UC Proposes San Pablo Cycle Track!

Sprouts imageShortly after the final signature was applied to the settlement agreement between UC and AS&R, UC’s University Village Mixed-Use Project developers informed AS&R they had included a two-way cycle track along the project frontage on San Pablo.  This includes in front of the proposed Sprouts Farmers Market north of Monroe.  The new plans showing the cycle track are available at http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=521.  These plans will be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission at a study session during its meeting on Wednesday, May 8th.

A map of the cycling path network in development in west Albany shows the critical link this cycle track could provide. When complete, this cycling network could prove to be the most connected of all such networks in Bay Area sites containing higher residential density and commerce (the network extends to the condominium complexes on Pierce Street, where thousands of people live).  Completing this cycle track will also allow residents to commute from south Albany and northwest Berkeley to the planned Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory bay campus on the Bay Trail in Richmond as well as other employment centers to the north entirely on routes with few to no motorists.

In a fitting bit of serendipity, someone that makes just that commute via Dartmouth and threading through the Village and Buchanan to and from the Bay Trail found their way to the AS&R happy hour the day after AS&R met with the developers.  AS&R was able to say her commute was set to improve dramatically with facilities in the works letting her ride motorist-free all the way to the Bay Trail from the moment she hit San Pablo and Dartmouth.  She became AS&R’s newest member and volunteer on the spot.

Besides all of the above, the proposed cycle track appears to be the first along a commercial street in the East Bay, and perhaps the first along a State highway, and so could further advance cycle tracks as the next wave of preferred cycling facilities in the Bay Area.

Of course there are yet design details to check regarding the cycle track and adjacent sidewalk, and the project must go through subdivision approval and design review before AS&R can be absolutely confident the cycle track will be included. A first step in that regard was taken in the meeting with the developers. The cycle track shown in the new site plan ends just south of a driveway into the supermarket parking lot at the north edge of the property.

When asked, the developer replied they ended it there because they did not know what else to do.  AS&R explained its goal to have the cycle track continue to the north along the east edge of the Gill tract to connect with the east end of the Buchanan path under construction (originally suggested by Traffic and Safety Commissioner John Miki).  The developer did not know about the Buchanan path and the possible connection, and committed on the spot to extend the cycle track right up to the northern edge of the property.

So come to the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on May 8th or send a message to the Commission care of cityhall@albanyca.org celebrating and supporting the proposed the cycle track.

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