Anyone who’s ever commuted by bike to our neighboring cities of Oakland or Berkeley via San Pablo knows what a harrowing experience it can be. Narrow shared lanes, revolving street parking and robust automobile traffic are not a good combination for getting to one’s destination safely (Carrying a horseshoe in ones back-pocket is recommended!). I personally have a coworker who was struck but lucky enough to escape with a concussion and a broken bike frame. I wish I had the stats to support how dangerous this road is to cyclists. Should bicyclists concede this vital commuting artery to vehicles (Apparently it’s actually designated a “State Highway”)? If the recent BART strike has demonstrated anything, it’s that we can’t become too reliant on any one form of transportation. Regardless of whether you ride or not, it’s hard to argue against the traffic mitigation, parking, pollution and health benefits that can be achieved by encouraging bike transit in an urban environment such as ours.
The East Bay Bicycle Coalition has taken the City of Emeryville to task for what it is describing as not being friendly to bicyclists and effectively reneging on its agreement to create “Bike Boxes” and other bicycle safety measures recommended by the National Association of City Transportation Official’s (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The inclusion of the bike boxes was one of the innovative ideas that helped the city get the Safe Routes to Transit grant that is funding much of these improvements.
When approached for comment, the city denied that the EBBC approached them directly about removing these bike boxes prior to publishing this article but did acknowledge that any proposed “Non-standard” designs can invite litigation and would have to be scrutinized closer (although admittedly virtually every city program exposes the city to liability including something as benign as a playground swing). The criticism of the bike boxes seems to be a limitation it creates on automobiles making right-turns at red-lights. Apparently since the article was published, the two sides have met and even had what new city manager Sabrina Landreth described as a “productive” meeting discussing their differences.
City Employees, EBPAC (Emeryville Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee) and the EBBC are slated to hash things out at this Thursday’s, July 18th Public Works Committee meeting at 9 a.m. (Chaired by public works department Maurice Kaufman). The EBBC is calling on citizens to attend this meeting and show their support for better bike alternatives before the plans are presented to council.
Emeryville City Attorney, Traffic Engineer Say No to Safe Bike Access
Imagine if San Pablo Ave & 40th St looked like this:
You shouldn’t have to dodge right-turning cars on your bike commute on 40th St as you cross San Pablo Ave, and from W. MacArthur Blvd you shouldn’t have to get off your bike and walk across San Pablo Ave to get to the new bike lanes on Adeline St. Yet this is exactly what Emeryville expects you to do because their conservative city attorney has legal concerns and their traffic engineer is concerned about slowing down cars in order to make your bike commute safe. We need your help to change this.
We are asking for advance bike boxes to be reincorporated into 40th St at San Pablo and that a safe bike crossing of San Pablo at W. MacArthur be included in the project. Please contact these key Emeryville City Council members and let them know you want full bike accommodations in these two intersections. | Read more on EBBC.org →