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We Go to Berkeley City Council March 15 for Fulton Street Bike Lane

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: March 12, 2016

Location Correction: Berkeley Unified School District Board Room 1231 Addison St at Bonar


Bike East Bay needs you to attend Berkeley’s City Council meeting on March 15.

Mayor Tom Bates has stepped up and will ask Berkeley City Council to support striping a Fulton Street bike lane by Bike to Work Day, May 12. Councilmember Jesse Arreguin is co-sponsoring this proposal. Come show your support and be part of a wake up call to the City of Berkeley to start building a network of protected bike lanes to keep residents safe.

When: Tuesday, March 15, 7:00pm

Where: Berkeley Unified School District Board Room 1231 Addison St at Bonar

Why: To call for Fulton Street bike lanes to be comleted by May 12 and to show the City of Berkeley that long delays in completing bike lanes is no longer acceptable, especially when these delays endanger bicyclists.  

What you can do

  • Come March 15 to Berkeley City Council in support of Fulton Street – RSVP here. Location: Berkeley Unified School District Board Room 1231 Addison St at Bonar. Wear your bright neon bike vest or jacket and bring your helmet and rear red blinky light with you in the council chambers.
  • Send an email to Berkeley City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley asking Berkeley to complete this bike lane by Bike to Work Day, May 12
  • Volunteer to help make this bike lane happen as opportunities arise in the next ten weeks. There is much to do. Volunteer here.
  • Get involved to help more bike lanes happen—come to Berkeley’s Bicycle Subcommittee Meeting Thursday, March 10, 7:00pm at the North Berkeley Senior Center, Hearst Avenue & MLK Jr Way.

We have discussed this project with Councilmembers Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arreguin, and both are supportive. We will be meeting with remaining Councilmembers to ask for a unanimous vote.

A huge community of support has rallied in response to Megan Schwartzman’s crash on February 2 on Fulton Street, right where the City last year repaved the street and failed to add the bike lane called for in Berkeley’s 2000 and 2005 Bicycle Plans. Megan’s family and friends are ready for Berkeley to do better, and so are we. It starts March 15 at City Council.
To show the Berkeley City Council how visible Megan was when she was struck by the driver on Fulton Street please wear high-visability brightly colored jacket or vest, wear your helmet and bring your rear red blinky light with you to council chambers. When our item comes up we will all turn on our blinky lights to show support for Fulton Street bike lanes, and to make the point that Megan was doing all the right things to be safe and visible on her bike.  We need protected bike lanes, because even the best gear does not protect you on your bike.

Here’s the Plan

  • March 15: City Council Meeting to direct Public Works to complete Fulton Street bike lanes by Thursday, May 12— Bike to Work Day
  • April 21: Transportation Commission Meeting to approve final designs for new bikeway
  • May 12: ribbon cutting of new bike lanes, 8:00am at the intersection of Bancroft Way and Fulton Street

Talking Points for Fulton Street

  • These bike lanes were approved 16 years ago in Berkeley’s 2000 Bicycle Plan, and re-approved in 2005 and 2012

  • Fulton Street does not need to devote 60 feet to cars and nothing for bikes. One 10-ft wide southbound bike lane is needed

  • Traffic will flow just fine on Fulton Street with a southbound bike lane

  • Removing 3 parking spaces on Fulton Street is a minor impact to parking

  • Adding a separated bike lane is a huge improvement for bicycle safety

  • Adding a bike lane on Fulton Street (and eventually on Milvia Street) addresses the problem of the higher number of bike crashes on Shattuck Avenue, by giving residents safer options to Shattuck Avenue for north-south travel.

  • Adding bike lanes during repaving projects is the most cost effective and efficient way to improve bicycling in Berkeley

  • Berkeley is the number 2 city in the US for bike commuting. We have a lot to do to build a safe network of bikeways for the thousands of people bicycling everyday.

  • One in ten trips is made by bike in Berkeley, with the highest concentration of bicycling around the UC campus

  • Bike East Bay needs to be a part of the Pavement Coordination Committee in Public Works.

Background on Project

For Berkeley to complete the Fulton Street bike lanes by Bike to Work Day, they need to do a focused traffic analysis on the two blocks of Fulton Street between Bancroft Way and Channing Way. Specifically, two things need to be confirmed:

  1. Do more cars turn left off of Fulton Street onto Durant Ave heading east or go straight at this intersection heading south? Which ever direction has more traffic gets an extra turn lane. Regardless, Fulton Street gets a curbside separated bike lane;

  2. On the block of Fulton Street between Durant Avenue and Channing Way, are two travel lanes needed to accommodate traffic stopping at the 4-way stop at Channing? If two lanes are needed, then on-street parking on the east side of the street will be removed (only 3 parking spaces) for there to be two travel lanes, parking on the west side, and a curbside, parking-protected bike lane.

Bike East Bay and a large community of planners, consultants and resident engineers in Berkeley are ready to step up and assist Berkeley in gathering and analyzing the traffic data needed to answer these questions. Once collected, Berkeley should be ready to issue a work order to their on-call roadway striping crews. This can be done by Bike to Work Day. Help us keep the pressure on to ensure it happens.

History of Repaving Problems in Berkeley

In 2000, Berkeley approved the first bicycle plan in the East Bay, and it called for bike lanes on Fulton Street. In 2005, Berkeley updated its bicycle plan and again reiterated that bike lanes should be striped on Fulton Street. In 2012, Berkeley approved the Downtown Plan, which like the Bicycle Plan called for bike lanes on Fulton Street.

Over the years, Berkeley set out to repave many streets on which the Bicycle Plan called for a bike lane to be added, but did not include bike lanes in the repaving. For example, Hearst Avenue was the first street repaved after approval of Berkeley’s 2000 Bicycle Plan, and the City declined to include bike lanes. The Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition protested, but was told that bike lanes were too big a change to the street for a repaving project. In response to our push to get the Hearst Avenue bike lanes implemented, the City joined with UC Berkeley to start designing Hearst Avenue bike lanes in 2011 and we expect to have these bike lanes completed by the end of 2016. It shouldn’t take 16 years.

In 2002, Oxford Street was repaved and again the City was prepared to avoid adding the bike lanes called for in its Bicycle Plan. A push from the Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition succeeded for the bike lanes you ride today on Oxford. We agree these narrow bike lanes need to be upgraded to modern bikeway design standards. In 2006, Gilman Street in West Berkeley got repaved and again the City was ready to pass on adding new bike lanes. Bicycle-Friendly Berkeley Coalition jumped into action and with the help of Councilmember Linda Maio, succeeded in getting the bike lanes added that you ride today on Gilman Street. Like the bike lanes on Oxford, we agree that Gilman Street’s bike lanes need upgrading, as well as extension east to the Ohlone Greenway.

In June 2015, Bike East Bay asked Berkeley to include a southbound bike lane on Fulton Street as part of its upcoming repaving, as well as bikeway improvements on several other streets getting repaved. The City responded that including the bike lane would require a traffic study and a public process for which there was not time or budget. The issue should be taken up in the City’s upcoming bicycle plan update, the City said. The City did include the short bike lane on Bay Street you see today, but again failed to complete that bike lane all the way.

On February 2, 2016, Megan Schwarzman was hit by a car from behind while bicycling on Fulton Street, right where the bike lane would have been. Fed up with the City’s continuous record of failing to include bike lanes in repaving projects, Bike East Bay wrote a letter on February 9, 2016 to Berkeley’s City Manager calling for an immediate bike lane on Fulton Street. And on February 23, 2016, Bike East Bay wrote a 2nd followup letter to the City Manager, again calling for the bike lane on Fulton Street.

On February 23, Berkeley finally responded to Bike East Bay’s letters and stated that they are considering adding a bike lane to Fulton Street, but not providing a timeline for completion, and implying that it could take many months.

On February 25, Bike East Bay met with Mayor Tom Bates to ask for City Council support to complete the bike lane by Bike to Work Day. The request goes to City Council on March 15, 2016.

Broader Strategy for Berkeley

To build a complete network of bikeways, both neighborhood boulevards on low traffic streets and protected bike lanes on busy streets, as well as off-street pathways, for Berkeley residents to safely and quickly get around town on. Berkeley All-Ages Bike Network.png

Here it is, shown right. Purple lines on neighborhood boulevards (or Bike Boulevards); green lines are protected bike lanes and off-street paths, such as the Ohlone Greenway and West Street Pathway.

Additional streets will also need improvements, such as Euclid Avenue and Tunnel Road, and many intersections will need to be completely redone with modern bikeway facilities, such as bike boxes and bike traffic signals for safe crossings. We hope you are excited to see the Hearst Avenue complete street project completed by the end of 2016, with protected bike lanes, bus boarding islands with curbside bike lane passage, bike boxes, and bike traffic signals. More on Hearst Avenue project here.

Bike East Bay’s Timeline for Berkeley Bikeway Implementation Projects

  • May 12:         Fulton Street Bike Lane Ribbon Cutting
  • June 2016:        Request for City Manager to add additional staff positions to Transportation Division and to elevate bikeway implementation to status of parking management and downtown plan.
  • Fall 2016:        Dana Street Two-Way Bikeway Demonstration
  • November 2016:    Celebrate opening of Hearst Avenue Complete Street
  • Winter 2017:        Telegraph Avenue design work begins
  • Spring 2017:     Bancroft Way Two-Way Bikeway as part of repaving
  • Summer 2017:    Celebrate opening of Milvia Street Protected Bike Lanes
  • 2018:            Adeline Street redesign begins ???

To support our hard work on your behalf to pressure Berkeley to do better, more and faster, please join/renew your membership in Bike East Bay, or make a generous donation to Bike East Bay. Thank you for your support.

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