Berkeley Unanimously Approves Bancroft Way Cycle Track

Last Tuesday, Berkeley’s City Council voted unanimously to approve the pilot installation of a  protected two-way cycle track on Bancroft Way on the south side of UC Berkeley’s campus. When it is completed this October, Bancroft Way will connect Cal’s cross campus bikeway at Dana Street down to the existing protected bike lane on Fulton Street. These two blocks will be a major step towards building a complete network of protected bikeways in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood. A two-way cycle track on Dana Street will be the next protected bikeway in the network.

The pilot project on Bancroft Way also includes a bus-only lane to speed up AC Transit service in the campus area. If successful, both the dedicated bus lane and protected bike lane on Bancroft Way will be made permanent when the street is repaved in summer 2017.

Bike East Bay staff and members of the community waited patiently until 10pm for the Bancroft Way item to go before Council on Tuesday. More than 10 community members spoke up to show their support.

Stuart Baker, the Executive Director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District, gave his wholehearted support of the cycle track. “We see this as a really vital link for us to connect to downtown and the BART station. While improving safety for bicyclists, we also envision with the arrival of bike share an opportunity to welcome tourists who use BART.”

Lori Hines, a bike commuter who bikes from southwest Berkeley to Cal every day, also spoke in support of the project: “I love my commute, but it’s really frustrating. Those last blocks around campus you either run into a one-way street or are on a busy street. Bancroft Way needs a two-way bike track. It will be really safe for bicyclists.”

After a brief discussion among council members, the project proposal passed unanimously. The project should be on the ground this fall.

Bike East Bay has pushed hard to build protected bike lanes in Berkeley in the past two years, resulting in the installation of 3 segments this year (Fulton Street, Bancroft Way and Hearst Ave), and the East Bay’s first protected intersection coming to North Berkeley. Now we want to accelerate this process. Instead of building protected bike lanes piece by piece, Bike East Bay is pushing for a coordinated effort to plan a network of protected bikeways through the city in the Berkeley Bike Plan. The draft plan is out, but it needs to go further.

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