Council to consider Shore Line bikeway project

Council to consider Shore Line bikeway project

Michele Ellson

The city will likely soon be seeking a firm to build a long-desired Shore Line Drive bikeway that staffers say will offer a safer route and bay views to cyclists traversing a 1.8-mile stretch of the Island.

The City Council is scheduled on Tuesday to consider approving plans for the project and authorizing a call for bids to build it. Construction is expected to begin in July and take 60 working days.

The city will pay about a half million dollars toward the $971,800 project, with most of the rest of the tab to be covered by a federal grant. Money from the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission will cover the remaining $46,400 of the project’s cost.

The two-way bikeway will start on Broadway near Bayview Drive and will stretch the entire length of Shore Line Drive, terminating on Westline and Otis drives. The bike-only track will be installed in roadway lanes that now hold moving and parked cars.

Parking along the bikeway route will be reduced from 617 spaces to 431 spaces, according to a staff report to the council for Tuesday’s meeting. But apartment dwellers living along the route will get an additional 105 24-hour spaces, it says, and the number of spaces for disabled drivers will double to four.

The project was first included in the city’s 1974 bicycle plan, a presentation to be given to the council on Tuesday says. The city’s plan prioritize bicycle travel on the streets where the bikeway – which will be separated from street traffic and a shared path along the city’s Shore Line beach – is to be built.

The city won a federal grant for the project in 2011 and solicited community input on what should be built a year later. The Transportation Commission okayed revised plans for the bikeway in December and additional changes in January.

In their report, city staffers say the project will provide more and safer options for cyclists, will reduce conflicts on the multi-use shoreline path and slow down drivers.

Bike Walk Alameda president Lucy Gigli called the planned bikeway project a “great example” of a “complete street” that offers equal access to people using multiple modes of transportation.

“We envision the new corridor to be a model for other important Alameda corridors and an element in transportation programs to reduce single occupancy vehicle use as is being pursued at Alameda Point,” Gigli said, referring to plans to try to reduce anticipated vehicle traffic from businesses by 30 percent and by 10 percent for other trips.

In addition to providing a dedicated path for cyclists that’s separate from car traffic and what will now be a shoreline pedestrian path, the redesigned streets will offer bus landing areas and shelters for riders, an upgrade over the amenity-free stops available now. And she said the car travel and parking needs of drivers were also assessed and factored in to the proposed changes.

Gigli said a similar road rearrangement – the 2008 creation of a Fernside Boulevard cycle track between Otis Drive and San Jose Avenue – “worked beautifully,” allowing students to comfortably and safely bike, walk or travel by car to and from school.

Comments

Submitted by William (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

It appears that the city is penalizing drivers of automobiles with this plan. Very few bike riders use this area. If it were to be calculated, I suspect that it would cost $80,000 per rider. Seems unreasonable for so few individuals. The one way only street will increase traffic on Grand Street and Otis, which house five schools and a lot of older citizens who will now have to compete with the cars forced to use Broadway and Grand Street just to get to Shoreline. As long as we have additional 911 vehicles available, we should be OK though. BTW, are bike riders paying anything for this additional space?

Submitted by Jame (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

Love this. Biking on Shore Line is what caused me to stop biking. The first day I tried biking home from work, I had a low speed collision with an inattentive car who sped out of the driveway at the park. I ended up with a scraped elbow and grease stained pants. Didn't get on a bike again for 10+ years. This sort or bike lane would make biking feel a lot safer.

Submitted by Geof Gannon (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

Oh My God! Spending A MILLION DOLLARS on a mile and a half of sidewalk that almost nobody uses??!? Taking away parking spaces. Making the shore even harder to get to??!? PLEASE NO! This is a terrible and terribly expensive idea.

The taxpayers of Alameda will be watching this boondoggle closely.

Donna Eyestone's picture
Submitted by Donna Eyestone on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

I walk on Shore Line and I bike there. Right now - when I'm biking on the sidewalk I feel horrible for the walkers, who I know I'm scaring when I try to gently, but loudly say "on your left" as I pass them. I also resent having to swerve in and out of them (and their long dog leashes). And - I don't like cars riding right up on my back wheel when I'm riding in the direction of traffic.

When I'm a walker, I hate constantly looking over my shoulder to see if there's a bike about to pass me - because I'm jumpy and if I don't do this - even the cutest sounding bell, or kindest "on your left" makes me jump and my heart skip a beat.

I can't wait to able to do both of these activities with more joy. This is a crowded path - people use it because they enjoy our shoreline, and making it safe and accessible to walkers, bikers, bus riders and cars helps us all enjoy Alameda a little more.

Submitted by Nicholas (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

This modern cycle track is long needed and will provide health benefits to all residents, traffic alleviation and economic growth as well as transportation for youth and low income!

Well done, Alameda!

Submitted by Harry (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

I am all for the safety of all of those using the current shoreline path. With a little caution, everyone can safely use it. Having this new lane will not prevent a car from exiting the park causing a collision. Only careful driving while looking for both cyclists and walkers will prevent that. There will always be someone zipping by on their bike as if they had no need or duty to watch for other vehicles as they cross paths at park entrances and driveways. I cycle, run and walk on the Shoreline path and have had none of the close calls a couple have mentioned. I pay attention to my surroundings as we all should for our own personal safety. I also live on shoreline and after hours parking is very important to visitors who will now land up blocks away on residential side streets. If you have not seen this every evening and on weekend mornings, you are not seeing how much this space is needed and utilized for parking by resident's (TAXPAYERS) not renters who have few options when it comes to parking. Maybe paving a wider path would be a better option and less expensive too. The current plan will create traffic backups, increased exhaust along the path and provide a very expensive path for a few to use. This should not be a boondoggle dream of "If we build it they will come". It should be what is best for the residents and the increased lines of traffic on Shoreline would not be that answer.

Submitted by Geof Gannon (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

The main reason this will not provide benefits to "all residents" is because there is no way to get to the beach from almost anywhere on the island. It would be better to make it possible to cross Otis St somewhere. Otherwise, Otis is an insurmountable barrier to the beach trail. If there are hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend, spend them where they will do some good. Not on a crazy vanity project like this.

Like the bicycle drawbridge debacle, taxpayers will be watching city council votes carefully.

Submitted by to (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

It should slow down cars and in general - not necessarily of all ages - bring more people to the beach. The weak links seem to be its connections to everywhere else, plus I assume it makes cyclists use pedestrian crosswalks.

I realize that the former will be dealt with eventually and perhaps faster as this new path will be a magnet, but fixing the latter might be difficult.

The worst outcome will be if collisions increase at feeders to the new path and junctions. This actually seems likely as people are drawn to what seems to be a safer network. These are the two weakpoints in incomplete and in this case not state-of-the-art facilites that ignore intersection design for cyclists.

The eternal question in Alameda is "Can my 10- or 12-year old bike to beach by themselves?" I don't have a kid, so cannot answer this.

Submitted by Thirdlane (not verified) on Tue, Mar 4, 2014

William - you really think only 12-13 people will use this?
Also, bike riders pay the same taxes you do. It's a very small minority that ride bikes and don't also own cars.

I do think this is a lot of money for not enough benefit. The pedestrian path could be widened a bit to include a dedicated bike lane and not change things that much. I ride fast in the right lane on the road, and have no troubles.

Submitted by CamBam (not verified) on Wed, Mar 5, 2014

This is a great first step! I can't wait for it to be better connected to the rest of the island.

Btw, a quick refresher for people that think cyclists aren't paying for this. Hello people! Wake up. Local tax dollars come from property taxes and sales tax, so regardless of transportation choice EVERYONE pays. As a matter of fact, since there has been a huge under-investment in safe cycling investment, cyclists have been subsidizing cars. Additionally, bikes virtually no wear & tear on roads, so maintenance is entirely due to cars and trucks...

Lastly, don't be so short sighted... both property owners and renters pay property taxes; owners pay taxes directly whereas renters pay rent which goes to the landlord who in turn pays property taxes.

Submitted by Mary Ellen McMuldren (not verified) on Wed, Mar 5, 2014

I don't understand what the design is. I like to ride my bike there but what I enjoy is going slow and seeing the beach. If not on raised pedestrian path bikers cannot see the beach at all. So what's the point? I don't think this needs to be the high speed bike lane. I'm okay slowing down for the walkers and stopping for the dogs and kids. I'm biking that route for the view. I wouldn't like this expensive plan. I think this is silly plan. If changed I'd want it to remind me of Venice or Santa Monica's beachfront walks.

Submitted by Alamedian Driver (not verified) on Thu, Mar 6, 2014

Waste of money! If the city has $500,000 to blow on an unnecessary project such as this, how about they put some money towards the schools? Or cleaning up the West end of Alameda? The pathway along the beach is wide enough for a biker to easily get past a pedestrian. And the bikes that currently ride in the street do not follow the rules of the road. The majority of bike riders don't stop at stop signs. If you want to share the road, you need to follow the same rules. Bayfarm Island spent money on a separate bike path and bikers still use the street. As much as I hate the thought to cut back on the "beach" maybe cutting into the overgrowing of plants to make a wider pathway. Either way I believe it is a waste of money and the city has bigger "fish to fry."