By Dave Campbell
At a time when cities are facing budget cuts and reducing staff, Berkeley is pushing ahead with several bikeway projects and initiatives to make the city more walkable and more bikeable.
Many of the Berkeley’s bikeway improvements were highlighted at the June 25 meeting of the Berkeley Bicycle Subcommittee, where the City’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Planner, Eric Anderson, had a lot of exciting updates to share with a group of 18 interested residents. Anderson led a discussion of the Hearst Avenue Corridor Study and its proposed road diet, green bikeway features, and significantly improved pedestrian crossings.
Green bikeways proposed on Hearst Avenue
The City of Berkeley is working with UC Berkeley on many exciting bicycle and pedestrian improvements on Hearst Avenue, between Shattuck Avenue and Gayley Road, the entire north side of campus. Most exciting is a road diet, bringing Hearst down from 4 lanes in each direction to 2 lanes with bike lanes and a center median.
A road diet not only makes pedestrian crossings much safer and allows space for bike lanes, it also improves traffic flow significantly. Advocates will also get green bike lanes and advance stop boxes at the intersection of Hearst and Oxford, and possibly at the intersection with Le Conte. East of Le Conte, a separated buffered bike lane and a new sidewalk is proposed, up to Euclid and North Gate. In the downhill direction, green-backed bike sharrows are proposed in a shared lane arrangement, which should be sufficient given the downhill on this stretch of Hearst.
Over the next few weeks Berkeley is completing the installation of several hundred new bike racks and plans to start another round of bike rack installation this Fall. If your favorite business needs a bike rack, please contact Eric Anderson, Berkeley Bicycle Planner to request a free rack on the sidewalk in front (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition, the city expects to finalize its new Bicycle Parking Ordinance later this year and have the Council adopt the new ordinance in early 2013. These new guidelines will include a plan for more on-street bike parking corrals like those in front of the Downtown Library.
West Street Pathway is open
The gates are down on the extension of the West Street Pathway between Deleware and Virginia. Mayor Tom Bates rode with the EBBC on Bike to Work Day to survey the nearly completed bikeway, and now it’s done. Construction starts soon on the connecting segment between Virginia and the Ohlone Greenway and it is hoped that this part can be completed in the Fall.
Berkeley Bicycle Plan update
Berkeley has secured $162,000 for updating its Bicycle Plan and is awaiting word in July from Caltrans on an additional grant to complete funding for what will be the city’s first update to its Bicycle Plan since 2000. The new Bicycle Plan will include designs for improved crossing of arterial streets at Bicycle Boulevards, the final missing piece to the Bicycle Boulevard Network.
Dave Campbell is Program Director for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. Team EBBC is forming for Climate Ride 2012 and you can support its efforts in many ways. Join the Team and enjoy a 5-day scenic, fully supported bike tour from Eureka to San Francisco in September, or make a donation to the Team and help its efforts to raise money for the work it does to make the East Bay more bike friendly. For more information visit EBBC Climate Ride 2012.
A record number of cyclists ride on Bike to Work day [05.10.12]
Op/Ed: Safe cycling in wake of hit and run collision [04.30.12]
Video: Two cyclists struck by hit and run driver on Tunnel Road [04.27.12]
Podcast: What exactly are Berkeley’s rules of the road for cyclists? [11.29.11]
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