all the tools available to construct a network of continous, safe and comfortable bike lanes that will attract new riders. This translates to a number of specific requests that are outlined below.
Let’s take a look at some of the project sections.
Concord and Clayton Blvd
Both Concord and Clayton Blvd are slated to receive buffered bike lanes from Sutter Street to Grant street. This is fantastic improvement on the current situation (Class III Bike “routes” with no bike safety features other than signage, as pictured on the right on Clayton Blvd).
Our recommended improvements for this section:
- Don’t drop the bike lane as Clayton approaches Grant street. By narrowing the three right-most lanes to 11’ widths there is room for a 5’ through bike lane. Include green paint to guide bicyclists and cars through the conflict zones as cars merge through the bike lane to turn right.
- Add green paint to the conflict zone at Galindo and Concord where cars merge through the bike lane to turn right.
Grant Street from BART to Clayton
This section of Grant Street is the one that we looked at the most in detail with city staff and where the most improvements can be made.
- There is room to add buffers on both sides of the street on almost the entire stretch of planned Class 2 bike lanes along Grant Street. There is room for buffers to be included on both sides of the through bike lane headed towards BART, as seen in this drawing we did with staff in December.
- If the buffers are widened even more, there would be potential down the line to add a physical protection element to turn these bike lanes from BART to Todos Santos Plaza into protected bike lanes. The Caltrans Separated Bikeway Guidance (PDF) calls for a 3’ buffer.
- The intersection with Park Street warrants special attention due to the heavily used parking garage. We want to make sure any conflict is avoided and would like the city to work closely with Bike East Bay and Bike Concord on this section. If a through bike lane is planned, green paint should be used to guide bicyclists and cars through the merge zone.
- From Oak to Park Street, a parking protected bike lane along BART property should be considered, as allowed in the recently released Caltrans Design Information Bulletin Number 89 (PDF) on Protected Bikeways.
Here is an example of a parking protected bike lane.
On this section of Oakland Ave, the city has proposed some green paint, similar to the project on Detroit Avenue.
- Add buffers where possible, for example between Mt Diablo and Atlantic Street. Traffic lane widths can be reduced to 11’ and bike lanes can be reduced to 6’ in this section to make room for a 2’ buffer.
We appreciate the attention to connecting the Class I path on Mesa to BART through centered sharrows, wayfinding and signage.
By including some green backed sharrows, similar to those pictured here in San Francisco (instead of regular sharrows, as is currently planned) or another advanced type of intersection crossing marking at the BART bus access road the city could further reduce confusion and help guide bicyclists to the correct path.
Can you make it to the meeting on Wednesday night? RSVP on Facebook here.
When: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 6:00pm
Where: City of Concord Senior Center, 2727 Parkside Circle