Sausalito to Study Improving Bike Path

sausalitobikelanes_2.jpg

Any cyclist who has dodged cars on the main drag of Sausalito lately will be glad to hear the city has approved a $100,000 to study the safest bike route to the north end of town.

The city has hired Alta Planning and Design to recommend options to keep bikes rolling along the two-mile stretch between its downtown ferry landing and the start of the bike path next to US 101. The money comes from a $25 million federal grant Marin County received through the Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Project, which is aimed at encouraging people to walk and bike more.

The current bike route along Bridgeway was widened and repainted last year, but neither cyclists or motorists are happy with it. The study will look at alternate routes, including a circuitous path along the waterfront or a route over an old railroad right-of-way. It also may simply recommend upgrades to the current bike lanes, such as new pavement, landscaping, signs and bike sensors at traffic lights. City officials will use the study, which is expected to be completed this year, to apply for $300,000 to $1 million in additional funding from the pilot project.

"The relationship between the cars and the cyclists is becoming increasingly worse," said Sausalito Police Sgt. Stacie Gregory. "Both are getting frustrated they’re not given their fair share of the road." 

There have already been two crashes in 2009 that resulted in police reports, and Gregory said the bicyclists were to blame for both.  The latest came Thursday when a bicyclist "injured her face" by crashing into the back of a car that stopped suddenly. Police said she was "following too closely." The other came when a cyclist crashed into a car it was "illegally passing on the right," Gregory said.

There’s no study to improve the bike route through the south end of town – from Alexander Avenue to downtown – because so much of the property is privately owned and would be too costly to acquire.

"Sausalito has the enviable problem of being a destination spot in the Bay Area," said David Hoffman, planning director for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. "For the most part, the community likes the idea of keeping traffic to a fairly slow speed, which makes it reasonably good environment for cyclists to get through. I think where the frustration really comes from is residents who feel the town is being overrun by cyclists."

Both Gregory and Hoffman noted a weekend flood of recreational riders from San Francisco, including hundreds of tourists who rent bikes in San Francisco and ride back on the Sausalito ferry or continue along the bike path to Tiburon.

"The truth is all these people who are coming into Sausalito are adding to the tax base," said Hoffman. "If they get rid of the cyclists, they’re going to see a lot less tax revenue. And, times being what they are, I can’t believe any city is anxious to give up all that revenue."

  • The impetus for some of these changes sounds like the desire to shunt cyclists off the main roads and keep them from view from residents who are tired of seeing all the bikes. As a non-tourist cyclist who has actually been on a bike in the past few years, I find no safety issues in Sausalito whatsoever. The tourist cyclists are in more danger of injuring themselves (and others) on the bridge than in Sausalito IMHO.

    Oh, and also, I live in Potrero Hill and I “know where the frustration really comes from is residents who feel the neighborhood is being overrun by motorists.”

  • greg

    I like the sidewalk that is masquerading as a bike path in Sausalito. It might be ok for the Blazing Saddles crew, but the rest of us are going to stay on the road (side note: Mill Valley has a short section of bike lane that goes off the main road and onto a sidewalk, and it doesn’t seem to work too badly).

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    The tourists really are a menace to other bicyclists, on the bridge and on Bridgeway. I take the lane in Sausalito, to avoid those amateurs. Hopefully the Sausalito PD is not going to consider riding in the main lane unlawful.

  • Peter

    The impetus for some of these changes sounds like the desire to shunt cyclists off the main roads and keep them from view from residents who are tired of seeing all the bikes.

    agreed. but car drivers will be surprised to find out that people on bikes want to be treated like human beings, too. we’re not going to be harassed off the streets by cars and trucks, hauling through downtown Sausalito like it was the Indy 500 – trying to take a shortcut to the Bridge on their way from Berkeley, or from SF back to Berkeley. The highway is just up the street at Gate 6 road, they can go that way. People walking and on bike deserve the most direct routes — cars can go around.

    As a non-tourist cyclist who has actually been on a bike in the past few years, I find no safety issues in Sausalito whatsoever.

    the safety issues in Sausalito exist, by definition, because people are getting injured there all the time. It’s a virtual bloodbath. Just go ask one of the Fire/EMT crews over there and they won’t even say anything aloud — they’ll just shake their heads. I can’t imagine everything they’ve seen – even in downtown Sausalito. I’m an experienced cyclist and it’s more dangerous in downtown Sausalito than in much of SF. The huge BMW suv’s come tear-assing around the blind corner at Bridgeway and Princess and they can barely hold the road. When it’s rainy I walk my bike on the sidewalk — those people are straight up psychopaths.

    further, without physically separated bike lanes (cycletracks) on Bridgeway, cyclists are not allowed to participate as equals on the roads of Sausalito — that has to change — that will change.

    all that said, the multi-use/bike path by the edge of the water will be a boon for casual cyclists, for recreation, for local businesses, for EMT and Fire and Police who will not have to scrape as many humans off the road, for taxpayers who won’t have to continue to pay the incredible costs associated with cleaning humans off the road, for tourists who won’t have their vacations ruined by ending up in hospital with serious, life-changing, or life-ending injuries (shorn-off skin, broken bones and backs, deaths), etc.

    but neither cyclists or motorists are happy with it.

    The bike lanes on Bridgeway are not going away. Ever. They’re going to get bigger, and they’re going to get physically-separated from moving motorized traffic. We’re also going to slow down motorized traffic on Bridgeway to 20 MPH or less (‘Twenty is Plenty’). We’re also going to redo the traffic signal at Bridgeway and Princess Street so that pedestrians don’t have to press buttons and wait their entire lives just to spend their money on the other side of the street. We’re also going to widen the sidewalks all through downtown Sausalito, and we’re going to remove parking to make room for humans.

    There have already been two crashes in 2009 that resulted in police reports, and Gregory said the bicyclists were to blame for both.

    Blaming it on the cyclists sounds a bit fishy, but I can’t know what really happened without the police reports. I think Sausalito has been greatly underrepresented from the bike community point of view, and thanks to Streetsblog, that will start to change. We know cars slam on brakes all the time to try and smash up cyclists, like the case in LA where the doctor will soon be on trial, and the second incident sounds like a classic right-hook, like the lady who just got dragged underneath a car in Portland (she had the right of way, of course). We’re not going to continue to let drivers rage through downtown Sausalito with impunity. That time is over.

    There’s no study to improve the bike route through the south end of town – from Alexander Avenue to downtown – because so much of the property is privately owned and would be too costly to acquire.

    This I might describe as ‘from the Golden Gate Bridge into downtown Sausalito’ — just because ‘Alexander Ave’ doesn’t even show up on some maps. This is the key link, though, and we will improve this section, too. By this summer there will be series of meeting with the National Park Service (I think?) and representatives from all over on how to make Alexander Ave safe and enjoyable for everyone. If you’ve ridden that route, you know how dangerous it is for cyclists and pedestrians — it has to change, and there will be lots of rich car people there trying to keep things for cars-only, so the more support we have for changes on this route, the better. Again, we should get the backing of police, fire, rescue because they’re the ones who have to scrape all the cyclists and pedestrians off the pavement — it has to take a mental toll, and it’s not fair to the victims nor to the people who have to help them.

    As for handling the flood of cyclists coming from San Francisco on the weekends, a lot is being done, but a lot more needs to be done. There will be more designated parking – up to three lots. There will hopefully be more signage.

    We definitely need more institutional help – from the city, from the police department, etc. Speeds along Alexander Ave are off the charts. And there are _no_ bike lanes at all. It’s absolutely incredible.

    We need to decrease the speed of Alexander Ave/Bridgeway – down to 25 MPH max, and 10 or 15 in downtown. The speed decrease alone would probably save Marin a few million dollars in police/fire/rescue/hospital/lawsuits/etc.

    The people hauling through town are just boogying on over to Berkeley and using downtown Sausalito as a shortcut — they don’t even stop for coffee – they just terrorize the bikers and pedestrians – the people who keep downtown merchants afloat – and then haul onto the city, and repeat in the afternoon. It’s got to stop.

    Making the route to the Bridge passable will go a long way towards justifying bikes-on-the-bridge access for all other area bridges, as well. Right now it’s mostly tourist traffic and roadies, so normal humans don’t ride the bridge into and out of Sausalito. The low bridge ridership numbers – compared to what they would be if there was an actual route to the bridge for humans – are being used by Caltrans and others to keep bikers off of bridges, roads, etc. — most recently the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge.

    Looking forward to big changes in Sausalito!

  • We need to decrease the speed of Alexander Ave/Bridgeway – down to 25 MPH max, and 10 or 15 in downtown. The speed decrease alone would probably save Marin a few million dollars in police/fire/rescue/hospital/lawsuits/etc.

    All that would result in is a lot of tickets for cyclists descending Alexander….

  • The bike counts on the GGB are low because there’s two dangerous chicanes and the right-of-way is littered with pointy equipment. If cars faced similar obstacles, nobody would drive over it, either.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Belmont’s Ralston Corridor Study Ignores Need for Safe, Direct Bicycling

|
The Belmont City Council is gearing up to decide on a list of infrastructure investments intended to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion on Ralston Avenue. At a community meeting last month, representatives from consulting firms W-Trans and Alta Planning presented their Ralston Avenue Corridor Study, intended “to improve the multi-modal function” of the busy arterial street. Ralston Avenue […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Louisville Plans 100 Miles of Bike Boulevards

|
What would it take to make Louisville a bike-friendly city? Bike Louisville, a city agency, is proposing a network of traffic-calmed, low-stress streets to fill gaps in the current bike network and increase safety. Network blog Broken Sidewalk describes the plan for roughly 100 miles of “bike boulevards” that prioritize active transportation: Bike Louisville is finishing the […]

Sausalito To Install Donated Bike Racks for Tourists

|
A group of tourists visiting from Venezuela. Photo by Pam MacLean. What do you do when hundreds of cyclotourists descend on your bucolic village, clogging sidewalks with rented bikes? The Sausalito City Council is trying to quell a virulent public debate with a tried-and-true solution: install a lot of bike racks. The council voted 4-1 […]