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What You Want in Berkeley’s Bicycle Plan Update

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: February 7, 2015

Bike East Bay Member Organizing Mtg for Berkeley Bicycle Plan Update, Thursday, September 10, 6:00-8:00pm, Sports Basement Berkeley, 2727 Milvia Street.

Berkeley kicked off a long-awaited update to its Bicycle Master Plan on April 27 at an Open House event at the Downtown Berkeley Library. To get our members ready, Bike East Bay asked people to think big. Ranked 4 nationally in bike commuting, Berkeley should have, and will have, the best bicycle plan in America when the updated plan is approved in 2016. But how forward thinking should the plan be and what are our members asking for? And what will Berkeley’s bikeway network of the future look like?

We sent out a survey to our supporters in early February and already have received over 200 responses. The top four asks are:

  1. Safer crossings at intersections of bike boulevards and arterials streets
  2. Protected bike lanes on busy streets
  3. Better pavement conditions
  4. More bike regular bike lanes

Not surprisingly, the highest priority is better boulevard crossings at major arterials. The intersection of the Milvia St bike boulevard at University Ave has one of the highest bike collision rates in the City. Protected bike lanes coming in as a high priority is a pleasant surprise. After all, Berkeley is famous for its bicycle boulevards, not on-street bike lanes on busy streets. Apparently, people bicycling in Berkeley are ready for a better experience getting to where they go.

Given this input, Bike East Bay has prepared the following summary of what we are hearing and what we plan to ask for. Let us know what you think.

  1. Bicycle Boulevard Crossings: the intersection of MLK Jr Way and the Channing Way bicycle boulevard set the standard 20 years ago. We need more of these crossing treatments. Short of this, we need bicycle traffic signal heads to give bikes a headstart at these crossings. Copenhagen signalizes busy crossings where cars turn right and there is lots of traffic;
  2. Protected Bike Lanes: streets such as Milvia St in Downtown Berkeley, Channing Way, Dana St and Bancroft Way in the Southside, Oxford St around campus, and 9th St in southwest Berkeley all should have protected bike lanes. The photo here is from H.C. Ørsteds Vej in Copenhagen, a street 40′ wide in this stretch, just like Milvia St. It has protected bike lanes on both sides of the street, against the curb. Parking is provided only where it is most needed on one side of the street. 

    Here are sectionals of what Milvia St and others could look like:

    • Milvia Street Downtown
    • Channing Way Southside
    • A Two-Way Dana St Southside [coming soon]
    • Telegraph Avenue
    • Bancroft Way Southside (Oxford to Dana)
    • Oxford St at Cal [coming soon]
    • 9th St bike boulevard in southwest Berkeley [coming soon]
    • Shattuck Ave south of Adeline
    • Adeline St in South Berkeley: with a street width of 180ft, the world is our oyster. The photo here is from central Copenhagen, where the city recently totally redesigned a major arterial leading to downtown, providing protected 10ft wide cycle tracks (protected bike lanes). Berkeley can do this too, in addition to any other street improvements the neighborhood would like to see
    • Gilman St 
  3. Pavement Conditions: Berkeley receives $7 million every year for street repaving. This is a big boost from previous years, as voter approval of Measure M in 2012 and Measure BB in 2014 combined have substantially increased the City’s funding for street maintenance. Bike East Bay will propose that streets that are bikeways be kept at a Pavement Condition Index score of 70 or higher. In other words, these streets get repaved before non-bikeway streets having a lower PCI score;
  4. Bike Traffic Signals: Bike East Bay will propose bike traffic signals at all the bike boulevard crossings of busy streets, either as part of regular traffic lights, or if the intersection is not currently signalized, then part of a future HAWK traffic beacon, which the City is busy installing its first at the Hillegass/Ashby intersection. We expect this new signal to go in Summer 2015;

An official kickoff event is planned for April and we need you there to remind Mayor Tom Bates of his pledge to make Berkeley the best city for bicycling in America

Take a quick 6-question survey of your Berkeley bike priorities

Check out innovative bikeways in Copenhagen, a City that Berkeley can learn a lot from.



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