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Bicycle Infrastructure

Eyes on the Street: Milvia Update

4:22 PM PST on March 7, 2022

A cyclist on Milvia going past a section of new rubber, mountable curb. Photos: Streetsblog/Rudick

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

Berkeley replaced sections of concrete-protected bike lane curbs on Milvia with rubber, mountable curbs last week, as seen in the lead image.

From the advocates at Walk Bike Berkeley:

As Streetsblog reported, a concrete, short length of protected bike lane on Milvia near the intersection with Haste was removed ostensibly because Alta Bates medical center complained that their oxygen delivery trucks couldn't make the turns. Advocates who had lobbied for years for these curbs were outraged that they were removed without any consultation, especially since the city had spent so much time doing outreach to local establishments. At the time, Mayor Jesse Arreguin and others with the city promised to replace the concrete with mountable curbs before the opening ceremony for the Milvia safety project, which was supposed to be this month.

The mountable island in front of Alta Vista medical center
The mountable island in front of Alta Vista medical center
A look at the mountable curb (left) and the concrete curb it replaced (right)
A look at the mountable curb (left) and a concrete curb similar to the one it replaced (right).

Meanwhile, when Streetsblog first toured the long-sought upgrades, the protection stretched from Blake to Allston Way. Construction is now well under way on the northern end of the project, between Allston and Hearst, where it meets Hearst's parking protected bike lanes.

Advocates have been waiting for these upgrades for at least five years. From Berkeley's project information page on why Milvia is getting such top-notch treatments:

Berkeley has the highest rate of bicycling to work in the United States among cities with over 100,000 residents, and Milvia is the City’s primary north-south bikeway. In recent years, there's been a significant rise in bicycle activity in Downtown Berkeley, particularly along Milvia Street. At last count, over 500 people on bicycles pass through the intersection of Milvia and Channing during the 2-hour PM peak period alone. During the same period, over 400 pass through the intersection of Milvia and Hearst. While the high volume of use is encouraging, there has also been a high volume of collisions. According to analysis completed for the City Bicycle Plan 2017, Milvia Street had the highest number of total collisions between 2001 and 2012, which suggests that design changes should be evaluated to better accommodate the mix of roadway users along this downtown Bicycle Boulevard.

Construction should be completed soon, with a tentative ribbon-cutting around mid-April (postponed from March 1), according to an advocate close to the project. When done, this will be one of the safest on-street bike lanes in the Bay Area, with almost a mile of wide, fully separated, concrete-and-parking-protected lanes in both directions.

A few more pics of the work getting finished north of Allston.

A bike signal north of University
A bike signal north of University

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