Federal Help for Two East Bay Bikeways at National Bike Summit

At last week’s National Bike Summit, Bike East Bay sought Federal support for two important bikeway projects: 1) the Bay Trail along the Oakland Estuary and 2) bike lanes on Dublin Blvd.

For the Bay Trail, we met staff of Representative Barbara Lee (CA 9) and Representative John Garamendi (CA 3). The Oakland Estuary is within Lee’s District and Garamendi sits on the Water Resources Development Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Estuary. Both Lee and Garamendi are strong supporters of bicycling.

Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers is denying Oakland an easement along the Estuary to build segments of the Bay Trail along the shoreline near the High Street and Park Street Bridges. The Army Corps wants Oakland to take full title to the Estuary, but Oakland can’t afford the maintenance and operation. The Coast Guard is denying all requests to build additional low-level bike/ped bridges out over the estuary around the foot of the three car bridges, due to the need for sufficient space for barge traffic. Lee’s office will work with Garamendi to explore options for introducing a new bill in Congress that legally gives Oakland an easement to the shoreline.

In Dublin, a raucous public workshop on February 28 showed strong neighborhood support for exploring real bike lanes on Dublin Blvd, connecting San Ramon Valley Blvd to City Hall and to the Alamo Canal Trail. Residents were not satisfied with staff’s proposed option of riding on the sidewalks.

Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA 15), who represents the Tri Valley, agreed that Dublin’s ‘new downtown’ area needs to be walkable and bikeable in order to be a success and should not serve as a freeway adjunct as it currently does. Dublin will be applying for Federal monies to help build this new downtown area and Swalwell’s office will be watching closely to ensure that Dublin’s new complete streets policy ensures that the streets in and around the West Dublin BART Station are safe and inviting for people walking and bicycling. Dublin staff have agreed to come back with a revised option for bike lanes on Dublin Blvd.

In addition to meeting with Lee, Swalwell and Garamendi, we met with Representative George Miller and Senator Diane Feinstein. We asked them and all our Congressmembers to sign on to a letter to the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood asking that the Federal Transportation Bill include performance measures not only for car and freeways, but also for non-motorized users of the roadways. Barbara Lee’s office has already signed on and we will follow up with the rest of our Congressional delegation to ensure strong support from California for this important goal.

Next blog from the Summit: The Wonky Side of the Summit

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