Progress toward San Pablo bike lanes

On Thursday, April 25th, the Traffic & Safety Commission considered whether the upcoming Complete Streets plan for San Pablo Ave. should include bike lanes.  Adding bike lanes unfortunately requires removing some street parking.  The consultants offered a hybrid plan, with bike lanes in some sections, where they are most needed and where the existing parking is least used.  The remainder of the street would have green “super-sharrow” markings encouraging bikes and cars to share the right lane.  The Commission voted unanimously to instruct the consultants to proceed with this plan.

The plan will include bike lanes in both directions in the northernmost block of Albany, to connect with bike lanes which are in El Cerrito’s Master Plan.  In southern Albany, the plan will show a southbound bike lane from Buchanan St. to Dartmouth St., and a northbound bike lane from Dartmouth St. to Marin Ave.  If the city proceeds to turn Kains and Adams into two-way bicycle boulevards, as AS&R has long advocated, then the new bike lanes will fill in some important gaps to make for a thorough bicycling network in Albany.  In particular, southbound cyclists on the Adams bike boulevard, upon reaching the end of this side street at Buchanan, will be able to continue southward using the San Pablo bike lane.

The Commission’s approval of the plan does not mean that it will be built exactly as shown.  Once the plan is complete, the City will start seeking funding to change the street a little bit at a time.  Changes involving only paint, rather than repaving or changing cement medians, are the cheapest and will get done first.  Once some of the street has been set up with bike lanes and some with sharrows, and once some parking has been removed, the Commission hopes that the community’s wishes and priorities will become clearer.  Future plans can then be adjusted accordingly.  It’s possible that the end result could include more sections with bike lanes, or fewer, than are shown in the current plan.  But the Commission wanted to avoid laying down new concrete medians now that would make it difficult to add bike lanes later.

AS&R offers thanks to all of those who have spoken in favor of bike lanes at City meetings, and to the Traffic & Safety Commission for taking alternative transportation very seriously in planning for Albany’s future.

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