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Should San Pablo Avenue Have Bike Lanes?

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition wants to make the street more bicycle-friendly.

As city officials investigate ways to make Albany’s roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, bicycle advocates are seeking to have bike lanes added to San Pablo Avenue.

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is calling on supporters to attend Thursday’s meeting of the Traffic and Safety Commission to speak in favor of bike lanes on the busy thoroughfare, which currently has four lanes of traffic and turn lanes.  

On Tuesday, Albany City Council was scheduled to vote on a resolution adopting a “Complete Streets” policy, which is now a requirement for cities looking to receive grant money from Alameda County and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Here’s a description of Complete Streets from the Albany City Council resolution: “‘Complete Streets’ describes a comprehensive, integrated transportation network with infrastructure and design that allows safe and convenient travel along and across streets for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, users and operators of public transportation, seniors, children, youth, and families.” 

Here's the MTC's Complete Streets page. 

Preston Jordan February 09, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Regarding the relative motorist volumes on San Pablo versus Marin, The average daily traffic volume on San Pablo in Albany was 21,000 to 25,000 per day in 2010 (http://traffic-counts.dot.ca.gov/2010all/Route118-133.html). The average daily volume on Marin was just under 20,000 (19,483) in the City's 2007 measurement of that street. 2007 is the most recent data I have from the City, although I believe it would have had to collect data in 2012 in order to be able to continue to enforce speed limits (such enforcement requires motorist speed and volume data collection every five years by State law). So San Pablo carries just 8% to 23% more motorists than Marin. Of course the nature of the vehicles is quite different, with San Pablo a bus route and designated truck route, which requires more space and capacity.
Kathryn Javandel February 09, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Re the Marin bike lanes - Construction is currently underway on the final piece of the Marin/Buchanan bikeway, as part of the Albany Bay Trail Connector Project. It was an enormously complicated project with regard to all the local, state and federal agencies who either owned or controlled the properties affected by the bike path. "The project required agreements with a slew of agencies, because of property owners along Buchanan: the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Ocean View School, U.C. Berkeley’s Gill Tract, and Caltrans which oversees San Pablo Avenue." http://albany.patch.com/articles/buchanan-bike-path-construction-starting-soon
Preston Jordan February 09, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Regarding comments about left turn lane or sidewalk removal to install cycling lanes on San Pablo, that is not what the complete streets consultants proposed. Rather they proposed a 6-foot wide, landscaped for the most part, median mid block and on-street parking removal at intersections to preserve the left turn lanes. Their best estimate on parking removal to date was 15% to 40%, which is a wide range. I understand they will provide a narrower estimate at the Traffic and Safety Commission meeting on February 28th. Obviously removal of any on-street parking is a big issue. The economic and other consequences would have to be studied in detail. That said, while conventional wisdom holds parking removal leads to less economic activity, studies indicate some areas giving up some motorist infrastructure to better accommodate cycling have more economic activity as a result. So I am not sure if cycling lanes on San Pablo are the way to go. It needs more study. Albany does need to provide north-south cycling routes through this part of town though. The Active Transportation Plan the City adopted called for routes on Kains and Adams by making them two-way with barriers to prevent motorists traveling more than a block in the currently prohibited direction. The prospect of these was downgraded after opposition by a few those streets residents. So opposition to lanes on San Pablo and opposition to two-way routes on the nearest side streets, what will give?
Albany Denizen February 25, 2013 at 05:56 PM
This is for Preston, whose remarks are found below. First, it was a woman who died, Betty Meniketti. There was a second person, a boy on a skateboard, further up on Marin, also on the south side of the street. Marin is still a freeway, with plenty of speeders, racing to/from the Berkeley hills at rush hour. As an older person with a dog, I rarely feel safe crossing Marin, except at Masonic or San Pablo. Personally, I'd like to see a light - perhaps a pedestrian-activated light - at Cornell or Talbot and Marin, to make it safer for schoolchildren headed for Cornell School to cross. Strollers and Rollers, how about working to encourage and support kids being able to ride their bikes safely and regularly to and from school?
Preston Jordan February 25, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Thank you Miss Douglass. The death of Ruth Meniketti still haunts me. She was killed by an intoxicated motorist in 2007 after the reconfiguration. Designing the reconfiguration to prevent this would have required much more intervention and expense. Tyler De Martini was skateboarding downhill in the cycling lane at night without a light or a helmet and found at fault for the accident (http://www.berkeleyside.com/2012/02/01/skateboarder-hit-by-car-dies-of-injuries/). It is hard to protect people from such personal decisions. The fatality I referred to was a man, in 2004 I believe. He was walking in a crosswalk and struck by a motorist not under the influence. Albany's Active Transportation Plan calls for building a median and constructing bulbouts at Talbot and Marin. This would narrow the crossing distance to just one lane at a time. Unfortunately, the failure of Measure B1 last fall by 0.13% means the Marin safety project will likely not be funded for years. As to Albany Strollers & Rollers, it has given away hundreds of safety lights to students, participated in leading walking and biking buses, recommended the bulbouts at Buchanan and Jackson, participated in the safe routes to school redesign of the Santa Fe and Marin intersection, and provided a letter of support for the recently successful grant application to improve the Curtis and Marin intersection. Strollers & Rollers welcomes your energy to do more. You can sign up at lists.ebbc.org.

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