The “final” design of the active transportation facilities along the portion of San Pablo fronting the University Village Mixed Use project was shown to the Traffic and Safety Commission at its December meeting. To AS&R’s surprise, the proposed signalized active transportation crossing of San Pablo at Dartmouth did not include accommodation for people cycling. Here is the design presented. Note in particular that the curb opening on the west side of San Pablo is only as wide as the crosswalk, thus requiring people to enter that crosswalk to access the cycle track. However riding in a crosswalk is illegal if it is not a connection along a cycling path, which it is not in this case.
City staff explained they had presented CalTrans with a schematic design that included the cycling crossing, but CalTrans rejected that component. The issue is that the type of signal (a HAWK or hybrid pedestrian beacon) has a solid red phase through which motorists cannot proceed following by a trailing flashing red phase that requires motorists to stop, let any sidewalk users cross, and then proceed. As such, it does not protect people biking across.
To solve this, a cycling signal head facing people crossing San Pablo is needed to tell them when the facing motorists on San Pablo is solid red and so it is safe to cycle across. However, combining cycling signal heads with a HAWK signal is not provided for in engineering standards. So they can only be added under provisions for experimentation. This requires far more overhead in terms of document preparation, meeting attendance, and data collection. However subsequent to the Traffic and Safety Commission meeting, staff committed to pursue this process with CalTrans.
Here is the ultimate design AS&R has requested. If you would like more details, see AS&R’s and Bike East Bay’s letter to Albany staff.