Bike Advocates Mark Progress on Both Sides of the Bay
Alameda City Council approves cross-Alameda protected bike lanes, while San Francisco gets Fifth Street going
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Bike advocates on both sides of the Bay marked significant progress this week.
Tuesday evening the Alameda City Council approved a protected bike lane on Clement Street. And we couldn’t describe it any better than Bike Walk Alameda’s Patricia Potter, who posted this on the group’s Facebook page:
A 5-0 knockout last night for two-way protected bike lane on Clement!! Just imagine pretty soon you can ride from the Fruitvale Bridge through Jean Sweeney all the way to the Ferry on a protected bike lane. All those east end kids going to school on the west end can get there safely–AMAZING!!! Huge thank you to the Mayor, Vice Mayor and City Council! Also to the recently graduated class of Susie Hufstader’s “How to Speak in front of City Council”–you did an AWESOME JOB!!! You spoke from the heart and with passion–well done!! What’s next?? Central Avenue, of course!!
This victory is perhaps the most significant chunk of an ongoing campaign to build the Cross-Alameda trail, which will give cyclists a safe, comfortable route along more or less the entire north shore of the island. In December the city christened another significant segment with the opening of Jean Sweeney Park. That now-completed section of the path runs through the park, as seen in the photo below. There’s also a short segment of completed protected lane from Entrance Road to Paru.
It took a lot of hard work. But, chunk by chunk, thanks in large part to the advocates at Bike Walk Alameda and Bike East Bay, the Cross-Alameda trail is becoming a reality.
Fifth Street Protected Bike Lane Approved
Meanwhile, San Francisco also took a step forward, with the SFMTA’s vote, also Tuesday, to approve protected bike lanes on Fifth St. in SoMa, between Townsend and Market streets.
“This is just one of a number of corridors that we’re re-designing without layers and layers of added bureaucracy, because we simply don’t have time to wait while people are in danger,” wrote Mayor London Breed about the decision in a twitter post. See the SFBC’s Paul Valdez’s reply, plus additional comments from the Mayor, in the embedded tweet below:
Congratulations to us all. Why? Because we will be safer when biking to our jobs, biking to our friends and families, biking to a cafe, biking to a store, etc. May I humbly ask for five more miles to the twenty promised? Life is precious and I like biking in SF…on some days.
— Paul Valdez 🚲🏳️🌈 (@paulvaldezsf) September 18, 2019
“Every time I dare to ride on Fifth Street I see something chilling. Inexperienced riders, usually tourists, sometimes with children, sandwiched between trucks, buses, and parked cars with only scraps of paint encouraging them to be bold and ‘take the lane,'” said Charles Deffarges, Senior Community Organizer at the SF Bicycle Coalition, in his statement Tuesday to the SFMTA board. “They’re on Fifth because it’s on our bicycle network and apps, maps, [and] the city encourages using it as a direct connection from Market to Caltrain. It’s only a matter of time before someone is hit and killed on this deadly corridor; let’s not wait.”
Streetsblog did a more in-depth piece on the designs and timeline in April, which delved into some of the persistent flaws with the design (notably at intersections, which still depend on ‘mixing zones’).
Still, it will be a huge improvement over what’s there now.
According to the SFMTA, the lanes should go in this Fall.